Midwood Smokehouse pitmaster Matt Barry estimates he has purchased between 600 to 700 pounds of fresh, raw brisket each week since Midwood opened in the Whole Foods-anchored Cross Hill Shopping Center in January.
“Brisket is our thing,” said Barry, who even attended brisket camp at Texas A&M University to perfect his craft.
Barry and his crew apply a secret recipe dry rub to the raw USDA Prime brisket then smoke it in Midwood’s custom-made all hickory wood smoker for 12-14 hours at 200 degrees until it is crispy outside and fall-apart tender on the inside.
Midwood is definitely not what you think of when you think traditional Southern barbecue restaurant.
“All of our food is made in-house, from scratch and is locally sourced whenever possible,” Barry said. “And nothing comes out of a can – not even our salad dressings.”
That also includes the sides – South Carolina collard greens, mac and cheese, and barbecue baked beans.
“Our chicken is antibiotic-free and all-natural,” Barry said. “And all of our meats are served fresh – we never cook meat that has been frozen.”
In addition to the brisket, Midwood also sells a lot of its smoked, St. Louis style pork ribs, which also are covered in a special dry rub and cooked in the smoker four to five hours.
Another big seller: the burnt ends.
“We sell a lot of burnt ends here,” Barry said. “They’re a Kansas City thing. We take brisket ends, cube them, caramelize them back in the smoker or on a flat top, then toss it in our housemade Fat Tire barbecue sauce.”
Bacon-wrapped jalapanos do well, too.
“We take a jalapeno, de-seed it, put Monterey Jack cheese in it, stuff it, wrap it in bacon and smoke it,” Barry said.
For those who don’t have a hankering for barbecue meat, Midwood also has hickory smoked salmon on the menu. Get it on a platter with barbecue-buttered corn and avocado-tomato pico or in the popular lunchtime favorite Upstream salad with mixed greens, organic white quinoa, chickpeas and the housemade balsamic vinaigrette.
“We wanted to make sure we reached everyone in the family or in the group,” Barry said. “If there’s someone who says they don’t want to go there because they don’t want barbecue, we’ve got them covered, too.”
How did Midwood get its start?
FS Food Group opened the first Midwood Smokehouse in Charlotte in 2011. (Fun fact: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton went inside Midwood for take-out during a campaign stop in Charlotte in July). The group has since opened another Charlotte area location, and in October, a location in Matthews, N.C.
Who eats here?
“We get a good mix of customers,” Barry said. “We get young professionals and young families who can just walk here from the nearby neighborhoods; we get students – we don’t just cater to one particular group of people. (We get) anyone who likes barbecue and who appreciates good, quality food no matter what they choose on the menu. It’s a very diverse crowd.”
What does the place look like?
The atmosphere is more upscale than a traditional barbecue restaurant, but without being stuffy. Images of iconic Westerns adorn the wooden walls while flat screen televisions bank the full bar area, which extends the length of the dining room off to the side. Diners also can get views into the open kitchen and, upon request when the restaurant isn’t too busy, can take a tour of the back of kitchen and the interior and exterior of the smoker.
WHERE: 702 Cross Hill Road, Suite 400-D
WHEN: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
COST: Sandwiches range from $7.50-$11 and include a side; plates range from $10 for a small (which includes one side, hush puppies and pickled onions) to $25 (for the whole rack of ribs with two sides, hush puppies and pickled onions)