Mike Moore, the founder of Asheville’s popular Blind Pig Supper Club and Seven Sows restaurant (since closed), is working on opening a new barbecue restaurant called Old Etowah Smokehouse in Etowah, down in Henderson County. Here’s Mike’s response to me when I asked him if he could tell me a little bit more about what he’s up to:
Yes, I have accepted a position as working executive chef to reopen an old barbecue establishment on the outskirts of Henderson County near Transylvania County – a one stop-light town on the route of highway 64 on the way to the Pisgah National Forest called Etowah. I am opening the concept there Old Etowah Smokehouse at some point soon hopefully by June or a bit earlier.
The restaurant was built in 1983 by a local family and run for over twenty-some odd years as the “BBQ Shack.” It was purchased recently by a few investor/owners of the Etowah Valley Country Club which I worked for as executive chef prior to the creation of The Blind Pig Supper Club. My friend Peter Rath, who helped me alot in the initial construction phase as well as cooking during the opening of my restaurant Seven Sows in Asheville, is the food & beverage director there at Etowah Valley Country Club. When they purchased the building, he made the connection because we both were excited to re-establish a barbecue institution (one of the last) in WNC with good food.
I plan to pay homage to traditional barbecue and smoked meats with the menu with some kickbacks to Appalachian ingredients. I grew up in barbecue country in Wilson, North Carolina (Eastern NC) and have been a fan of its history and techniques my whole life. I think its important to keep these roadside bbq joints alive in North Carolina.
We are working on logistics for service and the menu currently while we build out the restaurant with renovations and updates to construction. The smokehouse is incredible: an old brick pit built after a bbq design from Memphis, or so I’ve heard by the original owner. It’s an offset smoker, which means the meat is cooked or smoked on indirect heat. Ive had some amazing flavored meat from this style of smoker, which is similar to what you’d find in true Texas smokehouses. This past summer I met John Lewis at Craig Rogers’ Lambstock event and was absolutely blown away by his beef ribs which he carefully rubbed and smoked in his offset. When Peter called me a few months ago to come look at the bones of this smokehouse and I saw the pit, I got really excited.
I hope to bring back some good food and authenticity to that place and I hope to gain some great local supporters in Etowah, Hendersonville and Brevard and make a good destination to travelers and tourists heading to the Pisgah National Forest or Dupont State Forest. it will be a great experience for me nonetheless. Its opening day today- go watch some baseball! Hope to see you soon my friend!