Sunday, June 5, 2011

Jimmy's Barbecue Lexington, NC

Jimmy's Barbecue
1703 Cotton Grove Rd
Lexington, NC 27292
(336) 357-2311

(79 Miles from Rock Hill)

We stopped in yesterday on our way to Virginia Beach around lunch time. We picked Jimmy’s Barbecue because it is right off I 85, was well reviewed on Yelp, and was within the 100 mile radius (79 miles). The brick building has an awning reminiscent of an old drive-in restaurant. I loved this place upon entry because it reminded me of the BBQ restaurants I grew up eating in with my family across eastern North Carolina. Jimmy’s is a quintessential BBQ joint filled with accolades from over the years from Southern Living magazine and local news magazines. Try as I might to not stereo-type, I can’t help but judge a BBQ restaurant by its patrons. Not by their class, race, or dress but by their overall BBQ satisfaction appearance. Everyone here appeared happy; happy to get their take out sandwiches and go back to work. Happy to have a chance to sit with good friends (l actually saw a couple eat, get up to go, and on the way out meet another couple, turn around, sit back down, and order another BLT). Happy patrons = happy BBQ. April ordered a small course chopped tray with onion rings. I ordered a large plate with fries and white slaw (they offer red vinegar slaw also). As far as Lexington style goes, the meat was a little on the tender side, almost mushy. The flavor, however, was very, very good. It came sauced and included a warm side dish of the red Lexington style sauce (a vinegar base) which had a peppery flavor but was not incredibly spicy hot. We did get some of the absolute best banana pudding I've had in years. If I were to make this at home, it would be like this. On the way out we picked up a “Commemorative Historic NC BBQ Trail Penny” (it’s a flattened penny with The Jimmy’s Barbecue pig logo). We enjoyed this very much and set us right for the next 4 hours as we traveled across the region on our way to the. As I write this, it is Sunday morning in our beach house with our family cussing and discussing the pouring down rain over our coffee and sticky buns. Right now my mind is back to yesterday’s sunny afternoon with the smell of the asphalt and BBQ smoke and we have just gotten off the road and are walking into the restaurant. Maybe
this time I'll get a BLT.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


April: We first learned of this restaurant through the local coupon clipper magazine that sometimes finds its way to our mailbox. Noticing that the restaurant was a little new and located just up the way in Lake Wylie, SC, we decided to add it to our list of must visit places. Before we could even make it to the restaurant, we received a very nice email from the owner, Brian Rich. He had seen our blog and we had a mutual acquaintance with the SCBA. Brian invited us out to review his restaurant. We realized upon arrival that Brian, et. al. (Q2U BBQ team) were the 2009 winners of the SCBA Master BBQ Award! That means that they received the most points from all of the participating teams at all of the SCBA sanctioned events in 2009. This is no small feat and put us in a good mindset for sitting down at their table.

The restaurant is located just over the Buster Boyd Bridge on Lake Wylie near the NC border. It is tucked away in a little strip mall just past the T-Bones Restaurant. Just follow your nose because they smoke all of their meat on site and it is noticeable as you pull into the parking lot. The BBQ Pit hosts a small bar and just a few tables, but their take-out service is almost non-stop. Brian is usually back manning the grill/smoker and the lovely wives (Brian's and his business partner's) are hovering over the pans of macaroni and cheese and banana pudding.

The first thing I spotted on the menu was the Brunswick Stew. Being now the 3 time award winning team for Brunswick Stew, I always judge against my own recipe. I have to say that Brian's is ALMOST better. Almost, but not quite. The main difference that I noticed is that the broth of their stew is much thinner than mine. I like the thicker stew because it is more like stew than a thin soup. The next most important difference is that they use their smoked meat for the stew. This addition added so much more a good smokey flavor to the stew.
I next went for the pulled pork. It was well shredded with the bark mixed in. There was no fat or gristle in the meat. By itself, it was a little dry, but was greatly enhanced by the Original sauce. I detected a little cumin in the dry rub and the Original sauce is more tomato based.

I had to try the macaroni and cheese as my side dish, as usual. It was absolutely delicious. The pasta was mixed with a creamy white sauce that was very mild but the Cheedar cheese topping mixed with breadcrumbs was browned and crunchy around the edges. Just like I like it! For dessert we took advantage of the kids "Pig Cookie." It is a little sugar cookie that is decorated with icing and such to look like a pig face. They are super cute and made by a friend of the owners.
I have to also add that Brian and the other Q2U staff are super friendly and love to talk shop. It has been a real treat getting to know these folks through the BBQ circuit and seeing them out at some of the festivals and events this past year. We are hoping to jump on their cooking team for an event this next season. They have an excellent product and now that it is readily available to the general public along Lake Wylie, there is no excuse not to check it out!

Lane: I chose the sampler entree and I liked the savory eastern style pulled pork with small pieces of the "bark" mixed in (giving it a smoky flavor throughout each bite), but with the 1/2 rack of Baby Back ribs and the chicken breast (with the same sauce from the table also used on the ribs). How ever the flavors were present in the ribs but in almost too much of a way (a little too spicy, a little too sweet, etc.) but hey THIS IS STILL GOOD BBQ! I had my sampler with the spicy green beans (w/ potatoes) and hush puppies (when I look back at my notes I see I drew a little smiley face for the hush puppies =) )

Q2U BBQ Pit, Lake Wylie Plaza, 4052 Charlotte Highway

Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-8883
Distance from home: 16.92 miles

Monday, January 10, 2011

Doc's Barbeque & Southern Buffet

April: For some strange reason there is a lack of good buffet BBQ restaurants in this portion of the state. We have to travel all the way to Columbia, SC for a belly-up-to-the-bar experience when it comes to BBQ. No problem; it is well within the 100 mile radius. One of our first stops was Doc's Barbeque and Southern Buffet just off of I-77 on Shop Road. We used the excuse of being on the way to visit the Lovegrove's to make a pit stop for dinner one night. The cool thing about this restaurant is that is housed in an old butcher shop. The loading dock and swinging doors are still in place but the smell of raw pork has (thankfully) been replaced by delicious smoked pork! The buffet is large and reasonably priced. It is stocked with a wide variety of side items (collard greens, mac & cheese, corn, lima beans, coleslaw, potato salad, etc.) as well as two types of barbeque and fried chicken. Much to my liking the BBQ is lightly sauced so that you can add your own flavor. This restaurant being in Columbia, mustard is the standard fare, but there was a hot vinegar choice and it was a fine sample but the mustard is king in these parts for a reason. You have to try it on the cue at least once before passing judgement. I am only a recent convert but have been pleasantly surprised by the nice flavor that it brings to decently smoked pork. The side dishes were all tasty and typical southern fare. Best part was that the banana pudding was on the buffet so dessert was included in the price. This made Lane very happy and the pudding was very good.

One of the best parts of this experience was running into a Winthrop graduate student from the School Psychology program and her fiance having dinner. They were just as surprised to see us there as we were of them but we got a good laugh out of it. Turns out, they are having Doc's cater their rehearsal dinner this coming spring. I think that that sort of review is the best of all.

Doc's Barbeque & Southern Buffet, 1601 Shop Road,
Columbia, SC 29201 (803) 799-1532
Distance from home: 76.74 miles