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A lifelong North Carolina resident, Matt Barry grew up in Charlotte attending family barbecues where the smoker was center stage. He realized early on how social gatherings, weddings, work events and family reunions were enhanced by togetherness and the process of cooking food that is good for the soul. Today, Barry’s authentic and locally sourced barbecue is the cornerstone of Midwood Smokehouse.
A natural-born storyteller, Barry studied history at NC State University, where he also worked part-time at a local barbecue restaurant. Work became a hobby, and soon Barry recognized that his hobby should be his career; so, he swapped history books for racks of ribs and pursued a career in barbecue. Barry left Raleigh for the Queen City to join newly opened Midwood Smokehouse in June 2011 as sous chef.
Midwood Smokehouse holds a special place in Barry’s heart, as it’s the place where he met his wife—a teacher who spent her summers working at Midwood. Now, as executive chef and pitmaster, a typical day starts at 6 a.m. at the pit where he checks that the meat has slow-roasted to perfection overnight. Throughout the day, Barry works with his dedicated staff to create new flavors from traditional concepts. Barbecue is constantly evolving and education plays a huge part in that—Barry attended Texas Brisket School in January 2013 at Texas A&M University and will be returning this summer for Barbeque Camp in June. When he’s not tending to the pit, Barry enjoys fishing, gardening and spending time at the beach with his wife and young daughter.