Last weekend after work, I hopped on I-85 heading towards the mountains of western North Carolina to judge in Franklin, NC. I couldn’t for the life of me decide where I should stop for dinner. One of my co-workers mentioned that I should try Kyle Fletcher’s BBQ in Gastonia, NC. Sure, why not?
Kyle’s is the quintessential barbecue joint. It’s literally a little hole-in-the-wall building. Parking is very much at a premium. Kyle’s only accepts cash (so make sure that you make an ATM visit before stopping here). Seating is done based on the honor system where everyone seats themselves. And finally, when you step inside, you will have no doubts whatsoever that you are in a North Carolina BBQ joint — the interior decor is covered in all things UNC and NASCAR.
After browsing the menu, I decided on a large BBQ plate with hush puppies, fries, baked beans, and slaw (which ran about $7). Naturally, I had sweet tea to drink (and quite a lot of it that night — I was really thirsty). About 5-10 minutes after ordering, my food came out.
The slaw was a finely chopped slaw. It was a faint pink color, caused from (I believe) mixing BBQ sauce into a white slaw mixture. It had a nice balance of sweet and tang to it while maintaining a good texture. The beans were nice and bold, although I would’ve liked to have seen some green bell pepper or onion in the beans. The fries were nothing special, quite frankly, and the hush puppies were above average.
And now… the pork…
The pork was very moist and flavorful. The consistency of the meat was between a coarse pull and a chop, so there was some texture retained. There was a definite smoke flavor to the meat. I also tried the pork with their two sauces — a sweet tomato-based sauce and a vinegar-based sauce that was supposed to be hot. The vinegar-based sauce was not as hot as I thought it would be and did not add much flavor to the meat. The tomato-based sauce, however, was quite excellent and would work well on any sort of meat.
Oh, and I did snag a photo of their cookers. Kyle Fletcher’s cooks their BBQ behind their restaurant using hickory wood.
So is this joint worth a repeat visit? I’d say so. And judging by the crowd I experienced when I was there, others are probably thinking the same thing.
Kyle Fletcher’s BBQ is located at 4507 Wilkinson Blvd., Gastonia, NC 28056. They accept cash only. I could not readily find their hours of operation. If someone happens to know, I would certainly appreciate knowing as well!