Tag Archives: Baked Beans

Archers BBQ (Kingston Pike) – Knoxville, TN

Archers  BBQ
5415 Kingston Pike
Knoxville, TN 37919

Ok this is one of my favorites for BBQ in Knoxville, TN. It doesn’t look like much…

– heck I’ve got to start taking pictures of the buildings etc –

I notice a great location across the road and up just a short piece.

This is not an easy place to spot and it is part of what might have been an old Motel? Anyway… location has nothing to do with what they offer up as barbecue.

I’ve eaten at Archers BBQ many times. many times, and I’ve had almost all of their meats on one visit or another. But on this visit, was just pulled pork. What I didn’t get this time was banana pudding. Most times I’m too late. As I was entering the place a family was leaving with the last of the banana pudding.


Archers BBQ Kingston Pike Knoxville, TN Pulled Pork, Green and Bake Beans
Archers BBQ Kingston Pike Knoxville, TN Pulled Pork, Green and Bake Beans


The Sides

The Collard Greens – I f you haven’t noticed by now, I like greens. Well I like them when they are done right. As a kid I couldn’t stand them, but now I really like them. Archers has some pretty good greens.

I was in Knoxville teaching a Programmable Logic Controller – PLC – software class. One of the students had gone in to the same Archers a little earlier. I told everyone in the class where to go for barbecue and this was one of them. He too likes greens; but he was disappointed with them not having vinegar. I told him that what I do is use the moonshine vinegar sauce that Archers has. He frowned but said next time he’d give it a try.

Bottom line here is that if you like greens, I think you’ll like these.

Barron’s BBQ Beans – Yes, another favorite of mine is BBQ or Baked beans. And these are very good. However, like most places I add some of the pork to it. I typically always get this and vary my other side

Archers BBQ Knoxville, TN Moonshine Vinegar Sauce
Archers BBQ Knoxville, TN Moonshine Vinegar Sauce

The Pulled Pork – Yes it’s pulled and it is smoked! And very important to me, it comes less sauce served over Texas toast. Some people don’t want sauce; while others may want a different style sauce. Now they have multiple sauces but I used the Moonshine Vinegar sauce; I always get a vinegar sauce for pulled pork if it is available. I prefer that vinegar sauce to have a little more kick of pepper in it than this has, but it’s pretty good. It’s close to a Piedmont North Carolina Style sauce. I LIKE this sauce.

Folks if you liked pulled pork -I certainly do -, the you’ll like this stuff. Probably some of the best stuff in Knoxville.

City Barbeque Charlotte, NC (Ballantyne)

City Barbeque (Ballantyne)
11212 Providence Rd W
Charlotte, NC 28277

I’ve visited City many times, this location probably a dozen times; and another location in Garner, NC a few times which was my first experience. They’re a chain and yes, I know that you find better BBQ in the smaller places. But sometimes those smaller places are convenient, but you still want some BBQ. What I’ve found with City Barbeque is that it is a very good chain of restaurants. Management will matter if you go to a different location, and who is running the “pit”. Ok, it’s not a pit. But you know what I mean.

Because City has so many different offerings of meat, and I like them all. You’ll see additional reviews as I get around to eating there AND trying a different meat. I may also write if I attend a different location.

On this visit my wife was with me; we decided to share the City Sampler. I’m really trying hard to cut back on my quantity of input of calories; while maintain a certain level of quality input of taste! The Sampler comes with Brisket, Pulled Pork, Sausage and Turkey. The sides we selected was watermelon and Baked Beans with Brisket with Texas Toast as the side.

One of the reasons we made this visit, I wanted to give City’s Banana Pudding ONE more chance. After all Paula Deen cannot be wrong, can she? Read on for that answer.


City Barbque Ballantyne Charlotte, NC Brisket, Pulled Pork, Sausage, Turkey
City Barbque Ballantyne Charlotte, NC Brisket, Pulled Pork, Sausage, Turkey

The Sides

Watermellon – My wife wanted the watermelon. It was good, what are you going to say. This is probably as hit or miss as anything. All they do is buy the melons and cut them. They can try to select good melons obviously.

Baked Beans with Brisket – Look at them in that picture. Don’t they look good? Well they are, they are very good. My favorite side at City Barbeque. And it doesn’t hurt if you drop a little meat from your plate into it. I’ve tried other sides, this is my favorite by far. One of the better baked beans you’ll get anywhere. No not the best, but pretty darn good stuff right here.


The Meats

City Barbeque Ballantyne Charlotte, NC Brisket up close
City Barbeque Ballantyne Charlotte, NC Brisket up close

The Brisket – Let’s get this one out of the way first.  I’ve either ordered or had some of someone elses brisket from here almost every visit. There is variance in the final product you get. Sometimes it’s excellent, sometimes it’s just very good. This visit I’d say it was only very good; it was just a little drier than what I like to give top bill. Here we had good smoke hit and a decent bark on it. The cut was a little leaner than I’d ask for; give me a little of that fat in there.

I’ve had some excellent brisket over the past month, so it’s making it harder for others to step up to that level. But understand, I am only talking about a couple of places right now having better brisket, and none of them are in Charlotte. They do have the best brisket I’ve found in Charlotte.

Verdict: you Like brisket, you’ll really like theirs.

The Pulled Pork – Pulled Pork is one of my favorites. Growing up in North Carolina, we’ve had pork all our lives. Brisket is relatively new for our area.  I like City’s Pulled Pork. It’s moist, good smoke and they have a very nice North Carolina Piedmont/Lexington Style Sauce. It does a great job complementing the Barbeque. They also have a pretty good Eastern North Carolina style sauce as well. City may not be from North Carolina, but they’ve adapted nicely I’d say.

Verdict: This is excellent Pulled Pork

The Sausage: This is something that is hard to find. It’s something you’ll not find often in the “local” barbeque places that have one location. You’ll also find people try to offer it and they just don’t get it right. OK, City Barbeque does sausage right! No, not the best. I am hopeful to have a review next week of my absolute favorite. But this is one of the better that you’ll find in Charlotte people! If you’ve not had a good Texas Smoked Sausage, then you should give this a try. These are juicy, and have a very good flavor along with a hint of smoke.

A tip, I like putting that North Carolina Piedmont/Lexington Style Sauce on it after I cut them up into slices. You may prefer the other thicker sauces, they are good too with the sausage.

Verdict: This is actually my favorite meat at City Barbeque.


The Turkey: Oh man, this was the first time I’ve had their turkey. My picture may not properly represent the moisture that has been retained in the meat. It had a nice light smoke hit. I played around with different sauces trying to find the right one that paired with it. They were all good.

Verdict: City has something for everyone; if you don’t like beef or pork… well there you go. A very good turkey offering!

For Dessert

City Barbeque Charlotte, NC - Ballantyne - Banana Pudding.jpg
City Barbeque Charlotte, NC – Ballantyne – Banana Pudding

The Banana Pudding: I’ve tried their banana pudding several times and… During one of my last visits a sign was up about how Paula Deen had named this to a list of “10 to try”. I’ve tried to find this list but I cannot. I’m pretty good using search engines too by the way; so it must only be available to subscribers. Paula, if you think this is a must try banana pudding… I’m sitting here shaking my head. You had something different than what I’ve been getting.

I’ve got to say this, I don’t get it; and no, it’s not the caramel that throws me off. Yes, that is different and not traditional Banana Pudding. My problem doesn’t start there, it starts with the pudding itself. It’s not that special. It isn’t horrible, it’s an OK dessert. But there is nothing about this banana pudding that puts it over the top. And those that know me, know I’m a banana pudding freak. I’m also a banana pudding snob and I admit it. You can deviate from the norm, but your deviation best be spectacular.

They put the caramel on it, they also go for a caramelized crumbled, I guess nilla wafer maybe? But really, the pudding just doesn’t get it done for me. And how about putting bananas in this thing?

I really wish they had a banana pudding here that I could say that I like and I’ll get every time. But until I hear there has been a change to how this pudding is made, it’s not for me. You might like it so you should at least try it one time.

Verdict: No more for me until there is change. I’ll save the calories for something else!

Q2U BBQ Pit & Catering – Lake Wylie, SC

4502 Charlotte Hwy
Lake Wylie, SC 29710

They do not have a website, but do have a Facebook page

I’ve eaten here more times than I can count, but not so much lately. Q2U was for a long time a Friday thing where I’d have lunch with my granddaughters. They call this place the “banana pudding place”. Soon I’ll do a review on another barbecue place that they call the “sundae place”. But for the past year the girls have wanted iHOP and cracker barrel more than the banana pudding place.

Friday morning, I was sitting here doing some work and watching the girls while my wife closed on a house she had sold. I saw come across twitter some tweets about one of the workers being her last day; and then I saw a tweet about the ribs. One of the things I like the most at Q2U are the ribs. I’m not as big of a fan of their pulled pork because they remove – by choice – much of the fat, which removes some flavor.

Anyway… I got a craving for their ribs and so I told my oldest granddaughter that it would be nice to go to the banana pudding place. Since we hadn’t been in a long time, I asked her if he remembered it. “yeah grandpa, let’s go to the banana pudding place”. Ok got that taken care of.

I order a half-rack of ribs which I shared with my youngest daughter. As sides, I got baked beans and banana pudding. Yes, banana pudding is a side option.

All the pictures that I will use come from previous visits. I didn’t take any on this visit.


The Bake Beans

These are some very good baked beans. I really like them, a bit Smokey with a sweet taste to them. There was pulled pork at the table, so as usual I dropped some in there. If you like baked beans, then I believe that you’ll like these.

The Hushpuppies

I’ll mention the Hushpuppies because they are good, very good.

The Ribs

They are baby back ribs, and typically they have plenty of meat on them. These guys are competition cookers so you’ll not get any of the “meat falling off the bones” stuff here. The ribs are delivered to the table with a sweet sauce on them. I like we ribs, I like dry rub ribs… I like ribs. Like any where they will have their good and bad days cooking them. Their bad days still deliver a good product to you. At least that’s been my experience. This trip wasn’t the best, but they were still good. I enjoyed my quarter of a rack. I wish they’d offer a quarter of rack as an option. I’d probably eat there more often.


Q2U BBQ Pit Lake Wylie NC Banana Pudding
Q2U BBQ Pit Lake Wylie NC Banana Pudding

The Banana Pudding

Theirs is a pretty good banana pudding.  I’m not going to tell you it’s the best you’ll find, it’s not even the best in a 10-mile area. But it’s better than the Paula Deen Top-10 one you can find in Charlotte. So that must mean it’s pretty good? Bottom line is that I’ll get it each time I come here. There are places that I’ll not get their banana pudding again.

Randy’s Bar B Que – Troutman, NC

Randy’s Bar B Que Troutman, NC SauceRandy’ Bar B Que
103 N Main St
Troutman, N 28166


No website, they do have a Facebook page.


Last week I made a trip to Detroit for business. I had stop overs going up and back in Charleston, WV. I ate BBQ in Charleston, WV and Detroit. I was ready for good North Carolina Que. I wanted something on my drive AND something new. I had heard about Randy’s but never made the trip. So, I plugged it into the Maps and headed out of Charleston, destination late lunch in Troutman.

Randy’s is located at a street corner on Main Street. Parking for me was on the side street beside the restaurant. I arrived shortly after 2PM, so I didn’t have to fight any lunch crowds. There were however a few people sitting at the counter and two other people in a booth. This is a place that you could get a great breakfast I bet! I did note that they serve breakfast.

I sat at a booth and looked the menu over; I decided on a Bar-B-Que plate. I substituted the fries with fried okra. And, I noted they have banana pudding. My expectation of nothing less than good were set.


Randy's Bar B Que Troutman, NC pulled chopped Pork Baked Bean Okra Slaw
Randy’s Bar B Que Troutman, NC pulled chopped Pork Baked Bean Okra Slaw

The sides

The Slaw

I think I remember her asking me if I wanted a red or white slaw. I like to get white slaw and add the sauce they have at the table if it’s a vinegar based sauce – it was -. It’s rare a slaw is over the top and this slaw wasn’t, but it was a good solid white slaw. Slaw is typically either good or bad. I like more mayo in my white slaw, but I guess got to be healthy, right?

The Fried Okra

A friend on Facebook saw my picture of the meal and commented that she’d prefer the Okra to have been frozen. Yeah, you can tell that kind of stuff from the picture. All the pieces of Okra looked the same, with the same amount of heavy breading on them. Regardless, it was good stuff. Someone can correct me if it wasn’t frozen.

The Hushpuppies

They are good. I like hushpuppies and these are up there. They aren’t stuffed with anything, apparently some people think you need to put cheese or something else in a hushpuppy; based on a comment I saw on my twitter feed last week. Nice and crips on the outside, and not doughy on the inside. However, please note that I don’t eat the entire hushpuppy. I cut back by eating the outside. Sorry, but I love the outside and figure I cut a few calories. I did eat one whole one just to get the full impact.

The Baked Beans

These are very good! Yeah, I like baked beans. I also like to have some meat in mine! I took some of the pork and added it. This is good stuff. Yes I’ve had better, but not in Troutman.  When I return here I’ll get them again.

Randy's Bar B Que Troutman, NC Sauce

The Chopped Pork

Not only am I back in North Carolina, gee I could swear I’m in Eastern, NC. I noted a Piedmont Looking sauce, but the pork came out chopped and had some vinegar already in it. This is an Eastern, NC thing for sure. So, I tried some of the meat before adding the nice looking red vinegar sauce on the table. Yes, as it hit my mouth I enjoyed it. The meat was very tender, had a nice hit of smoke and it had a little tang from the vinegar. I put some of the red sauce on, which was red from pepper in it, I like it.

Verdict: If you live near Troutman, you need to check this place out. I’m certain I’ll be back again; I hate I’ve missed out on such a great place!


Randy's Bar B Que Troutman, NC Banana Pudding
Randy’s Bar B Que Troutman, NC Banana Pudding

The Banana Pudding

Alright now. The best way to finish up good smoked pork is with a nice banana pudding. What would I get? What I got was a darn good banana pudding. Much better than the one I had last night that Paula Deen named as one of the top-10. I seriously question her research. I’m not saying this is a top-10 in the South banana pudding. But it’s a solid better than most dessert. It could be top-10 or so in North Carolina, and I’ve had a lot of good banana pudding here in North Carolina


Brisket from The Smoke Pit – Concord, NC

The Smoke Pit
796 Concord Pkwy N
Concord, NC 28027

It is my intention to try every meat they have; which means that I must make many visits. So far, I’ve had pulled pork and the smoked sausage. This visit was made with the intention of trying the brisket.

On this trip, I decided to try the brisket. When I arrived, that decision was almost altered by a new item on the menu, smoked beef ribs. Since I’m also on a mission to find the best brisket in North Carolina, I needed to get this one out of the way.

As usual we had to stand in line that was out the door, but not outside the building at least.

My wife was with me again on this visit; she like the pulled pork so much last time that she decided to get it. Good thing because I like it too. A two-meat offering from The Smoke Pit is more meat than two people should eat. Sides this time were Hash Brown Casserole, White Slaw, Deviled Egg Potato Salad and their Smoked Pork BBQ Beans; we also ordered banana pudding as I’m trying to give them another opportunity on this dessert.

Let’s get right into it.


The Smoke Pit Concord, NC Pulled Pork, Brisket
The Smoke Pit Concord, NC Pulled Pork, Brisket

The Sides

The Hash Brown Casserole

Another winner of a side item from The Smoke Pit. I don’t recall ever having this anywhere; so, I cannot compare it to anything to tell you how good it was. I just know that it was good.

The Deviled Egg Potato Salad

Yes, this was over the top Potato Salad. Many times, I get potato salad it seems like it is the same ole thing served by many. This however was different, it was better. The potatoes were big chunks, not that I prefer not like that. I actually prefer them to be smaller chunks. This is good stuff.

The beans and slaw, I’ve covered before. My wife like slaw, I like the beans.

I’ve also covered the pulled pork in another review, although it wasn’t as good this time. Still a very good treat!

The Brisket

Ok, up to this point Big Tiny’s in Mooresville, NC was winning the best brisket in North Carolina with several close seconds. It’s hard for me to say if this is better than Big Tiny’s, but it is at least as good.

Very tender and moist meat, nice bark and nice hit of smoke. Everything you’d look for in a good brisket was here. You can complement it with a little sauce, or eat it as is.

So far, The Smoke Pit in Concord, NC has delivered top notch meats on each of the items I’ve tried so far.

Verdict: You like brisket then you’ll love this stuff.


Banana Pudding

Ordered it, received our food no banana pudding so I asked the server to make certain it was brought to us. The last time s similar thing happened and we didn’t get the pudding until late. it was never delivered to the table. Waited until we were the last there. A mad dash by some, was told they didn’t have it and was offered Chocolate Moose, got my money back.


First time I visited The Smoke Pit I tipped 20%, second time I tipped 20% had the issue with very late delivery of the banana pudding. This visit I tipped 15% because of the previous visit. They hustle your food out to the table and you never hear from them again. I get that it’s self-service; but when I ask the server to do something and they don’t. That’s not good service. I realize they’re busy and all, but I do wonder why I tip so much when they deliver so little service.



Dem 2 Brothers & A Grill – Charleston, WV

Dem 2 Brothers & A Grill
423 Virginia Street West
Charleston, West Virginia 25302

I arrived about11:30AM, there was smoke everywhere. Smoking was taking place out behind the restaurant; I was told the process started about 7:30AM. It sure did smell good.


I made my way inside and was I wat taken to a table. I looked the menu over and decided on my order; Ribs, Pulled Pork, Baked Bean, Sweet Potato Casserole and Banana Pudding.


Dem 2 Brothers and A Grill Charleston, WV Pulled Pork, Ribs Bean Sweet Potato Casserole

The Ribs


Ribs had good hit of smoke, the sauce used on the ribs is outstanding – kind of like sweet baby rays – but the meat was a bit overcooked thus drier than I like my ribs. It’s a fine line, and a lot of BBQ houses do this. So, don’t be too alarmed. They were still tasty ribs.


The Pulled Pork


They put their sauce on the Pulled pork before serving – note that if like me, you would prefer to add sauce as needed -. In other words, give me Pull Pork without sauce and show me the sauce(s) available for me to try. The Pork had a good hit of smoke and flavor, but is was also a bit dry. The sauce is a thick paste sauce, which while it had a good flavor and great for the ribs, isn’t my style of sauce for pulled pork. But I try things the way the guy running show likes to serve them


Sweet potato casserole – was pretty good stuff. I liked it.


The baked beans – are good, but needed something in my opinion; I added some pulled pork to the beans and that made them better.

The banana pudding – was the best thing they had. Theirs is a thicker pudding, using possibly a heavy cream? It’s a bit sweet, but those that know me know I like banana pudding. I get a thick pudding like this by using heavy cream in the pudding. I’m not sure what they did here. It was a touch sweet, but that was OK.


Service by everyone was great.