The wait is over. Buxton Hall Barbecue, on Asheville’s South Slope, is reopened with new menu items to complement the restaurant’s wildly popular pulled pork barbecue dishes, Southern side dishes and desserts.
Buxton Hall Barbecue, the venture of chef Elliott Moss and chef/restaurateur Meherwan Irani, opened to rave reviews in August 2015. Moss was the well-known former chef of The Admiral in West Asheville, and he developed a large following in Asheville with his artistic culinary style.
Irani is the owner of the Chai Pani empire of restaurants in Asheville and in Georgia. Both men have been nominated for the James Beard Foundation Best Chef Southeast Award.
Tale of the Smoker
Moss’ vision for Buxton Hall was based on serving whole hog barbecue from pasture-raised hogs of heritage breeds, smoked on premises for at least 12 hours.
“We cook them low and slow,” Moss said then. “They are so juicy.”
People became instant fans of the restaurant and its barbecue offerings.
But the on-premises direct smokers became a problem, as open flame in the kitchen led to embers going up the vent onto the building roof — causing several fires.
Those issues lead management to install a new enclosed burn box in 2020, right as COVID hit and restaurants shut down. Buxton Hall opened for takeout only July 2020 to June 2021. But, the roof fire problem continued, and the decision was made in 2021 to use a remote location for smoking whole hogs and use smaller offset smokers for the on-premises kitchen. The new offset smokers were installed during a pause in restaurant operations June through August.
Dine-in Service Open Again
Buxton Hall Barbecue reopened its dine-in service in late August, delighting diners with its previous barbecue favorites, plus several new menu items made possible by the offset smokers.
“It feels great to be opened again,” said Brandon Grogan, general manager at Buxton Hall. “Last year was very difficult and full of so much uncertainty. We have a giant open dining room, and it just didn’t feel quite right with it being empty for so long. We’re excited to have people back in our dining room and trying out our new menu.”
The new menu includes new styles of barbecue: brisket, smoked sausage and ribs (coming soon), plus a larger sandwich menu than before, including additions of a brisket cheesesteak; a smoked turkey club with house-smoked bacon and turkey; a pulled chicken sandwich; and a hot pastrami (brisket with house-pastrami cure).
There is also a more extensive menu of seasonal and rotating sides, and guests are now able to order a sides plate with their own selections.
For those who need a better understanding of the differences in smokers, Grogan explained the two methods.
“With the whole hog smoker, the hot coals sit directly below the hog (or ribs, sausage, chicken, etc.),” Grogan said. “With the offset smoker, it’s an indirect heat. There’s a fire box attached to the smoker and the smoke kind of rolls across the meat and out a chimney on the other side. There are taste differences — everything is a little more smokey coming off of the offset smoker. It makes for some really great pulled pork.”
Moss has been known as a fan of Eastern-style barbecue, so why the addition of Texas barbecue items? It seems Moss traveled around the South and to Texas to visit pit masters he admires. Diners at Buxton Hall had been asking for brisket for a long time. After studying and honing the Texas style of barbecue, Moss finally felt he was ready to add brisket to the menu.
Grogan adds that Texas barbecue, using off-set smokers, has added benefits for the restaurant.
“We’re mostly fascinated with it because it won’t burn our building down,” Grogan said. “It’s a new style of barbecue for Elliott but it gives us the opportunity to have brisket on the menu, which we weren’t able to properly smoke on the whole hog smokers.”
Moss is partial to the new brisket cheesesteak sandwich, Grogan said.
Adding brisket turned out to be a hit.
“We’ve sold out the brisket cheesesteak almost every night, and it’s become the most popular menu item,” Grogan said.
Buxton Hall Barbecue is open for lunch and dinner Thursday to Sunday. Grogan said that as operations and staffing permit, more days will be added.
There isn’t carry-out at this time, but that, too, may be added soon. As it was before, there are no reservations, so come early to get a seat for mouth-watering barbecue. The restaurant has a full bar and serves the famous Buxton Slushie, with bourbon and Cheerwine.
Buxton Hall Barbecue is located at 32 Banks Ave. For information, visit www.buxtonhall.com.