I was out and about on a Saturday in the southern part of Charlotte, NC. I realized that I was within striking distance of a BBQ joint that I had not tried yet. So at the recommendation of my friend Steve Gibbs, I decided to stop in at 521 BBQ & Grill in Indian Land, SC.
This BBQ joint is located approximately 10-15 minutes from the Ballantyne area of Charlotte, just over the NC/SC state line. The decor of the place is very down-home, with picnic tables nestled among standard restaurant tables.
The menu at 521 BBQ & Grill offers pulled pork and ribs as well as items off of the grill (pork chops, chicken, etc.). After perusing the menu for a few minutes (and soliciting the advice of the super-cute waitress who took care of me), I decided on the BBQ tray which consists of pulled pork (which ended up looking closer to chopped than pulled), fries, and hush puppies.
The first bite of pork was just a little bit on the dry side. After that, it was absolutely delicious! The pork had a beautiful color, with bits and pieces of the outside bark mixed in. It had a nice touch of smoke in the taste, thus allowing the pork to be the star.
I’ll visit the sides shortly, but I want to talk about the sauces. There are 2 different sauces available — a thick sweet Kansas City style sauce and a vinegar based sauce.
The KC style sauce was very thick, very sweet, with a nice touch of smoke. It went well with the pork. The vinegar-based sauce, on the other hand… it was fabulous! The color of the sauce is a darker color than most traditional vinegar-based sauces (very similar to the homemade vinegar-based sauce that I make). This sauce really gave the pork that extra zing. Excellent sauce!
Now, back to the sides… the fries were fried up perfectly. They were very crispy and flavorful on the outside. The hush puppies were tasty as well, although I would’ve liked to have seen just a touch more flavor in them. Nevertheless, I ate them anyway.
So is it worth the trip from Charlotte to Indian Land to check out this joint? Without a doubt! I’m certainly glad I checked it out.