North Carolina has long been known for its barbecue. The definitions of this delicacy vary depending on geography, but here in the Carolinas, barbecue traditionally means wood-smoked pork. In the Blue Ridge Mountain town of Hendersonville, innovative pit masters push the barbecue boundaries by introducing new takes on classic ’cue served with seasonal sides and pints of local beer and hard cider.
At Hubba Hubba Smokehouse, diners order at the window and enjoy meals on the outdoor patio. You can smell the smoke from the oak and hickory wood used to cook the pork, chicken, brisket, sausage and ribs. Creative sides include pimento cheese grits and a colorful succotash of sweet corn, lima beans, red bell pepper and zucchini. Locals know to come on Thursdays for the tamale special served with chips and queso. Diners enjoy watching the Hubba Hubba chickens strut around the property.
Old Etowah Smokehouse combines decades-old practices, such as cooking a whole hog in an indoor brick-and-mortar pit, with new trends, such as cans of hard cider made with local apples. One popular entree is dipped chicken, which involves frying chicken pieces and then dipping them in tangy barbecue sauce. Save room for dessert. A nationally known pastry chef, who happens to be a Hendersonville native, prepares stately coconut cakes and specialty cheesecakes.
Flat Rock Wood Room just south of downtown Hendersonville specializes in barbecue and wood-fired pizzas. The list of smoked meats includes pork, chicken, turkey, brisket, ribs and sausage. One pizza merges barbecue with Italian, topping a crispy crust with pulled pork, barbecue sauce and mozzarella. Favorite appetizers, such as onion straws and the piggy pretzel with beer cheese, pair well with craft beers on draft.
For more about these restaurants and other Hendersonville destinations, go to visithendersonvillenc.org or call (800) 828-4244.