Barbecue: a southern staple that has become America’s obsession, has made a delicious presence in the Lake Norman area. Low and slow-smoked meats combined with flavorful sauces and savory sides is what barbecue is all about. From a small food truck to sprawling eateries, here are some of our favorite places to eat ‘cue in Lake Norman. With two new options in the area, there is plenty of barbeque to go around. Don't forget, the state no longer has restrictions on capacity for restaurants, so feel free to have an in-person meal without having to stress about seating.
A new addition to the list, The Crazy Pig is located in Davidson on S Main Street. Davidson already has a lot of great things that its' guests can do, and now there's a great new barbeque spot to stop at while you're walking around the town. Robert and Eileen McCrary are the owners, and they have plenty of experience in the restaurant industry. The restaurant features many different type of barbeque sandwiches along with several platter options. It's a great place to come and hang out, as they have live music on the patio for their guests. You can even catch car shows some weekends.
If you're looking to eat at North State BBQ, plan to go for breakfast or lunch due to their 7am-2pm hours. Located in Cornelius at the Cashion's station, North State has great options for larger groups at a reasonable place. Their family pack offers pork or chicken with two pints of sides and one gallon of tea or lemonade for 30 dollars. They also offer catering options, so if you're hosting an event and want some barbeque for the crowd, be sure to look out for North State. Along with that, North State BBQ partners with many local schools to provide lunch, so the kids can enjoy some barbeque during the school day.
What do you get when you combine a passion for BBQ and a passion for giving back to the community? City Barbecue. Every location smokes its meats on-site and makes all their sides from scratch. The menu features a variety of in-house smoked meats including beef brisket, smoked turkey, pulled pork and St. Louis-cut ribs. In case you can’t decide, they offer a couple of Sample the City tray options which comes with a little of everything, sides, and cornbread. Pair your meal with one of their unique bbq sauces like Swine Wine, a vinegar based sauce and LowCo, a hot mustard based sauce. They want to create a fun, family-friendly environment that celebrates the community by giving back to local charities and nonprofits.
Hometown BBQ at its’ finest with the hushpuppies to boot! The original Lancaster’s BBQ opened in 1986 in a converted gas station. In 2006, Jeff and Terry Lancaster wanted to bring their melt-in-your-mouth BBQ, family-fun atmosphere, professional service to Huntersville. They picked the historic Puckett’s Gas Station & General Store for the new location and created a hometown atmosphere while keeping the integrity of the building intact. They offer a build your own combo which features any 2 proteins and 2 sides. Some of the most popular items are the Eastern Style BBQ Pork and the World’s Greatest Wings. Like any great BBQ restaurant, their Fresh Sides are also crowd-pleasing. Along with the food, Lancaster’s also offers a wide variety of craft beer, soda, and iced tea.
Started in a backyard in Fort Mill, SC, Dean McCraw, began to specialize in his Texas style BBQ. Since then McCraws has moved locations to Hunterville and brings their amazing BBQ along. Located beside Crafty Beer Guys is the food truck and smoker, where the magic happens.
The brisket is smoked in a 100% wood fired smoker for 21 hours plus, along with ribs, pork, turkey, salmon, and much more. As you walk up to the truck, you get engulfed in a wonderful smell of smoked meat that will make your mouth water. They are only open Friday and Saturday from 12:00 pm until they sell out and they usually do sell out. They also have a rotating menu that changes from time to time. The brisket and the ribs are a must have. Authentic, mouthwatering barbeque, local beer, and a front porch? What more can you ask for!
Midwood Smokehouse has become a local favorite. Pitmasters burn hickory wood 24 hours a day to guarantee the freshest quality food. They also use different techniques and flavors from each region to make Carolina pulled-pork, Texas brisket, and St. Louis-style ribs. The Well Fed Platter comes with 4 proteins and 2 sides, perfect for those of us who want to try a little bit of everything! Bacon wrapped jalapeños and the mac & cheese are some of the most sought after sides.
The Midwood Chopped Salad comes with smoked corn and can be topped with their bbq chicken, pulled pork or beef brisket, which is imported directly from Texas. Every location has a designated pastry chef that creates mouth-watering desserts that change every couple of months. Their passion and attention to detail not only shines in the BBQ but in the atmosphere and customer experience.
In 2005, Mac’s Speed Shop opened their first shop in Charlotte and quickly became a well-loved barbeque joint. Their award-winning barbeque, homemade sauces and sides, and selection of 300 beers are what keeps patrons coming back for more. Some of the most popular items on the menu include the Hickory Smoked & Pulled pork BBQ, which is dry rubbed then smoked for 12 hours, and the Beer Can Chicken, that is slow smoked and finished on the grill. What makes Mac’s a unique place is their dedication to create delicious food and maintain a fun-packed environment.
From the first day, the Food Truck was mobile to the day Smokey J's opened their brick and mortar restaurant, they have been and will continue to be, committed to serving our community. They love to be involved and hope to prove that in their day to day business. You need and deserve great food, and Smokey J's wants to give it to you! Smokey J’s offers barbeque fans a place to enjoy great food and even have their own specialty sauces for sale!
Did we miss any of your favorite BBQ spots around Lake Norman? If so, let us know in the comments below and be sure to tag us in your foodie adventures @VisitLakeNorman!