Story by Chrissie Nelson

The 2018 AFCA Convention is headed to Charlotte. From those serving up whole hog to pork shoulder, burnt ends to brisket and smoked wings with a few racks of ribs in between, Charlotte barbecue joints will satisfy your craving for stellar ’cue. 

The Smoke Pit

Since opening its doors in December 2014, The Smoke Pit has been filling the bellies of nearly 700 patrons each day. Massive portions, flavorful meats and creative, scratch-made sides—think deviled egg potato salad and smoked pork barbecue beans—have garnered the diner a loyal following.

Queen City Q

Based on a mutual love for great barbecue, friends Bryan Meredith and Craig Utt opened Queen City Q in Uptown Charlotte. Here, you can satisfy your appetite for Carolina-style brisket, ribs, smoked sausage, chicken and pork. Queen City Q operates four Charlotte-area locations.

Bill Spoon’s Barbecue

Bill Spoon’s Barbecue has been serving award-winning whole hog barbecue for about half a century. While a lot has changed in Charlotte in 50 years, Bill Spoon’s original recipes and Southern hospitality have stood the test of time.

Bar-B-Q King

A West Charlotte treasure since 1959, this historic drive-in still serves barbecue sandwiches curbside. Come to Bar-B-Q King for an authentic park-and-eat experience, and don’t leave until you’ve demolished an order of the famous Bar-B-Que fried chicken, which comes dunked in barbecue sauce. Guy Fieri and the crew from Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” made the drool-worthy dish known to national TV audiences

Mac’s Speed Shop

Named after a man who used to work in an old transmission shop that’s now home to the restaurant, Mac’s Speed Shop serves Carolina-style, smoky pulled pork, dry-rubbed beef brisket and a menu full of distinctive Southern fare. Pair your pulled pork with a side of cold craft beer; the homegrown chain boasts more than 60 beers on tap and even sponsors a beer club.

Midwood Smokehouse

Restaurateur Frank Scibelli toured barbecue joints throughout Texas and picked up invaluable tips before debuting his popular concept Midwood Smokehouse. The cooks on Midwood’s culinary team each attend a professional brisket school, where they learn the tricks of the trade (including how to burn hickory logs 24 hours a day) to slow smoke the restaurant’s Texas-style brisket and burnt ends.