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Bill Spoon's Barbecue

5524 South Boulevard, Charlotte, NC - (704) 525-8865
Posted By Michael Stern on 5/31/2011 6:42:00 AM
A sign on the front of Bill Spoon's announces "WE COOK THE WHOLE PIG. IT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE." That's no lie. As swell as butts may be when they are slow-smoke-cooked, they cannot match the rousing diversity of hacked-up whole hog, from creamy to crunchy, which you can here have on a partitioned plate with a couple of side dishes or packed into a bun and crowned with bright, pickly mustard slaw.

Spoon's Brunswick stew is so dense with meat and vegetables that you can clean the bowl using only a fork; and tubular hushpuppies with vivid onion punch provide cornmeal counterpoint to the spice of barbecue or barbecue-laced beans. If there is a pork-frowner at your table, Spoon's chicken, cooked moist and ultra-tender, encased in succulent skin, is a fine alternative.

To drink: sweet tea, refilled approximately every 90 seconds by a roving member of the waitstaff. For dessert: banana pudding loaded with slices of ripe banana and streaks of cookie that had me excavating for more with every spoonful.

It all adds up to an archetypal barbecue meal, just what you'd hope for in a place that's built a grand reputation pit-cooking pig since 1963. Founder Bill Spoon learned the barbecue trade from John Skinner, who learned his craft at North Carolina's first sit-down barbecue restaurant, opened by Bob Melton in Rocky Mount in 1924.

Since Bill Spoon's passing, the gauntlet has been picked up by Steve Spoon; during a visit in 2010, we noted that members of the staff were wearing "Steve Spoon Barbecue" apparel – perhaps signaling a name change. As for quality, that remains foursquare four-star.

Note: Dinner is now served Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings until 8pm.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
BBQ Plate
Iced Tea
Banana Pudding
Hushpuppies
Barbecue Sandwich
Barbecue Chicken (1/4)
Brunswick Stew
Barbecue Potatoes
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Bill Spoon's tangy-sweet mustard slaw perfectly draws forth the elegant and almost evanescent flavor of whole-hog pork.
"Bill Spoon's tangy-sweet mustard slaw perfectly draws forth the elegant and almost evanescent flavor of whole-hog pork."
Michael Stern





The $8 lunch special plate: two helpings of chopped pork, moistened with sauce; mustard slaw, and BBQ beans (or BBQ potatoes or fries).  The same custom-printed plates are used for Spoon’s popular catering service.
"The $8 lunch special plate: two helpings of chopped pork, moistened with sauce; mustard slaw, and BBQ beans (or BBQ potatoes or fries). The same custom-printed plates are used for Spoon’s popular catering service."
Chris & Amy Ayers


This thick ‘n’ chunky Brunswick stew is served with a basket of handsome hushpuppies, hot from the fryer.
"This thick ‘n’ chunky Brunswick stew is served with a basket of handsome hushpuppies, hot from the fryer."
Chris & Amy Ayers


At Spoon’s, cooking the whole pig (not just the back half like other places) does indeed make the difference: tender and juicy.
"At Spoon’s, cooking the whole pig (not just the back half like other places) does indeed make the difference: tender and juicy."
Chris & Amy Ayers


The waitresses come around approximately every 90 seconds to top off your ice tea. It is done automatically unless you say no.
"The waitresses come around approximately every 90 seconds to top off your ice tea. It is done automatically unless you say no."
Michael Stern


Bill Spoon’s has not changed, though his business neighbors reflect today’s commerce on this end of South Boulevard.
"Bill Spoon’s has not changed, though his business neighbors reflect today’s commerce on this end of South Boulevard."
Chris & Amy Ayers


Table necessities include Spoon’s vinegar sauce and their excellent iced tea.
"Table necessities include Spoon’s vinegar sauce and their excellent iced tea."
Chris & Amy Ayers


Even a side-dish small bowl of Brunswick stew is immensely satisfying. It is so thick with meat and vegetables that it is edible with a fork.
"Even a side-dish small bowl of Brunswick stew is immensely satisfying. It is so thick with meat and vegetables that it is edible with a fork."
Michael Stern


Hushpuppies come with all dinners and on the side of Brunswick stew. Bill Spoon's tubular 'pups are firm and crunchy -- ideal companions for just about anything else on the menu.
"Hushpuppies come with all dinners and on the side of Brunswick stew. Bill Spoon's tubular 'pups are firm and crunchy -- ideal companions for just about anything else on the menu. "
Michael Stern


Here is a catchphrase to make a Roadfooder's heart quicken. Whole hog barbecue has infinite layers of flavor, not to mention textural variety. It is pure, perfect pig.
"Here is a catchphrase to make a Roadfooder's heart quicken. Whole hog barbecue has infinite layers of flavor, not to mention textural variety. It is pure, perfect pig."
Michael Stern


Ayersian has commented that the 'Nila Wafers in Spoon's banana pudding are a bit too crunchy for his taste: not softened enough. The batch I got on Christmas eve, 2009 had so many fresh, perfectly ripe banana slices in the smooth custard that it almost was hard to find streaks of cookie. Those that were there were, to my taste, perfectly softened enough to still be cookie-like, yet tender enough to blend. The search for just enough cookie made every spoonful a sweet little adventure.
"Ayersian has commented that the 'Nila Wafers in Spoon's banana pudding are a bit too crunchy for his taste: not softened enough. The batch I got on Christmas eve, 2009 had so many fresh, perfectly ripe banana slices in the smooth custard that it almost was hard to find streaks of cookie. Those that were there were, to my taste, perfectly softened enough to still be cookie-like, yet tender enough to blend. The search for just enough cookie made every spoonful a sweet little adventure."
Michael Stern


Invented in Memphis, the pig sandwich -- chopped pork on a bun along with cole slaw -- is now a Mid-South culinary icon. The slaw and pork are each sweet in a completely different way, and the contrast of crunch and softness is an unbeatable duet.
"Invented in Memphis, the pig sandwich -- chopped pork on a bun along with cole slaw -- is now a Mid-South culinary icon. The slaw and pork are each sweet in a completely different way, and the contrast of crunch and softness is an unbeatable duet."
Michael Stern


Long, slow cooking yields chicken that is ridiculously tender. If there is a pork-frowner at your table, this is the way to go.
"Long, slow cooking yields chicken that is ridiculously tender. If there is a pork-frowner at your table, this is the way to go."
Michael Stern


Soft and only gently flavored with sauce, these potatoes are one of several side dishes available on BBQ plates.
"Soft and only gently flavored with sauce, these potatoes are one of several side dishes available on BBQ plates."
Michael Stern



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