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12 Bones Smokehouse South. Arden NC

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    12 Bones Smokehouse South. Arden NC

    The second stop on our North Carolina trip was at 12 Bones in Arden.
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    I ordered ribs and turkey breast off of the Just a Taste menu, and added a side of beans and corn bread. The GF went with the pulled pork sandwich with collard greens and beans.
    I chose "nekid", which is just S&P for my rub flavor on the ribs. Brown sugar, blueberry chipotle, and pineapple habanero were the other options for rubs. Being this was my first time trying this place, I wanted to get a good taste of the meat without anything else to hide the flavor. As it turns out, this was a very good plan. The folks at 12 Bones nailed the sweet spot of incredibly tender and moist without a hint of mushiness, and the level of smokiness was perfect to my tastes. These were the kind of ribs you hope you end up with every time you throw a rack on your smoker. Sauces are on a side table in pumps so you can try all 4 of the flavors with the options being, traditional Eastern NC, South Carolina mustard, a sweet tomato red that wasn't actually sweet like a KC style sauce, and finally a spicy vinegar. While there was nothing off-putting about the sauces, none of the four did anything to enhance the amazing flavor of the ribs.
    I had one little nit to pick with the turkey, simply because it was sliced with the grain instead of across. Other than that, the turkey was very good. This was a turkey you'd be happy to serve up at Thanksgiving.

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    ​​​​Fortunately for me, the pulled pork sandwich is a large helping of pork, and the GF didn't complain when stole a couple of fork fulls. After a couple of bites, I was sad I didn't add pulled pork to my plate too. Like the ribs, 12 Bones just nailed it. Without any sauce this was the pulled pork dreams are made of. I'm generally not not a big fan of my pulled pork, but others really enjoy it. If I ever turn out a pulled pork as good 12 Bones, then I'll become a fan of my own too. The meat had a great depth of flavor and was super tender.

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    12 Bones didn't take any short cuts with the beans either. These were not the sweet Boston style beans that I normally see dished up as a side. These were nice rich pit beans with flavors of smoke and pork mingling with and enhancing the richness of the still firm yet tender beans. My GF is a fan of sweet beans, and didn't care for this style, but I really enjoyed them. Collard greens are not now, nor have they ever been something I could appreciate, so I'm in no position to judge the quality of them. The GF however is a fan and proclaimed them to be almost as good as her mom's. Coming from her, that is very high praise. The corn bread was born of the idea that sugar has no place in corn bread, and was, to my taste, a little dry. It wasn't disappointing, but just didn't live up to the level of excellence of the rest of the food. I'm also from the camp that believes that sugar most definitely belongs in corn bread, so this might be clouding my opinion.

    Given the amount of positive reviews this place gets, I'm reasonably certain that I didn't just catch 12 Bones on a good day, and they are in fact turning out quality food day in and day out. I know for sure that the next time I'm in the area, I'll be stopping there to confirm this.
    Last edited by willxfmr; October 3, 2021, 09:55 AM.

    Awesome review. Glad your enjoying your tour of West NC.


      Loving your reviews. They’re making me try to figure out how I can get my wife to agree to a North Carolina vacation.


      • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
        ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
        Editing a comment
        take her to Ashville, (not talking about politics here) the locals are a little too hipster for my tastes (kinda like Austin or Portland), but there's no denying that it's a beautiful city with some great attractions. And I suppose the locals are also why the food options vary so greatly, you can get almost anything you want or things you didn't even know you wanted. Then pick a beach city and take her there before returning home. This time of year is perfect since tourist season is almost gone.

      • tbob4
        tbob4 commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm really enjoying the write-ups, as well. Lots of fun.

      12 bone, is that the number of ribs in their full rack of "Dem Bones"
      Long live BBQ


        Great write ups Will. Hope you’re enjoying the trip and looking forward to more.


          Another great review! I’ve added them to the itinerary for my NC road trip.

          If you have any time budgeted for repeat visits, I’d love to hear about the pineapple/habanero ribs.



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