Adair Brothers Smokehouse

I grew up reveling in barbecue. 

It was serious in my family. 

My dad could wax eloquently on the great divide between North Carolina Barbecue (for those of you who aren’t Tar Heels, Eastern North Carolina Barbecue is vinegar-based, Western is tomato-based).

Dad, who grew up in Greensboro, attended the Church of Eastern Barbecue. Mom, naturally, served up tomato-based barbecue that was a cherished family recipe. They made it work.

When we were living in Georgia, they packed us kids in the Plymouth Fury Station Wagon and we made the trek to Sweat’s Barbecue outside of Sandersville. It was supposed to be the model for The Tower Barbecue owned by Red Sammy, which makes a memorable appearance in Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” You could tell why she would be inspired to include the place in her greatest short story.

I once downed a plate of snoots in St. Louis. 

I take my barbecue very seriously. 

That’s why I was so excited when Marjorie said we’d be reviewing Adair Brothers Smokehouse in Cashiers. There’s been a dearth of good barbecue on the Plateau for quite some time and I’ve been acutely aware of the absence.

I decided to treat the staff at the Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library to lunch. This would allow me to sample the entire Adair Brothers menu and, this is equally important, reviving my chances of being named Employee of the Month. 

Here’s the thing to know right off. The place gets barbecue. 

There’s nothing simple or easy about a traditional barbecue place. The careful application of heat demands that someone pay close attention, even at ungodly hours of the night. 

Fortunately, Adair Brothers has enlisted the aid of the great Travis Potts.  He grew up in a barbecue-loving family. All of those lessons he learned at his father’s elbow (his mom was responsible for the sides) have been carried over to his place in Cashiers. 

“Each morning at 1:00 A.M. I fire up Big Maude, our wood-fired pit,” he says. “I hand-rub all the meats with the Adair Brothers’ signature dry rub and monitor each cooking session to ensure you’re getting the moistest and most tender meat with the perfect amount of smoke. I carefully watch Big Maude for the next eight to 12 hours.” 

That’s devotion to your craft. 

Travis’ attention to his smoker paid off for the staff of the library. We shared Chopped Pork Sandwiches, Sliced Beef Brisket Sandwiches, and the Smokehouse Burger. For sides we ordered the Smokehouse Herbed Fries, the Legendary Mac and Cheese, and Smokehouse Barbecue Beans.

All of this made for a happy work environment. Travis’ crazy hours make for a wonderfully smoked barbecue and Adair Brothers offers four strains of barbecue sauce – Sweet Western Carolina Style, Lexington Style, Charleston Golden, and Alabama White. All four deserve a try and all had their champions among the staff. It made my Mom and Dad in heaven smile.

As sensational as the barbecue is, you owe it to yourself to save room for dessert – we were wrestling for spoonfuls of Banana Pudding and Peach Cobbler (made with honest- to-good, just-off-the-tree peaches). I’d give the nod to the cobbler, but the library people were evenly divided between the two choices. 

Here’s the thing to remember ¬– Adair Brothers Smokehouse is open for lunch from 11:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday. Reservations are a good idea: (828) 743-3200.