For a city the size of Charlotte, there’s not much there in the way of outstanding barbecue. There are several adequate places, and there are even a couple that are good. But in the years that I’ve lived here, the only place that I have tried that I would call excellent is Mac’s Speed Shop. However, I kept hearing about Bill Spoon’s Barbecue, so I decided to give it a shot one day for lunch.
Bill Spoon’s Barbecue is located on South Blvd. in Charlotte, NC. They pride themselves on serving Eastern Carolina style barbecue by cooking the whole hog. For those of you unfamiliar with the barbecue culture in North Carolina, Eastern Carolina style barbecue consists of cooking the entire hog, finely chopping the meat from the various parts of the pig, and serving it all together. The sauce is generally a very thin vinegar-based sauce.
I walk in and get seated and immediately feel at home. The atmosphere was a very down-home comfortable atmosphere. The tables all had yellow checkered tablecloths, and the wood paneling made me feel a bit nostalgic.
Bill Spoon’s prides itself on serving the whole hog, so I decided to order the small barbecue plate with beans as my side. The waitress was extremely friendly. Less than five minutes later, out comes my plate of food!
The star of this plate is the pork. It was chopped very fine, but the texture was not mushy at all. I could see that some sort of sauce was applied to it, but the pork was not drowned in the sauce. It had a very nice flavor. I added some of the Eastern Carolina style sauce to the pork, and it added a nice bite with some kick.
I forgot to mention the hush puppies… with every barbecue dinner, they have bottomless hush puppies! WOOHOO!! The hush puppies were extremely fresh — nice and crunchy on the outside, and very moist on the inside. The only drawback was that they were just a little bit on the salty side.
The slaw was something different that I had not experienced since starting my barbecue adventures — it was a mustard-based slaw. I would normally not eat a mustard-based slaw, but it complemented the barbecue quite well. Thus, it did exactly what it was supposed to do. The beans, quite frankly, were bland and mostly forgettable. But I was hungry, and I ate them anyway.
I also read somewhere that they had excellent banana pudding, so I just had to try it out when I saw it available on today’s menu. When it came out, it was a little smaller portion than I had expected. However, the taste of the banana pudding was very nice. There were layers upon layers upon layers of wafers in the pudding, giving the pudding that nice crunch in addition to the pudding taste. The pudding component was very fresh, although I kept wondering if I tasted just a faint hint of lemon in the pudding.
All in all, I enjoyed eating at Bill Spoon’s. I’m not sure it quite surpasses Mac’s Speed Shop in the excellence factor, I have no qualms whatsoever in putting it in a solid 2nd place when it comes to the best barbecue in Charlotte.