HOME > Chowhound > Southeast >

Best BBQ in Charlotte

foodiesnorth May 9, 2010 06:25 AM

We will be staying a couple of days and really want the best, most authentic BBQ in the area.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. i
    ickymettle RE: foodiesnorth May 9, 2010 07:36 AM

    These threads pop up from time to time, and the responses you'll get will be that authentic BBQ is lacking in Charlotte. And that's fairly true. Charlotte is one of the last cities to go to in NC if you want "authentic" BBQ. That said, Bill Spoon's does a pretty good version of eastern-NC BBQ. If you're willing to travel about 45 minutes, you can go to Lexington and get some authentic Lexington BBQ. FYI (If you weren't already aware), there has always been great debate within NC about which type of BBQ is better; eastern-style or Lexington-style (also referred to as western-style). Most people form NC would probably side with eastern-style, and while I agree, I think they're both good. Eastern-style is vinegar-based, while Lexington BBQ is tomato-based.

    But in a nutshell, when people in Charlotte are craving the best, most authentic BBQ, they generally travel somewhere else in NC to get it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ickymettle
      Naco RE: ickymettle May 9, 2010 08:28 AM

      Lexington style is not tomato based- it has the same vinegar base as eastern style sauces, but adds a bit of ketchup.

    2. l
      Littleman RE: foodiesnorth May 9, 2010 08:16 AM

      These seem to get the most good reviews from Chowhounds.

      Bar B Q King @ 2900 Wilkinson Blvd., Charlotte, NC. 704 - 399 - 8344. *


      Bill Spoon's Barbecue @ 5524 S. Blvd., Charlotte, NC. 704 - 525 - 8865. *

      Old Hickory House BBQ Restaurant @ 6538 N. Tryon, Charlotte, NC. 704 - 596 - 8014. *

      Sticky Finger's BBQ @ 12410 Johnston Rd., Charlotte, NC 704 - 926 - 3441. *


      Good luck.

      Bill Spoon's Barbecue
      5524 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28217

      1 Reply
      1. re: Littleman
        billyjack RE: Littleman May 11, 2010 09:46 AM

        No offense, but I don't think I've ever heard a Carolinian recommend Sticky Fingers. Barbecue shouldn't be sticky....

        Bar-B-Q King is good if you're in the neighborhood but not really a place to seek out (unless you like real drive-ins!)

        Bill Spoons is where I'd send you.

        Bar-B-Q King
        2900 Wilkinson Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28208

      2. Sue in Mt P RE: foodiesnorth May 9, 2010 10:15 AM

        I think this might be helpful


        1. p
          pseudoliterati RE: foodiesnorth May 11, 2010 02:12 PM

          Bill Spoon's, on South Boulevard. We ate there all the time when I was growing up - the Spoon family went to our church. Bill passed away a few years ago, but his grandson, Steven, runs the place now, and it's supposedly still as good as it used to be.

          When I went veg, this barbecue was the hardest thing to give up...

          5 Replies
          1. re: pseudoliterati
            foodiesnorth RE: pseudoliterati May 11, 2010 04:05 PM

            My wife did an overnight last year and thought Mac's Speed Shop was fantastic. Our concern is that with kids in tow we may not be able to go in. I am surprised it was not mentioned...any comments on this place?


            p.s. any other must not miss places..we love everything so different, new, regional, it's all good.

            Mac's Speed Shop
            2511 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203

            1. re: foodiesnorth
              Sue in Mt P RE: foodiesnorth May 11, 2010 04:18 PM

              Never been there but I've seen the menu. It ain't the real thing if anything says "Texas style" or "KC style".

              If you want real NC BBQ make sure it's pork (never ribs or beef) and cooked over wood.

              1. re: Sue in Mt P
                lynnlato RE: Sue in Mt P May 12, 2010 03:44 AM

                You've never been to Mac's so why would you even comment? In Mac's defense, it's locally owned and they do smoke their pork (among other things) . The words Texas & St. Louis on the menu reference their brisket and Texas toast and ribs, not their pulled pork. The tables have a caddy that holds different styles of sauces. It's more about the scene and it's not some little mom & pop joint on a back road serving up the whole hog, but it's decent 'cue in a city not known for their bbq.

              2. re: foodiesnorth
                lynnlato RE: foodiesnorth May 12, 2010 03:26 AM

                Mac's is kid-friendly. We've taken our kids there on many occasions. It's a fun place to sit outside and watch the bikes roll in and out and the brisket is good. The pork bbq is okay, but it doesn't have the "wow" factor.

                Another place not yet mentioned is McKoy's Smokehouse, just around the corner from Mac's Speedshop. This is another biker bar & grill type place but more authentic than Mac's. You won't see yuppies and bankers here. Again, we've taken the kids to this place also. Great 'cue, wings, service, etc. And people watching is not to be missed. During the warmer months they sell 'cue and beer outside and have music playing outside also. Nothing like some Johnny Cash, a plate of pork and slaw and a couple of beers at McKoy's.


                1. re: foodiesnorth
                  bbqme RE: foodiesnorth Feb 15, 2011 07:00 AM

                  Had the smoked then grilled wings here which were killer with the chipotle sauce. The St. Louis ribs were really good as well. Yummy mac & cheese and real onion rings, not the prebreaded crap a lot of places serve. Not NC style BBQ but a big thumbs up for Mac's.

              3. f
                foodiesnorth RE: foodiesnorth May 12, 2010 08:37 AM

                okay, let me put a bit of a different spin on this...to get real mom and pop, whole hog, rural road BBQ, how far would we have to travel from Charlotte (by car). A short road trip is possible....if the destination is really worth it. When you are as carnivorous as our crew, you go where you have to. Thanks for all the advise thus far. The DW will be happy to hear Mac's is an option for the kids as she really had a good time and a good meal there last year. It would be nice to contrast it with something more rural.

                4 Replies
                1. re: foodiesnorth
                  mcap RE: foodiesnorth May 12, 2010 10:00 AM

                  Lexington BBQ # 1, about an hour or so north of Charlotte on I-85.

                  1. re: mcap
                    jimingso RE: mcap May 24, 2010 07:11 PM

                    To confuse things even more, Lexington-style is pork shoulder, Eastern-style is whole hog.

                  2. re: foodiesnorth
                    JayL RE: foodiesnorth May 25, 2010 04:36 PM

                    You'll likely have to make a trip to eastern NC for whole hog bbq. Not exactly sure about that, but whole hog isn't the "western NC" style. Maybe you'll find something........best of luck!

                    1. re: JayL
                      billyjack RE: JayL May 27, 2010 11:38 AM

                      Bill Spoon's says it right on the sign: "We cook the whole pig. It makes the difference."

                      The whole hog/shoulder difference might be a general rule for small towns and rural joints, but the decent sized cities will usually have both regardless of where they're located in the state.

                  3. waitress RE: foodiesnorth May 20, 2010 06:31 AM

                    I like Bill Spoon, one thing that I don't like is that they don't serve hot hushpuppies, it seems like everytime I go they have been under the heat lamp. That is my only complaint, I love their sweet tea!!

                    Just tried McKoy's Smokehouse last week- loved it, I tried the bbq sandwich. I enjoyed my sandwich, but the rock star was the fried squash. OMG It made my toes curl. Photos are of McKoys.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: waitress
                      GodfatherofLunch RE: waitress May 24, 2010 06:00 PM

                      Next time at McKoy's try the wings. They are remarkable. They are smoked and then finished on the grill. So much smoke flavor, just awesome!!!

                    2. f
                      foodiesnorth RE: foodiesnorth Jun 3, 2010 06:13 AM

                      Again, to all, thanks. I think we will do the tour and try one NC BBQ and one SC BBQ and report back on what we Canadian foodies think is best. With no loyalties to any style or state, our opinion will be pure...lol. We are really looking forward to it - bring on the pig.

                      1. c
                        CyndiA RE: foodiesnorth Feb 19, 2011 08:58 PM

                        Drive just down 85 to Salisbury, NC. There is a debate that Salisbury is actually the home of western style NC BBQ due to being on the railroad line (long story). In any case, you can get western style BBQ (pork shoulders with vineger based sauce with red - tomato or ketchup something) at two wood burners - Wink's or Richard's. From Charlotte, this is about a 20 minute drive - longer depending on the area of Charlotte.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: CyndiA
                          Hushpuppy RE: CyndiA Feb 20, 2011 06:48 PM

                          Don't leave out College Drive-In Barbecue! Really good barbecue, but the hushpuppies need work...

                          1. re: Hushpuppy
                            CyndiA RE: Hushpuppy Feb 20, 2011 07:34 PM

                            Yes. College Barbecue is very good - gas with wood smoke. They have a great breakfast (very stick to your ribs), and they have some of the best hamburgers in Salisbury, NC. I like the one that I think they call a patty melt that is on thick bread like Texas Toast. Service is very Southern frinedly, and they help out with local projects as well.

                            1. re: CyndiA
                              Hushpuppy RE: CyndiA Feb 21, 2011 08:18 AM

                              When did they go to gas? That's sad. Haven't been in 3-4 years... Oh well, another is now dancin' with the devil!

                              Hopefully M&K in Granite Quarry is still cooking with wood!

                              1. re: Hushpuppy
                                CyndiA RE: Hushpuppy Feb 21, 2011 08:38 AM

                                I don't think they ever did wood at College BBQ. The granddaughter was in one of my classes. My understanding is that they've always done gas but add wood for smoke. So, it's smoked but not full out like the fire burners. They do have a good product, but I lean toward the burgers there.

                                I've not been to M&K. That's not very far. Will have to go check them out (and look for the wood pile).

                        Show Hidden Posts