Name: Herb’s Pit B-B-Q
Address: 15735 U.S. 64, Murphy, NC 28906
Order: Chopped Bar-B-Q plate with fries and hush puppies (link to menu)
Speedy: Monk and I have been talking for a while about trying to hit up every spot on the Historic NC Barbecue Trail. It’s a lofty goal, but one made even more difficult by the presence of Herb’s Pit BBQ, which sits just outside of Murphy, NC, which is literally as far west as you can go in the state. So when a six hour drive to Nashville popped up on my schedule, I couldn’t resist the urge to make it an eight hour drive in order to check out Herb’s. So first things first – if you want to go to Herb’s, you will be driving two hours out of the way. It is in the middle of nowhere.
Monk: What a soldier for the cause. Mad props to you, Speedy. I thought this would be the last place we would get to on the trail. And that it would be in like 2018.
Speedy: Anything for our readers, Monk. I knew this barbecue was going to have to blow me away for me to ever eat it again. Spoiler alert: it didn’t.
When you walk in to Herb’s, it’s set up sort of like a Cracker Barrel, with a small country store in the room with the register. When I got there, the restaurant was basically empty, so I went and sat myself. The dining room is large and would seat plenty, and the tables are fairly nice. Herb’s also has a salad bar, which is a first for me at a ‘cue joint. I didn’t bother to peek at the salad bar, and if you want to know how it is, you’re reading the wrong site.
Monk: …or are Mrs. Monk.
Speedy: Monk – you and I both know she doesn’t read the site.
Monk: True… *sigh*
Speedy: Anyhoo, opening the menu, I saw quite a few other food options – steaks, burgers – as well as a variety of barbecue goodness. Surprisingly, Herb’s cooks brisket, ribs, and chicken in addition to the standard pork. Normally, I would’ve ordered everything, but I was by myself and was not super hungry (a poor excuse, I know),
Monk: Hey, that’s called pulling a Monk!
Speedy: …so I stuck with the staple – the chopped BBQ plate. I asked the waitress whether the slaw is mayo based, and it is, so I didn’t bother to order it. Let’s just assume I tried it and found it to be terrible. Instead, I went with fries and hush puppies, which is fairly standard for me.
I was surprised by the amount of time it took for the meal to arrive. I actually took this as a good sign, thinking it means the ‘cue was reheated over fire as opposed to sitting in a warmer all afternoon (I was eating around 2:30, so missed the lunch rush).
Monk: Or as opposed to being reheated in a microwave.
Speedy: I was served a generous portion and was excited to dig in. The pork was actually quite good. It had great smoke flavor, was very tender, and included plenty of bark. It was not dry at all (read: no heat lamp) and probably didn’t need any extra dip. However, in an effort to try the dip provided on the table, I did add a generous portion about halfway through my meal. This was a mistake. The dip was just too sweet. It definitely could have used more vinegar and something to give it some heat (I’d prefer red pepper, but just throwing some Texas Pete in there would’ve done wonders). I don’t want to say it ruined the pork, but it was not an improvement. Overall, though, I was impressed with the pork on the plate.
Monk: The pork sounds good (sans dip of course) and based on your description, I can see why Herb’s was included on the Historic NC BBQ Trail (even if it is in BFE NC). You get that smoke by cooking over wood.
Speedy: The hush puppies were another story – they were not good. Maybe it was due to over-frying, but I just didn’t think the flavor was there. The fries were pretty good – thick cut steak fries – but overall, the sides were not impressive.
The pork was very good, and if you do happen to be passing through Murphy, Herb’s is worth a stop. I’m curious whether their other meats are as good as the pork – I suspect they are, as Herb’s seems to cook things the right way. However, the inconvenience of the location likely means this will be my one and only visit to Herb’s.
(For another review of Herb’s, check out Marie, Let’s Eat!)
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 4 hogs
Sides – 2 hogs
Overall – 3.5 Hogs