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Noble Smoke


Considering that we are huge fans of Jim Noble and that one of his latest hits, Noble Smoke, opened two years ago, I’m a bit ashamed that it’s taken so long to eat there.  


Noble Smoke, which is actually a joint venture between Noble and the owners of The Suffolk Punch brewery, has been in the works in many ways for decades.   Jim has fond memories of going to many of North Carolina’s best barbeque joints with his father.  As an adult, he has spent countless days traveling the South and researching the topic with the intent of carrying on the tradition of the classic Carolina and Texas barbecue styles.   There are many iterations of Carolina barbeque but in North Carolina, they can roughly be divided between Eastern (my favorite) and Western styles.   Many arguments have been had about which is best over the decades. And explaining that further would make this write-up much longer than you would likely want to read   


Noble Smoke is located in a former 1950’s tractor trailer repair facility on Freedom Drive in the area that’s become known as WestEnd.  It features two masonry wood-smoked barbecue pits for the Carolina styles as well as six Texas style steel smokers for brisket and ribs.  And there is plenty of barbecue from which to choose like the Lexington-style pulled pork, Texas brisket, smoked chicken and turkey breast as well as smoked ribs.  All of the meats are locally-sourced from purveyors that Noble has been using for several years.  You have at least 18 side dishes from which to choose such as the Southern staples like succotash, fried okra, field peas, butter beans, and collards.  Of course the traditional items seen in any barbecue restaurant like slaw, hush puppies, and potato salad are on the menu as well.    And what dessert is best associated with Southern barbecue joints?  Well, homemade banana pudding, of course.   So be sure to save a little room for that delicious treat.


My last visit to Noble Smoke was a recent Friday with my sons and Beth’s father, M.T., who all love barbeque. We picked a Friday since that’s when the restaurant serves its popular hot pastrami sandwich.  One of M.T.’s favorite foods is pastrami, so we decided to treat him to what I think is Charlotte’s best.  This is pastrami unlike the typical sliced meat sold in a deli or grocery store.  Noble Smoke’s version takes a week to be made with the final process being to smoke the meat such that the outside has a nice crust to it.  It is then sliced about one half inches thick then served on their homemade bread with two generous slices of Swiss cheese and mustard.   


Because of the joint venture with Suffolk Punch, there is a sizable brewery operation on premises as well.  Inside, there is a beautiful spacious bar with plenty of seating in addition to the Beer Shack - an outdoor space that is open Thursday-Saturday.


This is a great place to get some of Charlotte’s best barbecue and to taste a wide variety of locally-made craft beers.  Get there early so you don't have to wait.     And be sure to take in the great view of Uptown skyline from the beer garden area.



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