11 places to get barbecue around Charlotte — check out these spots.

·6 min read

Looking for a new barbecue spot in the Charlotte area? Skip the grill and head to one (or all) of these barbecue restaurants. Make sure to pile that plate high with brisket, ribs, burnt ends and lots of barbecue sauce.

Every summer, I try to go to at least one barbecue place. I have a deep love of pulled pork and brisket and need to find a new barbecue spot to try.

Luckily, the Carolinas are known for having some of the best barbecue, although there’s a big difference between the states, of course.

NORTH CAROLINA BARBECUE: Eastern-style, which uses the whole hog, has a vinegar/peppery or lemon seasoning. Western-style (Lexington style) is typically made of pork shoulder and includes a sauce made of ketchup and vinegar.

SOUTH CAROLINA BARBECUE: This whole-hog barbecue is typically sauced one of four ways: mustard, heavy tomato, light tomato or vinegar and pepper.

No matter which style you prefer, here’s a list of restaurants in the Charlotte area with mouthwatering barbecue menus. (Did we miss any? Let us know in our poll at CharlotteFive.com.)

521 BBQ & Grill

Location: 6257 Carolina Commons Dr, Fort Mill, SC 29707

Neighborhood: Indian Land

Location: 123 S Main St, Lancaster, SC 29720

Neighborhood: Lancaster

Location: 1135 Stonecrest Blvd #101, Tega Cay, SC 29708

Neighborhood: Tega Cay

521 BBQ & Grill has locations in Indian Land, Tega Cay and Lancaster, each serving a twist on the restaurant’s menu. The barbecue is made fresh the night before and is hickory smoked for 14 hours in its special 521 seasonings. Make sure to try the 521 specialty ribs, signature barbecue and beef brisket.

521 BBQ & Grill’s 521 specialty ribs are mixed in its 521 signature spice, smoked throughout the day and then brushed in 521 barbecue sauce.
521 BBQ & Grill’s 521 specialty ribs are mixed in its 521 signature spice, smoked throughout the day and then brushed in 521 barbecue sauce.

Bobbee O’s BBQ

Location: 9401 Statesville Rd, Charlotte, NC 28269

Neighborhood: North Charlotte

Bobbee O’s BBQ was started in 2008 by North Carolina native Bob Roberts. The restaurant attracts customers from all over the world. The restaurant’s recognition expanded after being mentioned in Parade Magazine and other publications in 2012 and 2013.

Roberts perfected his barbecue pulled pork and barbecue sauce recipes. Try the perfected recipes with the barbecue pulled pork platter or the barbecue pulled pork sandwich.

Bobbee O’s BBQ has dinner platters where guests get their choice of two sides and one bread item.
Bobbee O’s BBQ has dinner platters where guests get their choice of two sides and one bread item.

City Barbeque

Location: 11212 Providence Rd W, Charlotte, NC 28277

Neighborhood: Ballantyne

Location: 15425 Hodges Circle, Huntersville, NC 28078

Neighborhood: Huntersville

Location: 1514 Galleria Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28270

Neighborhood: Matthews

Location: 8948 J M Keynes Dr, Charlotte, NC 28262

Neighborhood: University City

Since 1999, City Barbeque has been smoking meat with hickory, careful seasoning and low and slow heat to create the perfect bark, the crust on the outside of smoked meat. It includes sauces from 5 different states: the original Kansas sauce; Texas’s brush fire sauce which is best on brisket; South Carolina’s Low Country mustard-based sauce; Kansas City’s tomato-based sauce and North Carolina’s vinegar Swine Wine sauce.

When you stop by, try what the restaurant has to offer with the “City Sampler,” a platter with beef brisket, pulled pork, sausage, turkey, two sides and Texas toast. Make sure to bring two handfuls of napkins and cover the plate in a bunch of sauce.

City Barbeque has four locations in the Charlotte area.
City Barbeque has four locations in the Charlotte area.

The Improper Pig

Location: 204 Main St, Fort Mill, SC 29715, United States

Neighborhood: Fort Mill

Location: 9855 Sandy Rock Pl a, Charlotte, NC 28277

Neighborhood: Rea Farms

The Improper Pig serves classic North Carolina-style barbecue prepared on a hickory woodfire grill. It also offers flavors from all over the world such as Eastern barbecue, Teriyaki, Buffalo, Jeff’s Mustard and Spicy Hoisin. The barbecue joint has even been featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

The Oinker food truck is travels through Charlotte and South Carolina. The truck was made to expand the barbecue horizons of local communities. The truck offers North Carolina-style barbecue with options for meat lovers, vegetarians and vegans. The truck can be booked for events.

Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q

Location: 13840 Steele Creek Rd. Charlotte, NC 28278

Neighborhood: Steele Creek

Location: 7791 Gateway Ln. NW, Concord, NC 28027

Neighborhood: near Concord Mills

You know a barbecue restaurant is going to be good when barbecue is its heritage. That’s the case with Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, where recipes and traditions are passed on to local pitmasters, owners and cooks. The restaurant was started by father-son duo Jim and Nick Pihakia in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1985.

The restaurant emphasized the slow-cooked barbecue made daily. When visiting make sure to try the classic pulled pork and Carolina-style pork.

Jon G’s Barbecue

Location: 116 Glenn Falls St, Peachland, NC 28133

Neighborhood: Peachland

Jon G’s barbecue opened in June 2020 and serves world-class, Texas-inspired barbecue. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. until it’s sold out, which is usually around 4 p.m. It is about a 40 minute drive from Charlotte, make sure to get there early to beat the line.

Try the Pork B. Taco made with the Porky Brewster made with brisket, pork, Fritos, slaw, onion and pickles; on a flour tortilla topped with queso and cilantro.

Jon G’s Barbecue has a vast menu including pork tacos, brisket sandwiches and brown sugar baked beans.
Jon G’s Barbecue has a vast menu including pork tacos, brisket sandwiches and brown sugar baked beans.

Mac’s Speed Shop

Location: Multiple locations

Neighborhood: Lake Norman, Matthews, Steele Creek, South End

Mac’s Speed Shop was started in Charlotte in 2005 by Wynn Davis and Hall Johnson, who blended barbecue, beer and bikes. All food and sauces are made fresh daily including comfort foods such as mac and cheese and brisket chili. Down the barbecue with one of the drinks on the restaurant’s extensive liquor menu or one of its specialty drinks.

The restaurant will open its newest location soon at Concord Mills Mall. Make sure to try the beef brisket platter served with dry-rubbed, slow-smoked brisket that is sliced to order, caramelized onions and western barbecue.

Midway BBQ

Location: 811 Main St, Buffalo, SC 29321

Neighborhood: Union County, South Carolina

Founded around 1941, Midway BBQ has outlasted nearly 50 Union County hash houses. The restaurant is considered the hash capital of the world, and the restaurant is nicknamed “811 Hash Boulevard.” (Hash is a side dish typically made from pork and potatoes and served over rice.) The menu changes daily, allowing each guest to have a unique dining experience.

Midwood Smokehouse

Location: Multiple locations

Neighborhood: Ballantyne, Birkdale Village, Park Road Shopping Center and Plaza Midwood

This joint is a must-visit spot — the Charlotte-based restaurant is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. It offers a variety of barbecue options, including Carolina Pork, Saint Louis Pork Ribs, Beef Brisket and Barbecue Chicken. Traditional sides include collard greens, mac and cheese, and baked beans.

Midwood Smokehouse’s wide variety of barbecue options makes it a popular restaurant for tourists and locals alike.
Midwood Smokehouse’s wide variety of barbecue options makes it a popular restaurant for tourists and locals alike.

Noble Smoke

Location: 2216 Freedom Dr, Charlotte, NC 28208

Neighborhood: West Charlotte

Location: Optimist Hall, 1115 N Brevard St, Charlotte, NC 28206

Neighborhood: Optimist Park

Noble Smoke works with local farms, including Creekstone Farms, Joyce Farms and Cheshire Farms, each specializing in a different meat.

“Miss Mary’s Platter,” is served with a pound of pork, a pound of brisket, a pound of turkey, a pork short rib, Eastern or Western slaw and pickled veggies. The massive platter can be shared with loved ones or kept to yourself and drowned in sauce.

Noble Smoke works with local farms, including Creekstone Farms, Joyce Farms and Cheshire Farms.
Noble Smoke works with local farms, including Creekstone Farms, Joyce Farms and Cheshire Farms.

Sweet Lew’s BBQ

Location: 923 Belmont Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205

Neighborhood: Belmont Charlotte

Located in Charlotte’s Belmont neighborhood near Uptown, Sweet Lew’s BBQ uses a blend of hickory, peach and pecan wood to create award-winning dishes. Even though the restaurant is close to Uptown, it still has the feel of the back road countryside barbecue joints where you can get fresh-made, wood smoked barbecue.

For an authentic North Carolina barbecue experience, try the North Carolina smoked pork shoulder and the North Carolina chopped pork platters.

Sweet Lew’s BBQ uses a blend of hickory, peach and pecan wood to create award-winning dishes.
Sweet Lew’s BBQ uses a blend of hickory, peach and pecan wood to create award-winning dishes.