The 5 best barbecue spots in Charlotte, right now

The 5 best barbecue spots in Charlotte, right now
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Don’t look now, but Charlotte is becoming more and more of a barbecue city. Here are the 5 best barbecue spots in Charlotte.

Honorable mentions: Bubba’s Barbecue, Bill Spoon’s, and Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen. During the pandemic, be sure to check in with these restaurants, as hours and menus may have changed. 

This poll is closed.

Best barbecue in Charlotte?

  • Midwood Smokehouse (48%, 1,003 Votes)
  • Sweet Lew's BBQ (19%, 402 Votes)
  • Noble Smoke (15%, 303 Votes)
  • Mac's Speed Shop (10%, 209 Votes)
  • Sauceman's (8%, 164 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,081

Midwood Smokehouse

Hometown favorite now with five locations — Plaza Midwood (OG), Park Road Shopping Center, Ballantyne, Birkdale Village and Columbia, SC

Pork analysis: The meat is delightfully smoky and has an excellent crispness from the pork skin cracklins worked in. I’m a pork guy, but their burnt ends are also a must-try.


New dish: Smoked Meatballs – three USDA prime brisket meatballs topped with smoked jalapeño barbecue sauce and mixed melted cheese, garnished with green onion. The idea came from Midwood’s pit master and North Carolina native Matt Barry. “We are always trying to learn from barbecue traditions, and Matt wanted to experiment with barbecue meatballs in the vein of barbecue spaghetti from Memphis,” said Midwood Smokehouse owner Frank Scibelli.

Appetizers: Order the pimento cheese fries – crinkle-cut fries topped with homemade pimento cheese and your choice of chopped pork or beef brisket; and the BBQ Queso – rich house-made cheese dip served plain or with your choice of chopped pork or shredded beef brisket.

art at midwood smokehouse charltote

pimento cheese fries at midwood smokehouse charlotte

Pimento cheese fries at Midwood Smokehouse

pig out barbecue tray at midwood smokehouse charlotte

Pig Out combo platter at Midwood Smokehouse

Noble Smoke

New flagship barbecue concept by Jim Noble (owner of Rooster’s and King’s Kitchen) with a 10,000-square-foot campus on Freedom Drive

Quote: “I fell in love with barbecue when I was a child, traveling with my father and stopping at the storied barbecue smokehouses around the state,” Jim said. “My hope with Noble Smoke is to carry on the tradition of classic wood-smoked Carolina barbecue and honor all of the barbecue legends who came before me.”

Go big: If you’ve got a group (or just really hungry for meat), go with the Miss Mary’s Platter ($80) – pound of pork, pound of brisket, pound of turkey, pork short rib rack with slaw (Easter and Western) and picked veggies.

brisket sandwich at noble smoke barbecue charlotte

seating at noble smoke in charlotte nc

ribs brisket turkey pork noble smoke barbecue charlotte

Miss Mary’s Platter at Noble Smoke


Authentic Lexington-style barbecue spot packed at lunch, but soon moving to a new located next door to Sugar Creek Brewing

New location: Sauceman’s closed its former location August 5 and open a new bigger operation at Sugar Creek Brewing early this fall — and they’ll be debuting some new menu items like old-school barbecue sandwiches.

Bring a friend: Order their “Pitmaster Experience” where you pick four meats (pork, sausage, brisket, chicken or ribs) along with with your choice of any four sides hushpuppies.

Sauceman's BBQ South End special combo 1

Mac’s Speed Shop

Award-winning biker bar barbecue spot now with eight locations — South End (OG), Fayetteville, Greensboro, Mathews, Greenville, Lake Norman, Steele Creek and Wilmington.

The rub: Mac’s dry rub gives the meat remarkable flavor and if you’re looking for a different type of sauce, give their South Carolina-style mustard sauce a shot.

Brisket time: Order their Carolina Beef Brisket – 9 ounces of lean, fatty or both, dry rubbed and slow smoked for 12 hours and then finished on the grill with Mac’s Western N.C. barbecue sauce served with caramelized onions. Oh, and their hushpuppies are terrific.

barbecue from mac's speed shop in charlotte

Sweet Lew’s BBQ

Low key barbecue joint known for their old-school North Carolina barbecue, cooked over hickory and pecan wood in Belmont

Menu: The menu includes Lexington-style chopped and pulled pork, dry rubbed spare ribs, smoked chicken and beef brisket. In addition to the core menu, their daily specials include smoked turkey on Tuesday, hash on Wednesday, a fish fry on Friday, sausage on Saturday and fried chicken on Sunday.

Quote: “We’re trying to keep it simple,” says co-owner Lewis Donald, also known as Sweet Lew. “We’re not going to have mango jalapeño barbecue sauce.”



Ribs at Sweet Lew’s BBQ


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