My best friend recently moved out of New Jersey and down to North Carolina. While I miss her terribly, the one perk of having her leave was getting to travel to a new place. She relocated to Charlotte and it is not a city that I have visited before. By the time she officially moved down there I already had flights lined up for my first visit. She took those first few months to learn the lay of the land and scope out the local hot spots. When asked if I had any special requests for things to do during my stay I had nothing to add to the agenda. In all honesty, I hadn’t heard much about the city in the past and didn’t know what it had to offer. I thought I would let someone else do the planning for once. My husband, on the other hand, had one item that was a non-negotiable. He wanted to experience Carolina barbecue. So here’s our first stop -Midwood Smokehouse.
My friend researched the best restaurants in town for barbecue and worked the list down to our contender. Midwood Smokehouse was the winner. They’ve been featured on foodie publications like “Eater” and they’ve seen the likes of President Obama and Presidential candidate, Hilary Clinton. So if it’s good enough to feed the White House we figured it was certainly good enough to feed us!
Midwood Smokehouse does not accept reservations so you need to get there early or be prepared to saddle up for a wait. We chose the latter and drank down some beers and played catch up for our nearly hour time gap until being seated. It didn’t bother us much, except maybe the smoky smells wafting from the kitchen and taunting our stomachs. It’s a laid-back, loud, and casual eatery. You could just as easily go there for the bar and a night out as you can to sit down and have a meal.
After it was finally our turn to order we each decided to pick something different to share. I asked for the ribs only to be disappointingly informed they had run out for the evening. With this pinch of luck (yes, luck) I ordered the burnt ends, a dish I had never tried. They would be accompanied with barbecue baked beans, macaroni and cheese and hush puppies.
This was definitely not a “light” meal. The burnt ends were a miraculous discovery. The crispy charred exterior slathered in sweet and spicy sauce was good enough to excite me. But paired with the tender slow cooked meat on the inside they were spectacular. If I could summarize the dish for someone who has never tried I would say they are a good cross between ribs and brisket. (The best of both worlds if you ask me!). I loved the tangy baked beans and the macaroni cheese was creamy and comforting. But, my favorite side was the sweet little hush puppies. I was stealing them off everyone’s’ plates with what little room I had left in my belly.
I tried the flavorful brisket and the smothered pulled pork as well. Both were delicious. The bacon wrapped jalapenos were a great mouthful of spicy and cheesy goodness. We sat there in hushed tones after we put our best efforts towards our over-sized portions. We were all fully and content.
In fact, my husband continued to talk about his meal and my burnt ends for the rest of the weekend. He not so secretly would hint for a return visit. With only a little more than two short days in town we wanted to spread our wings a bit but, he would have been happy to eat three meals a day there (I would have too for that matter but I don’t think my body could have handled it!!). He never did get his second helping but that’s what return visits are for!
Midwood Smokehouse is a great restaurant for groups and casual nights on the town! I didn’t know what Carolina Barbecue was all about until this trip but I’ll be happy to taste test more from Midwood Smokehouse and more in the future, that’s for sure.
Take a peek at their full menu here: http://midwoodsmokehouse.com/
Until my next travels….
…all for the love of the dish