We recently caught up with Elliot Moss, the owner and pitmaster of Buxton Hall Barbecue in Asheville, North Carolina, to learn a little about his specialty: whole hog barbecue. But while we had his ear, we also got the low-down on Elliot’s top eats in Asheville. And while roasting hogs over an open flame may be his passion, his all-time favorite food may come as a surprise. Hint: It’s not barbecue. He told us: “I thought I’d say barbecue, but I already eat it every day—and I’ve got a fried chicken tattoo for a reason.” When he isn’t at Buxton Hall, you’ll probably find Elliot Moss at one of these Southeastern gems.
Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack
Hot fried chicken may have originated in Nashville, but this North Carolina landmark may just be doing it better, according to Elliot. “I’ve been to Nashville and eaten their chicken, and I still go back to Rocky’s,” he says. “Rocky’s is really good.” If you’re brave, order your chicken Extra Hot (though tread carefully—it’s been known to induce tears). rockyshotchickenshack.com
All Soul’s Pizza
From milling their own flour and polenta to sourcing local meat and produce to serving bread from a nearby bakery, this wood-fired pizza place is committed to freshness and locality—and it shows. “I try to not eat at places that don’t serve local meats, and that’s a place I can always count on,” Elliott says. “Trying to find local pepperoni is pretty hard, but they’ve got it.” allsoulspizza.com
For a no-fuss, budget-friendly Mexican meal, Elliot heads to Taqueria Muñoz—a family-owned shop that hand-makes their tortillas for some of the best tacos in the city. “It’s a really good and popular local place here in Asheville that’s sort of off the beaten path—you’d drive straight past it if you didn’t know it was there,” he says. (828) 412-3331
“If you want a fine dining place, Cucina will take care of you,” Elliott says. Focused on combining Italian practices with Southern-found ingredients, this restaurant is owned and operated by Chef Brian Canipelli—one of Elliot’s most admired chefs. Stop by for a true taste of local and seasonal ingredients. cucina24restaurant.com
For a strong drink and some serious bar food, head to Sovereign Remedies. “They’re a cocktail bar that does a really great farm-to-table upscale bar menu that’s also really affordable,” Elliot says. sovereignremedies.com