NC Historic Barbecue Trail

The Barbecue Bros’ quest: to visit each restaurant on the North Carolina Historic Barbecue Trail by the end of 2013 2014 2015 2016. We will track our progress on this page, linking to reviews of each place we visit.

ncbbqtrail

via NC Barbecue Society

8/5/16 Update: 16 of 23 reviewed; added Carolina Bar-B-Q

1. Skylight Inn, Ayden

2. B’s Barbecue, Greenville


3. Jack Cobb & Son Barbecue Place, Farmville – 6/28/13
Rating: 3 hogs

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.


4. Wilber’s Barbecue, Goldsboro – 5/24/13
Rating: 4 hogs

The chopped pork had visible red pepper flakes and a pleasant aroma of smoke. And it was very good, albeit a little too coarsely chopped for my liking. But still, the texture and taste was outstanding.

5. Grady’s Barbecue, Dudley

6. Stephenson’s Barbecue, Willow Springs


7. Allen & Son Barbecue, Chapel Hill – 9/6/12
Rating: 4 hogs

I can’t say enough how much I loved the pork. I was literally scouring my plate looking for stray bits of pork that I could eat.


8. Hursey’s Barbecue, Burlington – 9/5/13
Rating: 3 hogs

The hush puppies were little orbs cooked to golden brown perfection but what really set it off was that they were served with honey butter (!!). If you have ever had perfect hush puppies with honey butter, then you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t – well man, you just haven’t lived.


9. Stamey’s Barbecue, Greensboro – 7/12/13
Rating: 5 hogs

I can’t say enough good things about Stamey’s and I hope to make it back very soon. It is the definition of a 5 whole hog plate of chopped pork barbecue and to me, also the definition of a 5 whole hog joint.

10. Short Sugar’s Drive-Inn, Reidsville – 2/16/16
Rating: 3 hogs

I have certain expectations whenever I hit up a joint on the historic NC barbecue trail. While Short Sugar’s wasn’t the worst trail joint I’ve hit (and overall I did enjoy the meal), I was slightly disappointed. If I ever find myself in Reidsville again, I wouldn’t be opposed to stopping again, but I won’t be going out of my way to do so.

11. Fuzzy’s, Madison

12. Hill’s Lexington BBQ, Winston-Salem


13. Little Richard’s Bar-B-Que, Winston-Salem – 9/24/13
Rating: 4 hogs

The pork is good, but I do think it could use a bit more smoke on it. It’s perfectly tender with the right amount of dip applied, but the flavor doesn’t quite stack up to some of the top joints. It’s still quite good and I certainly wasn’t disappointed, but it simply does not compare favorably to most of the places in Lexington.

14. Speedy Lohr’s BBQ of Arcadia, Lexington


15. Smiley’s Lexington BBQ, Lexington – 10/20/12
Rating: 4 hogs

I thought the ‘cue was really, really good. The portion was pretty big (probably enough for two meals), the pork and (red!) slaw were great, and it was just a great meal.


16. The Barbecue Center, Lexington – 8/8/13
Rating: 4 hogs

It was very good. In fact, if The Barbecue Center were in Charlotte, I’d probably go eat there all the time. But it’s not in Charlotte, and there’s a higher standard in Lexington. At the end of the day, Mama Speedy was right – why waste your time when Monk’s place is just around the corner?

17. Richard’s Bar-B-Que, Salisbury – 2/14/14
Rating: 3.5 hogs

While Richard’s Bar-B-Que certainly doesn’t match Lexington, I would be more inclined to stop over there than I would Wink’s. They both cook barbecue over wood, but Richard’s has the red slaw and the slightly spicy thin sauce, giving it the edge in my mind if you want barbecue in Salisbury.


18. Wink’s Bar-B-Que, Salisbury – 3/2/13

Rating: 3.5 hogs

The chopped pork was tender, had nice pieces of bark mixed in, and had good smokiness. The sauce was a bit sweeter than I’d have preferred (or have had from a Piedmont-style barbecue spot) but for the most part I had no real complaints.

mandk
19. M&K Barbecue & Country Cooking, Granite Quarry – 3/27/15

Rating: 4 hogs

The pork had really good flavor with a hint of smoke and was plenty tender. The chop was slightly coarser than Lexington style, but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment. My order did not have too much outside brown – next time I’ll probably specify that in my request. I ended up adding a bit of dip and Texas Pete while eating, but I could’ve gone without – the pork wasn’t dry.

IMG_5448
20. Carolina Bar-B-Q, Statesville new!
Rating: 3 hogs

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.

swisscafe
21. Switzerland Cafe and General Store, Little Switzerland – 7/18/14
Rating: 3 hogs

Overall, Switzerland Cafe was a fine barbecue meal, but likely the last I’ll ever eat there. I think Monk liked it better than I did, but the location is just so remote that it would take an amazing meal to compensate. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t there for me.


22. Bridges Barbecue Lodge, Shelby – 9/28/13
Rating: 4.5 hogs

Monk and I have stopped by Red Bridges pretty frequently over the past few years (usually on the way to and from concerts in Asheville) and assumed this would be a slam dunk 5-hog review, as every experience in the past has been perfect.

23. Herb’s Pit BBQ, Murphy – 5/29/14
Rating: 3.5 hogs

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.

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12 thoughts on “NC Historic Barbecue Trail

  1. My husband is trying to find a BBQ place that smokes their meat in the center of the restaurant, like The Salt Lick in Texas. Have you found any in NC?

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  2. Hi Bros,
    You guys ever tried Mr. Barbecue in Winston-Salem? Pretty decent Lexington style (duh!) with nice red slaw. Must be doing something right to be there for fifty years, basically unchanged.

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  3. Where in the Charlotte area can I take whole Turkey, Chicken and Fish to have it smoked or barbecued on consignment? It doesn’t have to be rated a 4 or 5 star barbecue place. Just some truck mounted or regular mom and pop barbecue restaurant would do. i am not picky.

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