Food & Drink

The Best Pulled Pork Dishes in Charlotte

Published On 12/16/2015 Published On 12/16/2015
Travis Mullis/Thrillist
Travis Mullis/Thrillist

Bobbee O’s


For Charlotte natives, this is the BBQ you grew up with and love. Family-run Bobbee O’s keeps it traditional: slow cooked pork shoulder with plenty of red pepper flakes and a Eastern Carolina vinegar sauce on the side. Take all of that and pile it on white bread and you have the quintessential North Carolina pulled pork sandwich.

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Midwood Smokehouse


Plaza/Midwood was a neighborhood in search of a great BBQ restaurant, and Midwood Smokehouse has filled that void spectacularly. They offer it all: ribs, sausage, brisket, but their pulled pork is something special, giving you that excellent smoked flavor without drying out the meat. This smokehouse has a neighborhood bar feel that leaves you feeling at home and well fed. Go straight for the South Carolina sauce with just the right balance of sweet and spicy.

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Smoke Modern Barbeque

Birkdale Village

The BBQ is well-prepared with an eye for every gourmand-centric detail in this sleek spaceship of a restaurant. The attentive staff will help tailor every dish on the upscale menu to fit your unique tastes. The sauces on the table range from Texas to Eastern North Carolina, serving as the finishing touch for your pulled pork platter or sandwich.

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Mac’s Speed Shop

South End

"Bikers, beer, bourbon, and BBQ" pretty much sums up Mac’s. One of their unique takes on the classic pulled pork is to turn it into one of the best tacos in the city. Topped with a creamy mayo/mustard hybrid sauce and slaw, abundant smoke flavors come forward from the first bite to the finish. It’s a lot of taco to handle, most people should be satisfied with two or three.

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The Improper Pig


The Improper Pig is turning traditional BBQ thinking on it’s head using pulled pork as a canvas and sauces as the paint. This place brings in Latin and Asian influences to their sauces and presentation like the spicy Hoisin sauce that kicks in quick and keeps going. For something less intense, try the Thai vinegar sauce or the Kansas City sweet rib sauce.

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Don’t let the name fool you, at Sauceman’s the pork has the leading role, and it doesn’t need a supporting actor. The folks behind this restaurant travel the country for BBQ competitions and that experience shows with their pork. The texture is exactly what pulled pork should be with the caramelized bits and cooked down fat left in, leaving you with a nice mix of greasy fat and lean meat. This pork doesn’t need sauce, and it knows it.

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Queen City Q

First Ward

The puff of porky perfume you get upon entering Queen City Q is just one sign that the minds behind this restaurant know what they’re recreating in downtown Charlotte: Lexington-style BBQ, the king of North Carolina pulled pork. They proudly show off their homemade Lexington-style sauce, a blend of ketchup, vinegar, hickory smoke, and red pepper with a touch of a special blend of spices. You may be tempted to drink the sauce from the bottle, but settle for dousing your sandwich in it. The signature sauce is also a stand out, a blend of Texas-, KC, SC, and NC style sauces.

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1. Bobbee O's 9401 Statesville Rd, Charlotte, NC 28269

The family owned Charlotte institution Bobbee O's serves up classic, "that hit the spot" ribs and sides like mac and cheese and collard greens. Their logo, "It's all in da' sauce," is more than appropriate, for owner Bob Roberts has spent years perfecting his own blend. If you're tired of the classics, there are plenty of interesting BBQ takes like pork nachos or fries.

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2. Midwood Smokehouse 1401 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205

With pit masters working 24 hours a day, an impressive selection of house-made BBQ sauces, and plenty of moonshine, Midwood Smokehouse is certainly worth the hype. The all-wood smoker is hand crafted with hickory logs, leaving the restaurant's hunks of fresh, local meat with a perfect, smoky finish. The slow-smoked barbecue favorites range from smoked wings to brisket and salmon steaks, all drenched in the famous house sauce, and all of which can be served atop salads or slices of thick-cut Texas toast. When you've mostly removed the rib-residue from your face, following your sizable carnivorous entrée, try a pickle-back shot of moonshine to perk you back up.

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3. Smoke Modern Barbeque 7828-E Rea Road, Suite D-2, Charlotte, NC 28277

This upscale casual BBQ mini chain's pulled pork and green chile mac 'n cheese haunts our dreams. It's at once cheesy, juicy, tender, and spicy and deserves to be savored.

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4. Mac's Speed Shop 2511 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203

Beers, bikes and BBQ... that's the M.O. of North Carolina based mini chain Mac's Speed Shop. Hop on your hog and chow down on hearty eats like the filling pulled pork BBQ platter with the restaurant's own Carolina BBQ sauce. When all the meat has been eaten, be sure to wash it all down with a cold pint from an extensive list of beers.

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5. The Improper Pig 110 S Sharon Amity Rd, Charlotte, NC 28211

Traditional BBQ gets an inspired Asian twist at this Cotswold spot that specializes in bao tacos. If this sounds too good to be true, we suggest you run, don't walk, towards this food hybrid lover's paradise.

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6. Sauceman's 228 West Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203

If you’re living in the South, one thing you must take advantage of is hickory slow-smoked pork. Get your fix at Sauceman’s, where high-quality pork is cooked to perfection and served either chopped or coarse cut. Each piled-high plate comes with slaw, hushpuppies, and a side of deep fried corn, fried green tomatoes, or any of the other savory dozen options.

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7. Queen City Q 225 E. 6th Street, Charlotte, NC 28202

Smoking is the name of the game at Queen City Q, from pork and brisket to ribs and sausage. If you can't make a call on your own, go ham and order the Q Platter with all the meat you could dream of, built for customizing with a table full of different sauces.