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 CHARLOTTE

CULINARY EXPLORATION IN NORTH CAROLINA

Charlotte is a great city to research Carolina style BBQ, it is almost a one stop shop. Located between the east and west BBQ regions of the state, and only a few miles from the Southern border. The Carolina's unique style specializes in pork, primarily the shoulder, and their sauces represent that. Which brings me to another reason I love it here, this may be the city with the widest range of BBQ sauces, the mop, the Carolina sweet, and Carolina gold just to name a few.  But surprisingly the Queen city has a lot more to offer than just Barbecue, take a moment, scroll down my list, and explore some of the culinary gems hiding in this great city. Wear your stretchy pants and get ready for a delicious culinary journey as I show you where the locals eat in Charlotte.

 

The Pig.

CHARLOTTE = QUEEN CITY

PIG'S PICKS

Where to eat tangy BBQ, and wait in line for fried chicken in Charlotte

MIDWOOD SMOKEHOUSE

WHY: The meat is tender and they dip it in a mop sauce like Eastern North Carolina; I am a sucker for that. I mean tell me who doesn't love juicy, sweet, spicy and tangy?

WHAT: EAST NORTH CAROLINA BBQ

PRICE: $$ - $$$

PAYMENT: Credit/Cash

 

MAP IT: (3 locations) 

1401 Central Ave

Charlotte, NC 28205

WHAT TO ORDER:

  • Bacon wrapped Jalapenos

  • Pulled pork sandwich 

PIG SCORE: 3.9 / 4.0

EDDIE'S PLACE 

WHY: You know that restaurant that pumps out your favorite southern comfort food for breakfast? Don't you? Well, have you met my friend Eddie? Their gravy is so good, that it can cure what is still aling you from the night before. 

WHAT: Southern breakfast

PRICE: $$

PAYMENT: Credit/Cash

 

MAP IT: 

617 South Sharon Amity Road

Charlotte, NC 28211

WHAT TO ORDER:

  • Country fried breakfast

PIG SCORE: 3.7 / 4.0

THE CHICKEN BOX

WHY: A Charlotte hidden gem. This little soul food restaurant will make you smile wider than a fox in a hen house. 

CUISINE: SOUTHERN COOKING

PRICE: $ - $$ 

PAYMENT: Credit/Cash

 

MAP IT: 

1331 W Sugar Creek Rd, Charlotte, NC 28262

WHAT TO ORDER:

  • Fried chicken

  • Collard greens

PIG SCORE: 3.5 / 4.0

PRICES CHICKEN COOP

 

WHY: The chicken equivalent of the Seinfeld soup episode. Possibly the best fried chicken I have had in the country. The skin is crisp, the meat juicy, and it's just done right. But be warned there is no place to sit, it's cash only, and be ready to order when it's your turn, or you will get passed up. One last thing, if you want to try a specialty that you can only get done well in a few places, try the gizzards.

 

WHAT: Fried chicken

PRICE: $ - $$

PAYMENT: Cash only

 

MAP IT: 

1614 Camden Rd

Charlotte, NC 28203

WHAT TO ORDER:

  • Fried Chicken

  • Gizzards

PIG SCORE: 4.0 / 4.0

THE DIXIE PIG

WHY:  The Dixie pig shares a building with a laundry mat, I gotta say that was a good omen. Kurt Fine the chef and co-owner has been doing this for years and it shows. He won't brag and tell you this, but I will, he is the Charlotte wing champion. They have amazing sauces, including the ever elusive  Alabama white sauce. If you're close make sure to get here and don't miss the peach cobbler dessert, it is amazing.

WHAT: Carolina BBQ

PRICE: $$ 

PAYMENT: Credit/Cash

 

MAP IT: 

2007 Celanese Rd.

Rock Hill, SC 29732

WHAT TO ORDER:

  • Pulled pork

  • Chicken wings

  • Peach cobbler

  • Alabama white sauce

PIG SCORE: 3.9 / 4.0

McKOY'S SMOKEHOUSE

WHY: Yet another great Carolina BBQ joint. I loved the smell of pecan wood the waffed from the smoker as I entered the building. Everything here was exceptional including their slogan "WE GET PAID TO RUB BUTTS". 

WHAT: North Carolina BBQ

PRICE: $ - $$ 

PAYMENT: Credit/Cash

 

MAP IT: 

4630 Old Pineville Rd.

Charlotte, NC 28217

WHAT TO ORDER:

  • Fried green tomatoes

  • Pulled pork sandwich

PIG SCORE: 3.9 / 4.0

FLYING BISCUIT CAFE

WHY: They have a great atmosphere and a creative menu. Take the Southern Style biscuit benedict for example. Two poached eggs on a biscuit, pimento cheese, and hollandaise sauce. The Pimento cheese is AWESOME, it is the stuff the south has been fueled on for decades. 

WHAT: Southern-inspired breakfast

PRICE: $$ 

PAYMENT: Credit/Cash

 

MAP IT: (2 locations)

7930 Rea Rd.

Charlotte, NC 28277

WHAT TO ORDER:

  • Southern style biscuit benedict

  • Famous flying biscuit breakfast 

PIG SCORE: 3.9 / 4.0

PINKY'S WESTSIDE GRILL

WHY: This is your typical dive bar / restaurant with great food. Order whatever you want, you wont be disappointed. Funky but fantastic, this place serves some of the best comfort food for the BBQ weary.

WHAT: Southern everything

PRICE: $ - $$ 

PAYMENT: Credit/Cash

 

MAP IT: 

1600 W Morehead St.

Charlotte, NC 28208

WHAT TO ORDER:

  • Ding Dong style burger

  • Pimp'n fries (Pimento cheese fries)

PIG SCORE: 3.9 / 4.0

MR. CHARLES CHICKEN & FISH

WHY: You want some of the best fried chicken made by people who do it for a living? Then this is your place. I talked to the owner and his son for a bit, and no it is not Mr. Charles, ask them for the story.  They were so excited to tell me about how they make their chicken everyday and that they only use the freshest product. I know this may be just fried chicken to many of you, but to me this is where soul food starts. Good people making good food. 

WHAT: Southern fried chicken

PRICE: $$ 

PAYMENT: Credit/Cash

 

MAP IT: 

3100 Statesville Ave.

Charlotte, NC 28206

WHAT TO ORDER:

  • Fried chicken 4 piece

  • Mac & Cheese

PIG SCORE: 3.8 / 4.0

MAC'S SPEED SHOP

WHY: Barbeque is as much about the sauce as the meat, and these guys have great sauces. Plus the atmosphere is like a cross between a Harley workshop and a southern BBQ joint. This is a solid choice and a great place to grab a beer when you're satisfying your BBQ fix.

WHAT: North Carolina BBQ

PRICE: $$ 

PAYMENT: Credit/Cash

 

MAP IT: (2 locations in Charlotte)

2511 South Blvd

Charlotte, NC 28203

WHAT TO ORDER:

  • Tabasco fried pickles

  • The Big Pig

PIG SCORE: 3.8 / 4.0

BILL SPOON'S BBQ

WHY: This is real Eastern North Carolina BBQ, the meat is chopped, coated lightly in a sweet, tangy and spicy mop. I had the chance to meet the pit master, he was taught his craft by his father and lit up when we talked about cooking the hog. He proudly told me that he would come back every night to get the pig on for the next day. With passion like that you know they have great food. The BBQ is served on paper plates with a roll of paper towels, and don't miss the hush puppies, they are the best I tried. 

WHAT: East North Carolina BBQ

PRICE: $$ 

PAYMENT: Credit/Cash

 

MAP IT: 

5524 South Blvd,

Charlotte, NC 28217

WHAT TO ORDER:

  • Pulled pork sand 

  • Hushpuppies

PIG SCORE: 3.8 / 4.0

ASS CLOWN BREWERY

WHY: Say the name and look at that logo. Do I need to go on further? Ok, reality, this is a secret tap room, you have to know its there to find it. Your GPS will take you to what looks like a closed little industrial complex. This is far off the beaten path, but one of my favorite stops in Charlotte. Love the logo as much as me? Then try to steal a pint glass, but be careful, these are so popular that they take precautionary steps to prevent the five finger discount. 

WHAT: MICRO-BREWERY

PRICE: $$ 

PAYMENT: Credit/Cash

 

MAP IT: 

10620 Bailey Rd E,

Cornelius, NC 28031

WHAT TO ORDER:

  • Black orange citrus IPA

  • Brown ale

 

PIG SCORE: 3.75 / 4.0

DIAMOND RESTAURANT

WHY: The Diamond restaurant has been around since 1943, this classic diner has a lot of charm and great food. If you go late, get the Diamond in the Rough it is a Monstrous late night sandwich built between two waffles that is available until 4am.

WHAT: Classic diner

PRICE: $$ 

PAYMENT: Credit/Cash

 

MAP IT: 

1901 Commonwealth Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205

 

WHAT TO ORDER:

  • Diamond in the Rough

  • Pimento Cheese fries

PIG SCORE: 3.75 / 4.0
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