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 2017 2018 2019. We will track our progress on this page, linking to reviews of each place we visit.

via NC Barbecue Society

12/4/17 Update: 17 of 23 reviewed; added Hill’s Lexington Barbecue

1. Skylight Inn, Ayden

2. B’s Barbecue, Greenville

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

Rating: 3 hogs

Speedy: “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

Monk: “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

Monk: “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

Monk: “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

Monk: “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

Speedy: “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 – 11/24/17 new!


Rating: 4 hogs

Speedy: “The plate looked great – finely chopped pork, red slaw, and crinkle fries. We might as well have been in heaven. Digging in, I was treated to that nice smokey Lexington flavor I love (and miss in Tennessee). The pork was solid, though I think the ratio of ketchup to vinegar in the dip favored the ketchup a little too much. The pork was served with dip, and no extra was needed.”

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

Rating: 4 hogs

Speedy: “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

Speedy: 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

Speedy: “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

Monk: “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

Monk: 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.

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


Rating: 4 hogs

Speedy: “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.”

20. Carolina Bar-B-Q, Statesville – 7/9/16


Rating: 3 hogs

Monk: “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.”

21. Switzerland Cafe and General Store, Little Switzerland – 7/18/14


Rating: 3 hogs

Speedy: “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

Speedy: “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

Speedy: “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.”

15 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?

  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.

  3. Ever get close to Garland, North Carolina on Thursday or Friday, visit Southern Smoke. Opens at 11:30
    and closes when they sell out.

  4. 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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