Name: Jack Cobb & Son Barbecue Place
Location: 3883 South Main Street, Farmville, NC
Order: Combo plate with chopped barbecue, chicken leg, slaw, collards, and hush puppies
Speedy: So the whole extended Speedy clan decided to go out to the Outer Banks for a week of vacation, giving me a great excuse to visit the eastern part of NC and check out some eastern NC barbecue. I used the NC Barbecue Trail as my guide to help me pick where to eat.
Monk: Good call…we have to get to our goal of reviewing every stop on the trail before the end of 2013 somehow.
Speedy: First off, let me say this – Farmville is in the middle of nowhere.
Monk: Wait, you’re telling me a town called “Farmville” isn’t in the middle of a bustling urban metropolis? Shocking.
Speedy: And Jack Cobb and Son fits the bill of a place you’d expect to see in the middle of nowhere. The building is on a large plot of land and appears a bit run down. You can see the smokehouse in the back, which didn’t appear to be running when I arrived (around 1 pm). Walking in to the building, I got sort of a school cafeteria feel. You place your order at the counter and your meal is spooned from large vats of pork/slaw/etc. I imagine the food was prepared early that morning, but I don’t have anything to base that off of. As I said, the smokehouse was not going when I was there.
Monk: Based on the speed with how most barbecue joints serve up their food, I imagine this happens behind the scenes in the kitchen but its a little odd for it to be right in front of you.
Speedy: The first thing I noticed when driving up and walking in is that there’s nowhere to eat. Despite being on a decent size plot of land and in a big building, Jack Cobb is strictly take out. As I was a few hours from my destination – this posed a problem. I initially tried to eat on a tree stump in front of the building, but when it started raining, I ended up eating in my car. I don’t understand why a few tables couldn’t be set up inside or some picnic tables set up outside. This bothered me greatly – probably more than it should have.
Monk: I can understand why you were annoyed since the situations combined to kind of put you out, but are you seriously going to ding a take-out only place for being what it probably always has been? Wait, I know the answer to this…
Speedy: Monk, it’s my review and I’ll rate how I want to. Anyhow, I decided to get a combo plate so I could sample both the pork and the chicken. It came with hushpuppies and two sides, which I chose slaw and collards. Normally, I wouldn’t bother with ordering chicken as well, but the combo plate gives you a choice of breast or leg (I chose leg), so I was more intrigued than if it were just pulled or chopped chicken.
Monk: Bold strategy, Speedy. I think this is the first time I can remember either of us ordering chicken from a barbecue joint in North Carolina that wasn’t chicken wings. Let’s see if it pays off…
Speedy: The food was served quickly, in large portions, and very reasonably priced (note: the barbecue sandwich is only $3). I first dug into the pork, which was very good. It was eastern style, chopped well, was tender, moist, and with good flavor. Definitely the highlight of the meal. The plate came with a small side of extra vinegar based sauce, but I didn’t really need it.
Monk: So far, so good…
Speedy: The chicken was incredibly tender – maybe even too much so. When I picked up the chicken leg, all of the meat literally came off the bone. I was a little disappointed in the flavor. The chicken didn’t seem flavored at all and was just OK. Definitely could’ve used some seasoning or rub. The slaw was vinegary, but lacked the tang that I like and the collards were somewhat flavorless.
Monk: And there it is…this kind of reinforces my thought to just plainly avoid ordering barbecue chicken whatsoever.
Speedy: All in all, I enjoyed the pork, but not really the rest of the food or the experience. And while the pork was very good, it still lacked behind Lexington #1 or Allen & Son. Based on the location, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to Jack Cobb.
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 0 hogs (yes – 0 hogs!)
Pork – 4 hogs
Chicken – 2 hogs
Sides – 2 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs (all because of the pork)