MD/Virginia/North Carolina BBQ Road trip
I have been wanted to get back to North Carolina for a while now. I really wanted to get to some of places on the North Carolina BBQ Society Historic Barbecue Trail. I have this underlying fear that if I don’t see some of these places soon they may not be around too much longer. Each place I went in North Carolina was very unique. They are all very individual save for vinegar. Vinegar was the only constant in the trip. Everything else changed from location to location. On the way to NC I stopped at a few places in Maryland and Virginia as well.
The Trip started at a place that was recommended to me – over the next couple of weeks Ill write about every place I have been.
1310 South Main Street Mt. Airy, MD 21771
They have a deep understanding of all types of BBQ from Competition to Restaurant and everything in between. They even organize their own BBQ competition each year SWINESTASTIC.
Fun license plates cover many of the surfaces. Pig lights, wood beams and a generally comfortable feeling round out the vibe. There is a patio out front for more seasonal warmer months.
The food is all cooked with hickory and oak on a Southern Pride.
The inside décor is a mixture of license plates, BBQ posters and lots of wood. It’s a comfortable place perfect for date night every day eating and families. The place was getting full of happy looking folks all eating lots of BBQ slowly smoked on heir Southern pride using Oak. I watched plate after plate of BBQ being delivered to tables. All of it looked great. These folks have earned some serious accolades for their food and their legendary Black Raspberry Grillin’ Sauce taking 1st place at the National BBQ Association (NBBQA) competition.
We got to try all 4 of their awesome sauces-
Sweet & Tangy Grillin Sauce
Ol’ Red Grillin Sauce
Hot & Spicy Grillin sauce
Black Raspberry Grillin’ Sauce
They were all good. On the advice of our server we even mixed the black raspberry with the hot & spicy and it was the bomb.
We ordered an assortment of food-brisket, pork, ribs, sausage and their smoked turkey. Nothing comes slathered with sauce and I sure did appreciate that. All of it was moist and delicious save for the turkey. The turkey was sliced and looked like it had been grilled after. Unfortunately it was on the dry side but still had good flavor. The meat on the ribs pulled off nicely but was not overdone. The brisket was tender and juicy with a terrific pull and chew. Seasonings were restrained on all the meats. They really did a great job of letting the meat and smoke flavor shine through. I really like the fact they served all of their sauces on the side. It was a fantastic grouping. I can see myself eating here again in the future. I sure hope to get back and I would not hesitate to recommend this place to anyone.
Sides we chose were mac & cheese, hush puppies, cornbread, loaded baked potato, and coleslaw. The slaw was beautifully crisp and lightly dressed, the hush puppies were nicely done with a crunchy exterior and fluffy interior, the cornbread had a subdues sweetness to it and the loaded baked potato was great packed with goodness. I just don’t get the texture of the mac and cheese. the cheese sauce was amazing but the pasta was so soft it was mush. I asked the owner about it and he says thats the way people like it. Personally I like texture to my pasta.
Another thing I just have to mention about Carterque is the people that work there. From the front door, to the bar area, to the waiter to the owner these people are uber friendly. Not in that fake crappy kind of way these people really do go out of their way to make you feel comfortable- genuinely glad you are there.
Terrific place to go, delicious BBQ and all around awesome.
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