Charlotte is a town that loves its barbecue and when it comes to barbecue in North Carolina, pig is king. Now barbecue in this state differs greatly but I’m not even going to get into the whole Eastern Carolina vs. Western Carolina debate because I love a good ketchup based sauce in the west I’ll save that for another meal. For now we’ll just stick to, ironically, the barbecue that doesn’t even really fit in this state: beef brisket.
No slight to the pig because I love me some smoked pork. My all-time favorite has to be the countless chopped pork sandwiches from our family friends’ lakeside smoker in Virginia.
Not quite pork but you get the idea. Our best family friends have the most perfect lake house in Virginia and Mr. Q not only makes to best pork sandwich I’ve ever had but also smokes the best turkey known to man. And has a pretty good view while doing it…
I digress. This is supposed to be about brisket and that’s where I’m headed. When I first moved to Charlotte I heard all about the various barbecue joints in the city. Not too long after, my own neighborhood got its very own barbecue in a very good way in the form of Midwood Smokehouse. I immediately loved it. Local beers, custom-built wood smoker, within walking distance, and some pretty delicious barbecue. Over the next few months I sampled bits and pieces of the menu; bacon wrapped jalapenos, pimento cheese fries, Carolina pork (with Eastern NC vinegar sauce), and banana pudding just to name a few. I became hooked with my first bite of Midwood’s incredibly juicy Texas style Beef Brisket. Now I’m no expert, and confess that I have never eaten barbecue in Texas, but I do know food and this meat was perfect.
So incredibly juicy and tender its hard to describe. Literally melts in your mouth. The smoker imparts a mild flavor that preserves the integrity of the beef. No artificial liquid smoke type flavor here–just savory, flavorful, fall apart beef with that wood-fire taste that good barbecue should have. It’s flat-out impossible to exercise portion control, it’s just that good. I usually go with both the lean and fatty option to make sure I get the best of both worlds. Trust me, you want it. Smoked veggies, bacon jalapeno, and hush puppies rounds out this balanced meal. Balanced in flavor at least. I have never been one to order brisket at a barbecue place; it’s always been pork, but Midwood Smokehouse has really shown me the side of brisket that can’t be ignored. It rivals a good pork barbecue any day. Try it for yourself and see. It’s heavenly to me.
Midwood Smokehouse is also turning out some pretty delicious specials with their brisket like this one served on Texas toast with crispy onion straws.
Now as much as I love Midwood’s brisket, I do have to point out some not so good brisket I had at one of Charlotte’s most popular barbecue places. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have ordered brisket dining with a Texas native but I wanted something to compare Midwood’s greatness to. Honestly, when it came to the table I gave it a fair chance.
But it just wasn’t very good. The meat was tough, lacked flavor, and wasn’t juicy at all. It didn’t even taste like barbecue. Just a strip of meat, with some sauce poured on top and weird grill marks. And then I realized what it looked like…
Like McDonald’s fake meat concoction that randomly advertised as a special event. Now I wasn’t the only one who ordered the brisket and wasn’t the only one who hated it. My advice is stick to NC barbecue at Mac’s and order yourself some good beer to wash it down. If you want to try some delicious Texas-style barbecue get your fix at Midwood Smokehouse. You won’t be disappointed.