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5 Places to Find Wintertime Stew in Charlotte

These Charlotte barbecue joints and a church know how to prepare Brunswick stew, which is a Southern favorite.

Thick and hearty or soupy and steamy—but always laden with smoky chunks of meat—a bowl of Brunswick stew is the perfect match for a brisk fall or winter day. Get your fix at these five local barbecue spots:

Soup’s On

The consistency of the Brunswick stew ($4 cup, $8 bowl) is on the thinner side at uptown favorite Queen City Q—but it’s satisfying, loaded with black-eyed peas, carrots, celery, butter beans, corn, and big chunks of potatoes. (And plenty of chicken and pulled pork.) Paired with a few shakes of hot sauce and a grilled pimento cheese on Texas toast ($4), it’s definitely a meal. 225 E. Sixth St., Charlotte, NC, 704.334.8437

Grab a Fork

The stew ($4.75 small, $8 large) at Bill Spoon’s Barbecue is so substantial that it doesn’t necessarily require a bowl—or even a spoon. (A fork would work just as well.) Thick and hearty with corn and butter beans, this creamy, heavy stew holds up well against a dunk of the eatery’s tangy, bullet-shaped hush puppies. 5524 South Blvd., Charlotte, NC, 704.525.8865

An Annual Blessing

With Old Hickory House closing its doors earlier this year, many claim that the annual Mallard Creek Barbecue—sponsored by the Mallard Creek Presbyterian Church, always on the fourth Thursday in October—offers the best Brunswick stew in town. Developed by Beck McLaughlin, who was 93 when she died in 2004, the recipe uses rice instead of potatoes, ground-up instead of shredded chicken, beef and pork, and only corn and tomatoes, with no lima beans. As many as 20,000 people a year show up for the barbecue, many of them for just the stew. 225 stew pots are made and take-out orders are available by the quart ($10). 1600 W. Mallard Creek Church Road, Charlotte, NC, 704.547.0038

On the Map

Healthy portions of chicken, tomatoes lima beans and corn are what keep drawing customers back to the stew at Bubba's Barbecue, off I-77 north of Charlotte. Bubba's menu even kicks the Brunswick stew debate up a notch, proclaiming, with a map, that it originated in Brunswick County, North Carolina, rather than lore that puts the stew's origin in 19th-century hunting grounds in Virginia or Georgia. ("That's our story and we're stickin' to it," the menu smugly concludes). Order Bubba's made-from-scratch stew ($6.50 pint, $3.50 half-pint) as a side or as a plate with several other sides ($8.99). 4400 Sunset Road, Charlotte, NC, 704.393.2000

Mac Attack

Served with a side of Texas toast, the Brunswick stew ($4 cup, $6 bowl) at Mac’s Speed Shop is packed with carrots, celery, butter beans, and corn—and plenty of the biker-bar-meets-barbecue-joint’s signature pulled pork. 2511 South Blvd., Charlotte, NC, 704.522.6227; 19601 Liverpool Pkwy., Cornelius, NC, 704.892.3554; 2414 Sandy Porter Road, Charlotte, NC, 704.504.8500

The Best Brunswick Stew in Charlotte