11 of the best barbecue spots in the Charlotte area

Summertime is the perfect opportunity to show off your messy, sauce-coated fingers at your favorite low-and-slow barbecue joint. Whether you prefer one of Charlotte’s long-loved staples or a novel newcomer, here are 11 restaurants that will satisfy your smoked meats cravings in the greater Charlotte region.

Note: this list is in alphabetical order, not ranked.


Art’s Barbecue & Deli

900 E. Morehead St.

This family-owned shop is open for breakfast and lunch only. Portions are a good size and go for the daily specials (try their mac and cheese). My personal favorites are the breakfast sandwiches, but their ‘que has been around since 1976 so it’s definitely worth a try.

Bill Spoon’s Barbecue

5524 South Blvd.

When you’re looking for traditional Eastern NC Style BBQ (vinegar-based barbecue sauce), try their pork BBQ plate with a side of mac and cheese (for an additional side, I prefer the coleslaw). Save room for dessert because their scratch-made banana pudding is the perfect smooth finish to any meal.

Bill Spoon’s BBQ in Charlotte, NC BBQ Plate with French Fries and Mac and Cheese and Hushpuppies Best BBQ in Charlotte with the best BBQ sauce as well. #eatlocal #charlotte #nc #clteats #cltfood #cltlocal #cltfoodie #eatdrinkclt #queencity #exploreclt #restauranttraffic #billspoons #bbq #ncbbq #choppedbbq #vinegar #frenchfries #macandcheese #myfab5 #charlottesgotalot #food #foodie #foodporn #foodgram #foodpic #foodgasm #yum

A post shared by Charles Miles (@chuck_stops) on Aug 15, 2015 at 10:00am PDT

City Barbeque

Four Locations Around Charlotte

My personal recommendation is based off of their Matthews location, which is managed by Monroe-native Matt Chaney (read a full review of City BBQ on my blog). Their baked beans with brisket are one of my favorites in town, but if you want to try a little bit of everything I suggest getting their “Judge’s Sampler”.

City-BBQ-JessBentleyPhotograph by Jess BentleyPhotograph by Jess Bentley

The Improper Pig

110 S. Sharon Amity Rd. (+ Fort Mill coming soon!)

I’ve discovered that green beans are a popular Carolina staple (both in BBQ and Southern-focused restaurants), so I have to mention that the spicy variety served here is purely mouthwatering. Their menu is a creative mix of traditional and fusion, which works well for large parties and catering.

Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q

13840 Steele Creek Rd. (and other locations outside Charlotte)

Not many establishments catch my eye when it comes to a loaded baked potato, but their ‘Loaded Bar-B-Q Baker” is super scrumptious (and a meal in itself). It’s topped with your choice of smoked meat, bacon, cheddar cheese, scallions, butter, sour cream and bar-b-q sauce. I also immensely enjoy their complimentary cheese biscuits (check them out in the top left on the photo below).

Mac’s Speed Shop

2511 South Blvd. (and other locations)

Go for the grilled wings (they have nine sauces to choose from) that are served with blue cheese or ranch, celery and carrots. I also enjoy their “Mexicue” Tacos, which are a playful mix of south of the border and southern favorites.

Midwood Smokehouse

Multiple Locations throughout Charlotte

I fall head-over-heels for several menu items from this BBQ joint, so it’s a difficult task for me to narrow my recommendations to a select few. However, in today’s post I’m going to applaud their bacon-wrapped jalapeños, beef brisket burnt ends, Saint Louis style pork ribs, and Nachos Libre with pulled pork. Last summer I had the pleasure of cooking with Executive Chef and Pit Master Matthew Barry — check out our kitchen shenanigans here (VIDEO ALERT).

So excited to release our first video segment! With “a little bourbon to warm you up and beer to cool you down”, we’re discussing all our favorite things about good ‘ol barbecue. Check out the full video on my most recent blog post on with @midwoodsmokehouse & @foodesignclt! #sliceofjess

A post shared by Jess Bentley | Food & Travel (@sliceofjess) on Oct 24, 2017 at 5:11am PDT


If you’re looking for a weekend adventure, the following establishments should be on your mini-road-trip radar.

521 BBQ & Grill

Locations in Indian Land, Tega Cay & Landcaster

Their brisket sandwich is a delicious beast. I asked for my succulent brisket to be chopped (which playfully falls out everywhere on your plate), but you can also get it sliced for a cleaner finish. Read more about this drool-worthy smokehouse on my blog.

The Dixie Pig

Locations in Rock Hill & Tega Cay

Try the signature plates for the most bang for your buck (they come with your choice of two sides). Since they smoke, cook and prepare everything from scratch on a daily basis, some popular menu-items can sell out quickly.

Midway BBQ

811 Main St., Buffalo, SC

Established around 1941 – the exact date is unknown – this eatery was one of 50 hash houses in Union County. Today, they are known as the Hash and Chicken Stew Capital of the World and are the only original hash house that remains in operation (read more about them on my blog). Travel here for the hash and stew (and please bring me back a container of each), but bring an appetite for their ribs and sweet potato casserole.

Peace -N- Hominy Q

403 E. Catawba St., Belmont

I encourage you to try their “Big Butt Burger” with a side of jalapeño coleslaw. They also have a chorizo gravy that’s served over rice during weekend brunch… definitely don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.


Forgive me… but there’s an ever-growing number of restaurants in this town and a girl can only eat so much (even while 7+ months pregnant, ha). I’ll eventually get to these, I promise!

City Smoke

Let’s Meat (Korean BBQ)check out our C5 feature here!

McKoy’s Smokehouse & Saloon

Queen City Q

Soul Central

Per the usual, this is not a catch-all list. If your favorite establishment isn’t listed, share your preference with us in the comments section below (along with your must-try dish!).

Featured photograph by Jess Bentley