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“I love Ribs - 12 Bones is at the TOP of My List” 5 of 5 stars
Review of 12 Bones Smokehouse

12 Bones Smokehouse
5 Riverside Dr, Asheville, NC 28801
828 253 4499
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Ranked #28 of 644 Restaurants in Asheville
Price range: $5 - $10
Cuisines: Barbecue
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Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Local cuisine, Outdoor seating, Dining on a budget
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Takeout
Indianapolis, Indiana
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“I love Ribs - 12 Bones is at the TOP of My List”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2013

12 Bones is located in the River Arts District in Asheville (which is another wonderful story). The ribs at 12 bones are fall off the bone fantastic! The restaurant is ecclectic and an experience that yu should put on your list if you love ribs like I do. Best Ribs I have ever eaten!

  • Visited August 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
BC, Canada
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
35 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Great bang for your buck”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2013

I finally got a chance to try out some BBQ at this famous smokehouse in Asheville, NC. The first thing we noticed when we pulled up at lunchtime was the lineup going around the building...which remained even after we left an hour or so later. Don't be dismayed though, it moves pretty fast, just make sure to sneak in and get a 'takeout menu' while you are waiting in line, so you know what to get when you reach the cashier. Or better yet, check out their website. There are a few tables inside, and there is an extra large outdoor covered area with picnic tables for overflow. The food comes pretty quick after your order, and the eating is good. Not sure why everyone is raving 5 stars..but definitely a 4/5. Great selection, and there is a taster section in the menu. If you are not from around these parts, try the cheerwine (cherrypop).

  • Visited August 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Pittsburgh, PA
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Tasty BBQ”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2013

This place had a line out the door...a long line. But it moved quickly. We went to the older location along the river. The food came really quickly. You get a lot too. For $5 I got a huge sandwich and tons of chips. My husband got the meal with 2 sides (baked beans ok, very sweet could use some more bell pepper and onion) and cornbread for $10. We were both utterly stuffed and we didn't even clean our plates. The ribs and pulled pork were legit barbeque, the sauces were a little dissapointing, but the meat didn't really need it.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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USA
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Great food, value, friendly”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2013

Having eaten at both area locations, this is very good southern (pork) barbeque with even better side dishes available in a very informal atmosphere.

This is obviously a place locals go. Lines form outside the rustic, almost nondescript building with insufficient parking that is located in an out-of-the way part of town. Hours are limited, only the Arden location is open on Saturday, and only 11am-3pm. Seating on the inside seems to be tight, not even much room to stand.

The standard sweet tomato bbq sauce is excellent and there are at least 4 varieties to try including South Carolina mustard base.

One can't go wrong ordering most any side dish, even allowing the cashier to just pick any four. The corn pudding is excellent. Only the cucumber salad is average- everything else seems to be tasty, very good-to excellent, interesting and in moderately large portions, including jalepeno grits, sweet potatoes and turnip greens.

Service at the cash register for takeout is friendly, helpful and fast.

The owners know who to operate efficiently, and have a sense of humor, quoted on their menu as asking, "how can you harrass us?"

The property limitations, relatively limited open hours, don't matter much when the food is this good, the value for money outstanding, and the service fast and friendly (once you get inside after waiting in line, and if you can find a place to sit or stand).

All in all, this is an excellent business producing excellent food service.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Concord, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Sweet smoke flavor”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2013

12 Bones Smokehouse has only been open since 2005 but has quickly become Asheville's most famous BBQ joint. I've eaten at their 2nd location in Arden in the past but made my first trip over to their original Riverside Drive location this week. I had clients from NJ visiting Asheville and knew they would appreciate a BBQ experience while in town.

The parking lot at 12 Bones was full at noon and it took me several minutes to find a parking spot. Likewise, the line to get in ran out the door and around the corner of the building. Asheville loves 12 Bones and on a typical day this location sees over 600 customers. President Obama visited while on the campaign trail several years back and on a 2nd trip ordered take out during a short vacation to Asheville. This press alone has helped to propel 12 Bones popularity.

12 Bones changed ownership in July. Many times this is the beginning of the end for a BBQ restaurant or any restaurant for that matter. Kelley and Thomas Montgomery the original owners had other interests they wanted to pursue and have now sold to Bryan King and Angela Koh. Bryan and Angela have actually been running and managing the restaurant for the last year so hopefully 12 Bones will be in good shape.

12 Bones is eclectic for a BBQ restaurant. Despite it's Asheville location I wouldn't classify the food as NC BBQ as they serve Q inspired by various BBQ regions. The menu offers sample sizes and was a great way for me to try a little of everything. After ordering at the counter I headed over to their sauce station to see what was available. 12 Bones had sweet tomato, mustard, vinegar/pepper and jalapeno pepper sauces to choose from during this visit. The sweet tomato was thick (the tomato is actually ketchup) with just a little zing. My favorite was the mustard which was not overpowering and much thinner than what you'll find in most SC restaurants. In fact the latter three were all on the thin side and would tend to splash as they hit your sauce cup.

Service was fast and my food came to the table within six minutes. The sample sizes were just right and a good mix of the offerings at 12 Bones. All of the choices had a sweeter smoke flavor coming from the cherry hardwood mixed with oak to cook their meats. I personally prefer a traditional smoke flavor but still enjoyed all of the samples.

Ribs- I'd would put the ribs as your best bet at 12 Bones. 12 Bones was founded on the premise that Asheville didn't have a good rib joint and they can take pride in what they serve. 12 Bones offers several dry rubs for your ribs and I selected the default brown sugar rub. They change up the offerings and I've even seen Cheerwine flavored rubs in the past.

Turkey- I've had plenty of smoked turkey in my time but never at a BBQ joint. The turkey was tender, lean and held the smoke flavor very well.

Pulled Pork- Tender with a sweet smoky flavor.

Sliced Beef Brisket- Probably my 2nd favorite after the ribs.

Macaroni and cheese- The only disappointment of the day. 12 Bones advertises that everything is made from scratch but do a great job in emulating a boxed brand from the grocery store.

12 Bones BBQ is reliable and fun. I can't make any claims that 12 Bones sauces or any of their meats are at the top of their class but the overall selection is very good.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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