Received this Facebook message the other day:

Hi, great website… I’m planning a road trip from a yankee state to florida… it’s pretty much an annual pilgrimage seeing that i’m from the south (if you count south florida). For the past several we’ve made pit stops along the way at random barbecue joints (3 kids in tow) with mixed results. Last was due south… a tripadvisor and yelp thing… not terrible but meh.. Any chance for a choice recommendation for a good stop? looking for atmosphere that would make a long drive break nicely along with decent bbq…we travel away from 95.. so 81 and 77 etc thanks..

Hi – thanks for the kind words. I don’t personally know a ton about joints on I-81 but in NC, Carolina Bar-B-Q in Statesville is only about a mile off I-77 and cooks barbecue over wood (aka the real way). It’s been a few years since I’ve been (and we haven’t officially reviewed it for the blog yet), but I remember liking it a bunch. It’s a no-frills old school joint that will take your order and get you your food quickly but let you stick around for a while if you want. For what it’s worth – it is also listed on the NC Historic BBQ Trail. Hopefully this helps some.

Any other reader suggestions for barbecue joints worth a damn on I-81 or I-77? Feel free to leave them in the comments. Also, another plug to follow us on Facebook!


Was wondering if you can order large amounts of bbq/slaw for weddings?

Hello – you absolutely can order large amounts of barbecue and slaw for weddings. In fact, most of our favorite joints in Charlotte (and I’m sure the good ones wherever you are) cater and I’m sure could accommodate that sort of request. Hopefully this helps.

Unless of course you were asking if we can provide barbecue and slaw for a wedding, in which case absolutely not. We are amateur barbecuers at best and you wouldn’t want us to do that anyways.


Reader Submission

We received the following submission from someone calling himself “McLovin”:

Me and my wife decided to go have lunch on a Saturday at Smiley’s. First of all the claim that it is good food is a whole lie….I’ve had better. My wife ordered their chicken salad sandwich. It was HORRIBLE nothing special just in a regular burnt sandwich bread and their chicken salad didn’t taste good. we took one bite and told the lady at the cash registered that we did not eat the chicken salad sandwich and was told we had to pay for it anyway. You and I know well that when something does not taste good customer does not pay for it. We felt they were rude and greedy. Since then we have told our experience  to our family and friends to avoid a bad experience. Bottom line is DONT EAT THERE!!!

After spending way too much time trying to figure out why an eight year old is married (age guess based on grammar skills), I decided to reply to our loyal reader McLovin’ to explain our positive review of Smiley’s. It appears that we had a much better experience than the dear reader. I think the main reason behind it is that we aren’t dumb. Seriously – who goes to any restaurant in Lexington and orders a chicken salad sandwich? I can’t stress enough how bad of a decision that was. It really calls into question every other decision your wife ever made (marriage vows included). So yea – if you want chicken salad, don’t go to Smiley’s. If you want great barbecue, then go on over and have yourself a great meal.

As for your assertion that you shouldn’t have to pay for food that doesn’t taste good, there’s a billion dollar health food industry that has something to say about that. So sorry the “greedy” folks at Smiley’s kept the outrageous $4.25 they charged you for your chicken salad sandwich, but next time, man up, order a real meal, and you’ll have a better experience.

Thanks for reading!