Thursday, October 8, 2009

'Cue Checks

Where have I been eating barbecue?

Gary's, China Grove. First the important stuff: This is a beloved institution in a sweet little town, so everybody from miles around goes here. Go at lunch and you'll see half the town. Go at dinner and you'll see the other half.

I love these community gathering places. And Gary's is the real thing, with the walls covered with metal advertising signs and ice-cream colored classic cars on display in the showroom at the back.

Less important: the barbecue isn't stellar. Sorry. I went back after many fans have insisted on its greatness. My verdict was the same as my first visit several years ago - meh. Reheated barbecue with a steam-table taste, no saucing or smoke.

I never tangle with fans, and Gary's has a passle of them. I'm glad it makes you happy. But if I visit a third time, I'd go for the chili dogs.

Art's BBQ, 900 E. Morehead St. I pass this place twice a day, and I've stopped for breakfast. But I was never drawn in by the neon "BBQ" sign until a source urged me to give it a try.

Verdict? I'd put them firmly in the PGQ column: Pretty good 'que. The chopped plate came with a big pile of chopped pork that was flavorful and already mixed with sauce, good texture and a fresh taste. Baked beans were even better. The slaw isn't yellow or red, it's a fresh, green, chopped version, but it goes good with the barbecue if you squirt in a little barbecue sauce.

If you're exploring urban barbecue choices in Charlotte, Art's definitely earns a place in the discussion.


Algernon said...

I like this column.

We'll have to give Art's a try.

Jason said...

I'm of the opinion that the Charlotte area's determination to avoid choosing between Eastern or Western NC styles is a detriment to the entire concept of barbeque. Smoked pulled pork with a side of sauce is not worth my time. The sauce must be added when it has time to work its way into the meat or it's a waste of good pig.

Feminine Wiles said...

I'm embarrassed to admit that I've lived blocks from Art's for years, but have never stopped in. Looks like I'll be trying their 'cue for lunch tomorrow, though! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Arts breakfast is delicious too.