Friday Find: The News & Observer’s Favorite NC Barbecue Joints

Monk: The News & Observer presents a video slide show of some great photos of their favorite barbecue joints across the state, from classic whole hog joints to new school places that feature brisket and a Texas influence. Restaurants included:

  • B’s Barbecue in Greenville
  • Grady’s Barbecue in Dudley
  • Jon G’s Barbecue in Peachland
  • Lawrence Barbecue in Durham
  • Longleaf Swine in Raleigh
  • Picnic in Durham
  • Prime Barbecue in Knightdale
  • Redneck BBQ Lab in Benson

Description: Barbecue is the hottest trend in food right now. And in tradition-rich North Carolina, a new generation of pitmasters is making new traditions of their own. Here are a few of our favorites. Video by Kevin Keister / The News & Observer.

Lawrence Barbecue – Durham, NC

Name: Lawrence Barbecue
Date: 7/23/22
Address: 900 Park Offices Dr Suite 120, Durham, NC 27703
Order: 3 meat sampler with pork, brisket, and ribs, deviled egg potato salad (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Monk: Jake Wood and Lawrence Barbecue burst onto the Triangle barbecue scene a couple years ago and has come out strong. Originally slated to be one of the many barbecue restaurants announced to open during 2020 as part of Raleigh’s big year of barbecue, it eventually opened in June 2021 and has since been named by Robert Moss one of Southern Living’s best new barbecue joints and best barbecue in Durham by Durham Magazine.

Lawrence Barbecue opened as part of Boxyard RTP, a shipping container park that has retail stores as well as a tap room for Fullsteam Brewing. Wood was originally going to smoke whole hogs but plans changed and he now has three Lang reverse-flow smokers where he smokes pork butts, Texas-style brisket, ribs, chicken, turkey, and wings.

On this visit I got a three meat sampler of 1/3 pound each of pulled pork, Texas-style brisket, and sticky ribs along with the deviled egg potato salad. While I get why it didn’t make sense logistically to smoke whole hogs, at least Jake Wood and team are executing their pork butts nicely. Not really Lexington-style even though they are smoking butts, the pork had lots of bark chopped in and adding their OG vinegar sauce really set it off.

The Texas-style brisket was well smoked and had a great bark that had a little something something else in it – maybe giving it a tangy hint in addition to the usual salt and pepper bark. The brisket was trimmed perfectly and had a nice thin layer of fat in the two slices of fatty I got. Another nice touch were the two burnt ends that were also included.

The sampler came with two bones of spares for their “sticky ribs” and they were smoked perfectly. Sticky and sweet, the bites were clean and flavorful.

I only got one side – deviled egg potato salad – but I’ve been told all are legit and inventive. I can see that based on this twist on a classic potato salad. And they even have their own beer they’ve collaborated on with Trophy Brewing named Leisure Land Lager (“leisure” is big in the world of Jake Wood).

With Lawrence Barbecue, the Research Triangle Park has legit barbecue that competes with the best in the state as well as the southeast. Next time I go, I’ll go on a cooler day (although the covered area has a huge fan, temps were near 100 that day) and will get some oysters in addition to all of the delicious barbecue.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3.5 hogs
Pork – 4.5 hogs
Brisket – 4.5 hogs
Ribs – 4 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 4.5 Hogs

Friday Find: WRAL Out & About Checks Out Lawrence Barbecue

Monk: WRAL’s Out and About visits Lawrence Barbecue in Research Triangle Park, where Chef Jake wood and team serve barbecue from all different regions plus fresh oysters from the NC coast and “reimagined” barbecue sides. They recently celebrated their one year anniversary of opening, and I hope to check out next time I’m in the area

Description: Located in Boxyard RTP (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina) Lawernce BBQ brings the family reunion to your table.

Linkdown: 1/5/22

ICYMI, Kevin’s BBQ Joints rounded up from over 120 barbecue personalities what made barbecue so special to them. We were honored that Kevin asked us to be a part of this fantastic project. While some folks focused on their earliest barbecue memories, both Rudy and I focused our answers on bites that broadened our barbecue horizons from more than just the chopped pork they grew up on in NC. Definitely worth a read.

Native News

Ayden, NC (home to Skylight Inn and Bum’s) unveils new marketing campaign: “‘Que Marks the Spot”

Noble Smoke is the only barbecue restaurant on Charlotte Magazine’s annual list of the 50 best restaurants in Charlotte

Grady’s is closed until late January for their well-deserved “winter rest”

Lawrence Barbecue as well as Lewis Barbecue in Charleston gets some love from Eater Carolinas contributors on this “Best Restaurant Meal of 2021” post

Thankfully, Pik-N-Pig’s closure will only be temporary and they aim to reopen ths year

Huli Sue’s BBQ and Grill in Asheville serves a “Hawaiian influenced take on Texas barbecue along with some other island-esque plates”

ICYMI, the Jon G’s Barbecue x Salud Beer Shop/Salud Cerveceria pizza collaboration is happening now

Non-Native News

Barbecue options in Birmingham

Blake’s BBQ photo progress update from late December

From Lifehacker: “With my Weber, I smoked a little, grilled a lot, and learned even more—and I’d like to share my favorite dishes (and lessons) with you now, in no particular order. This is what my grill taught me over the past year.”

From last month, RIP John Mueller