Crystal’s BBQ & Grill Opens in Flat Rock

As a general rule, about the only thing I am more afraid to eat in North Carolina’s mountains than oysters is barbecue.  Despite all the great barbecue in the eastern and Piedmont regions of the state, the mountains have historically been a barbecue wasteland.  Pork is typically slathered with sticky, sweet sauce that strays far from North Carolina traditions but bears little resemblance to the good stuff in places like Memphis. Still, that may be changing, as several pretty good barbecue joints exist in the western part of the state.  Crystal’s BBQ Grill in Flat Rock is the most recent joint to open in the mountains.

According to the Times-News Online, Crystal’s serves both pork barbecue (otherwise known as “barbecue”) and beef brisket, as well as non-‘cue dishes like burgers.  The article references hickory smoking, though I assume this is off the electric-fired smoker variety until proven otherwise.  Still, better than nothing.  I must admit that the owner’s food training, which according to the article consists of working as the cafeteria manager at an elementary school and watching BBQ shows on the Food Network, gives me pause. Still, barbecue ain’t that complicated, and the owner seems to have a passion for it.  I’ll definitely be stopping here next time I am near Flat Rock.  Heck, if the BBQ is good I mean even stop at the local elementary school…

Crystal’s is open 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Phone number is 828.693.0645.