Name: Carolina Bar-B-Q
Address: 213 Salisbury Rd, Statesville, NC 28677
Order: Regular chopped barbecue pork dinner with baked beans, barbecue slaw, hush puppies, and Cheerwine (link to menu)
Monk: About 3 years BBB (before barbecue blog) – that’s 7 years ago in layman’s speak – I tried Carolina Bar-B-Q on a lark while heading back to Charlotte from a day tubing on the New River. I don’t recall a ton about the meal other than generally liking it but the presence of it on the NC Historic Barbecue Trail has made it a target for a revisit on our neverending quest to try all of the joints on the trail.
Only about a mile off I-77 in Statesville (about an hour north of Charlotte), its hard to miss the joint. The building was opened by owners Gene and Linda Medlin in 1985 and has a huge green roof and “CAROLINA BAR-B-Q” prominently displayed in white block letters.
Carolina Bar-B-Q is a Lexington-style joint (Statesville is about 40 due west of Lexington), and thus smokes pork shoulders before mixing a dip prior to serving. It’s offered either chopped or sliced and while I liked the chopped it is a little lean and lacks much fat or gristle mixed in. The lack of fat or gristle is a complaint apparently shared by Charles Kuralt calling it “too refined,” but a small note at the register says it’s available on request. I do wish it was noted on the menu itself, so that I would know to ask for it when placing my order. There wasn’t a lot of bark mixed in either but at this point I should know to ask for outside brown at a Lexington-style joint. Rookie mistake.
Speedy: Monk, Monk – you never learn! But a little bark mixed in, whether requested or not, is a sign of a truly superior ‘cue joint. Not including it in a standard order shouldn’t be excused.
Monk: You do get a choice of coleslaw or barbecue slaw, and the barbecue slaw was a pretty standard version. The beans were passable, though they did remind me of Bush’s from a can. The hush puppies were perfectly fried and the best of the sides.
Speedy: True Lexington style joints don’t even offer coleslaw. Just sayin’…
Monk: Fair point. Carolina Bar-B-Q is a barbecue joint reminiscent of a few we’ve tried on the NC Historic Barbecue Trail – solid but unspectacular. All in all, I’d say its still worth a stop for sure.