North Carolina – 21366 Miles Driven.
North Carolina marked a return to barbecue country, and during my time spent in the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains I was able to satisfy my craving at the positively raved about 12 Bones Smokehouse.
Ask anyone in Asheville, North Carolina where to get good barbecue from, and the likelihood is they’ll tell you to pay 12 Bones Smokehouse a visit. In the summer months there will be lines around the block, and even when I visited the original River Arts District location in the depths of winter, there were still a good number of people patiently waiting outside for the doors to open.
Husband and wife, Bryan and Angela King took over 12 Bones in 2011. Bryan, originally from North Carolina, and Angela from Iowa, both found themselves working in the Bay Area tech bubble with an itch to do something different. Eventually the opportunity to own 12 Bones presented itself. With the help of the previous owners and experienced staff, Bryan and Angela spent three hard months learning from scratch how to run a barbecue restaurant.
North Carolina traditionally has specific styles of barbecue, the Lexington or Western style is using a tomato ketchup and vinegar based ‘red’ sauce. As with everything else, Bryan and Angela make their tomato ‘Q’ sauce from scratch. But Bryan doesn’t want to limit 12 Bones to just serving one type of barbecue, which is why the menu incorporates different styles from across the country.
If Angela had it her way I think I would have been served everything from the menu. I was certainly served a lot, which included President Obama’s favourite, brown sugar baby back ribs. He’s got good taste; they were fantastic. As was the rest of the meat selection, my favourite probably being the chopped brisket smothered in the sweet and tangy tomato sauce. As much as barbecue is about the meat, 12 Bones loves the sides, and I fell in love with the collard greens and jalapeño cheese grits. As if that wasn’t enough, and it really was, Angela insisted I also try their smoked turkey sandwich. It was a meal in itself that as well as a pile of turkey sandwiched between two doorstop slices of bread, included sugared bacon, brie and pesto mayo. It was a great sandwich.
At the end of 2016 the original 12 Bones will be closing for good, the building’s been earmarked for demolishment. A new location only a stones throw away in a disused lot graffiti artists have made their home, is due to open early 2017 and presents a fantastic opportunity for Bryan and Angela. I’m glad I got to eat at the original, and I can’t wait to see the new.
12 Bones Smokehouse is located at; 5 Foundy Street, Asheville, NC 28801. Telephone; +1 (828) 253-4499.