8:02 AM Derek , 2 Comments
The Charlotte BBQ scene has been a long standing disappointment for those living in the Carolinas. Despite being the region's largest city, there have traditionally been very few quality options for BBQ lovers. Thankfully, a new wave of joints is helping the Queen City shed it's poor BBQ reputation. One of Charlotte's newest additions, Midwood Smokehouse, may be its best yet.
Since opening in Spring of 2011, I've had Midwood Smokehouse on my "must visit" list. I'd heard great things from my friends who had visited and from noted Charlotte BBQ blogger, Wayne Brown. Katie and I made the trip to Charlotte this weekend to check out a friend's newly purchased house and decided it was the perfect time see four ourselves what Midwood Smokehouse was all about.
Midwood is located on Central Avenue in a trendy, eclectic district on the fringe of Uptown. The smokehouse occupies the side of a modern brick building which it shares with several other businesses. The interior of the restaurant is small with an upscale tavern atmosphere. There's a full service bar and small array of booths and pub tables. The limited indoor space is supplemented by plenty of patio and roof-top seating.
Since our group had three toddlers in tow, we opted for a large picnic table on the patio. Before we even sat down, the aroma coming from the custom built hardwood smoker had my mouth watering. I had been craving brisket so I opted for the large brisket plate with baked beans and potato salad. Katie ordered the full rack of spareribs (that's how my wife rolls) with macaroni & cheese and steamed vegetables.
My mixed order of fatty and lean brisket was moist, tender and flavorful. The savory dry rub gave the meat a nice dark crust. The lean cut was moist enough, that I wouldn't order the fatty in the future. The fatty portion had too much fat for my liking.
The sides were really exceptional. Both the beans and potato salad exceeded my expectations. Too often, even good BBQ joints pour all of their focus into the smoked meats and serve up cheap, straight from the can sides. Midwood's beans were sweet and tangy with tender chunks of pork. The creamy potato salad was even better than what I make at home. The hushpuppies had a nice surface crunch, but maintained a moist interior. The pickled onions (served with every meal) were a nice compliment to the smokey beans and beef.
The rack of ribs looked like a winner as soon as it hit the table. The meaty spareribs are served dry with your choice of house made sauces served on the side. The ribs had great flavor even without sauce. The dry rubbed crust was both sweet and savory, but not too salty. The ribs were incredibly tender (maybe a bit too tender).
In addition to ribs and brisket, my buddy was kind enough to share his pulled pork with me. All three meats were top quality, but the pulled pork stood out as the clear favorite. It was smokey and tender. The light vinegar sauce that the pork was tossed in provided moisture and a bit of tang. It was some of the best pulled pork I've had from a restaurant.
Our experience at Midwood Smokehouse was 100% positive. Both the food and service were very good. The prices are quite reasonable as well. If I were a Charlotte resident, Midwood would definitely become one of my regular lunch spots. As it stands, I'll have to make a point of stopping in anytime I'm in the area. For more information about Midwood Smokehouse, check out their website. See how I rate Midwood's meats on our "BBQ Ratings" page.