Sep 5, 2019

Heavenly hash (and other delights) at Buxton Hall Barbecue, Asheville, N.C.

When Punky and I scheduled a layover in Asheville, N.C., on one of our road trips through the south a while back, I knew we had to stop at two places in the brief time we had – Burial Beer Company and Buxton Hall Barbecue.  I was already aware of the quality craft beer and fun outdoor day drinking vibe at Burial through a friend of ours who had moved to Asheville (Hi, Kristin!).  Buxton Hall Barbecue, on the other hand, stood out on an appearance on “Bizarre Foods” for its real-deal Carolina-style smoke whole hog.  I don’t know Andrew Zimmern personally, but I figured I’d give his strong recommendation a shot anyway. 

Fortunately, both were conveniently located within stumbling distance of each other in Asheville’s revitalized South Slope District just south of the city’s crowded downtown area.  It was a bit of a climb uphill from where we parked, but we followed our noses to the entrance and soon found ourselves taken aback by the restoration job that turned a one-time roller rink into one of the country’s most celebrated barbecue joints in recent memory.   

Buxton Hall’s open warehouse concept extends from kitchen to the bar, with a whole lot of space in between for seating. 

At the end of the room, diners can look out over the valley through the factory-style windows.  It’s really a pretty cool view of South Slope and the surrounding hills.

At the opposite end from the “roller rink” wall, you can watch the hustle and bustle of the kitchen and servers bringing out orders. 

Looking further back, you’ll see where the magic is made, as well as where future main courses are hanging out.  Buxton Hall describes its mouthwatering low-and-slow process in delicious detail on its website – 18 hours over hardwood coals and mopped with vinegar to complete the Carolina style. 

And those hogs you see hanging around are always locally sourced and picked with pride.  You even get to know the day’s featured hog by name before you place your order.     

If you’re thirsty (and who wouldn’t be get that way waiting for barbecue that smells as good as this?), Buxton Hall also has an impressively stocked bar on full display adjacent to the dining area.  Rotating house “slushies” and bourbons seem to be their specialties.  There are also plenty of craft beer choices and even cheap PBRs for the hipsters.       

But enough about the ambiance.  You want to know if the food lives up to the hype.  My answer is an emphatic “yes” and then some. 

I got the whole hog barbecue and hash combo for a late lunch, just to be sure I tried both menu items Buxton is most famous for.  The pulled pork was just about perfect.  Sweet, smoky, porky and melt-in-your-mouth good.  You can almost taste the love and preparation that went into the process. 

That said, the barbecue hash steals the show.  Buxton Hall describes it as “meat gravy” on its menu.  All I can say is it’s the best use of all the leftover pig parts you can imagine, simmered slowly together with some signature sauce and served over white rice.  It may not sound too appetizing, and it may not look very appetizing, but one taste and you’re converted.  

My order came with the standard coleslaw and one other side of choice.  And when I saw the words “crispy bits” next to the collard greens, I knew I couldn’t pass them up.  They did not disappoint.  In fact, I got every ounce of the leftover pot liquor I could by pouring extra rice from the hash into the dish.   

The sides are clearly another area where Buxton Hall separates itself from so many other barbecue places.  Their choices are plentiful, all are carefully crafted (the baked beans are made with RC Cola!) and many simply aren’t on most barbecue restaurant menus (e.g., chicken bog or rice with lima beans).       

I’d really love too show you the “before” picture, but to be honest I was so hungry when our food came out that I didn’t think to stop to take a photograph to preserve the moment.   

So, that’s probably the best endorsement I can give – I cleared out my plates.  Buxton Hall put me in a food zone I didn’t exit out of until I was finished.  And when the food is that good, the place is always worth the trip.  If you love barbecue as much as this commoner does, do not miss the chance to go to Buxton Hall Barbecue when you’re in Asheville, N.C.

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