WIN­TER COM­FORT

5 Places to Get a Sooth­ing Bowl of Stew

Where Charlotte - - FRONT PAGE - Aleigh Acerni, Jay Bemis

With Old Hick­ory House clos­ing its doors ear­lier this

PIL­LAR HEAD 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. As many as 20,000 peo­ple a year at­tend the bar­be­cue, many for just the stew, of which 225 pots are made and take-out or­ders are avail­able by the quart ($10). 1600 W Mal­lard Creek Church Road, 704.547.0038

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., 704.334.8437

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 to a dunk of the eatery’s tangy, bul­let-shaped hush pup­pies. 5524 South Blvd., 704.525.8865

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-meets­bar­be­cue-joint’s sig­na­ture pulled pork. 2511 South Blvd., 704.522.6227; 19601 Liverpool Pkwy., Cor­nelius, 704.892.3554; 2414 Sandy Porter Road, 704.504.8500

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 19th-cen­tury hunt­ing grounds in Vir­ginia or Ge­or­gia. Or­der the made-from­scratch stew as a side ($6.50 pint, $3.50 half-pint) or as a plate, which comes with sev­eral other sides ($8.99). 4400 Sun­set Road, 704.393.2000

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