Name: Fuller’s Old Fashion BBQ
Address: 3201 Roberts Avenue, Lumberton, NC 28360
Order: Buffet: chopped pork, fried chicken, hush puppies, chow chow, okra, banana pudding, and sweet tea (link to menu)
It may surprise you to learn that in four years of heading either to or from the beach for a guys weekend at Ocean Isle Beach, NC, I have not made it to any barbecue joints. Well, this year with my handy NC BBQ Map in hand, I was able to identify several candidates on the way, settling on Fuller’s Barbecue in Lumberton, about 2.5 hours into my trip from Charlotte.
Fuller’s is just a half mile of I-95 in a huge, log cabin-esque structure. And I do mean huge – its main room and buffet line was flanked on either side by even more sizable dining rooms. I actually didn’t realize until I pulled in that it was a buffet but since I was arriving right as they opened at 11 I wasn’t too concerned. It was more of a southern buffet instead of strictly barbecue – they had fried chicken, seafood, and even a salad bar in addition to a number of quintessentially southern sides. In addition to a heaping pile of eastern style chopped pork, I added a fried drumstick, hush puppies, okra, and chow chow (which was available instead of traditional cole slaw). And of course banana pudding to top it all off.
The map noted that Fuller’s was a wood smoked joint, and that was the reason why I ultimately chose it. And the smoke came certainly came through the tender, moist meat. Perhaps it was because I caught it right as they opened but if they are able to maintain this quality of pork throughout the day, they are onto something.
While not barbecue, I had a hankering for fried chicken and the drumstick was fried nicely and not too greasy. The hush puppies were tiny orbs with just the right amount of sweetness. The chow chow and okra were solid and tasted freshly made, though I still would have preferred slaw of some sort. And to top it off, the banana pudding was perfect.
There was a 15-deep line at the door when I arrived, and based on my experience at Fuller’s Old Fashion BBQ it was well earned. I’d be very interested to try it again next time I travel NC-74 heading towards the beach to get a sense of the consistency of the joint, but on this visit I was pleasantly surprised just how good it was.