A couple of weeks ago, I heard rumor of a new BBQ joint opening up in Charlotte. As I read more and more about it, I started getting excited and determined that I just had to check this new place out soon. Well that new place is Midwood Smokehouse, and I took the opportunity today to check it out before having to head in to the office.
Nestled in the Plaza-Midwood neighborhood of Charlotte, NC, Midwood Smokehouse is the newest restaurant opened by longtime Charlotte restauranteur Frank Scibelli. Scibelli is the brain child behind several popular Charlotte restaurants such as Big Daddy’s Burger Bar and Paco’s Tacos and Tequila. As noted in an interview with Charlotte Magazine, Scibelli’s restaurant fully intends to produce serious, authentic BBQ using a cooker fueled by nothing but wood (thank you for the correction regarding this). To accomplish this goal, he traveled around North Carolina to research the state’s well-known pork barbecue joints, and he also collaborated with James Beard award winner Robb Walsh on the intricacies of Texas barbecue (read: brisket). My task for today was to see how close he came to meeting this goal.
While the location of the restaurant may be in a trendy part of the city, the interior decor was inviting. A mirror behind the bar stated the daily specials as well as some rather interesting one-liners:
The bar with its specials
Good Wood, Big Racks, Great Times
Since Midwood Smokehouse has been open for less than two weeks, the menu was a little limited. However, plenty of options were still available, ranging from Eastern Carolina style pork to brisket to sausage made on the premises. After perusing the menu, I ordered a half-rack of ribs (St. Louis style) with a side of BBQ baked beans. I requested that the ribs be sauced. In addition, I ordered an additional side of bacon-wrapped jalapenos stuffed with cheese (which I lovingly refer to as ABTs, or atomic buffalo turds). The server was very pleasant, taking her time to go through several of the menu options and offer her personal recommendations. After about 10 minutes, my order arrived.
My order -- ribs
The first thing I notice is that the ribs were served with sauce on the side instead of being glazed on the ribs (as I expected). The food certainly looked appetizing, and I will get to my thoughts on the food shortly. As I was taking pictures of my food, the general manager came over to my table. I introduced myself to him (as I emailed him a few days ago about arranging a time to see their smoker), and he immediately offered to bring me a sampling of their other menu items. How could I possibly refuse? As if I wasn’t already starting to feel full enough, out comes a sampling of pork, brisket, prime rib, sausage, and other goodies.
A sampling of meats
Smoked Prime Rib and Brisket
In addition, I also got to sample all of the sauces that Midwood Smokehouse offers as well as a small sample of collard greens. Now on to the verdict…
The ribs had an excellent flavor. The meat was not too smoky, and I could actually taste the pork rather than an overabundance of rub to mask the flavor of the meat. However, there were two things I immediately noticed:
- The back membrane had been left on the rack when it was cooked.
- The rib meat pulled right off the bone without any resistance, which signified that they were a bit overcooked.
The sausage was a very mild sausage. It had a bit of a crumbly texture. Since I’m not an expert on how authentic Texas-style sausage should taste, I won’t give an opinion on that. The brisket was good, with a nice texture and taste.
The pork was, in short, PERFECT! It had a perfect savory flavor, and the texture was on point (and not mushy like a lot of Eastern Carolina style pork can be). Honestly, the pork did not need any sauce, but I decided to try it with the vinegar-based sauce. The sauce added an extra dimension to the pork.
Finally, the prime rib… why didn’t someone introduce me to smoked prime rib before? Completely and totally droolworthy! This one is definitely on my repeat list.
So would I recommend this BBQ joint? Absolutely, with no reservations whatsoever!
The website for Midwood Smokehouse is http://www.midwoodsmokehouse.com. You can also find them on Facebook here. They are located at 1401 Central Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205.