Monk: A fairly wide-ranging state of NC barbecue from News & Observer writer Drew Jackson, who has been very ably covering the barbecue scene in and around Raleigh for the past few years.
Despite the invasive species of brisket coming into the state, there are still a number of places clinging to the NC barbecue tradition, be that eastern whole hog or Lexington-style shoulders (though this story focuses on places east of Durham. Wyatt Dickson, Matt Register, Ronald House (night pitmaster at B’s Barbecue), and Ryan Mitchell are all quoted in the story but of course Sam Jones has the money quote:
Read more at the link:
Lewis Donald is no longer involved with Dish and will be focusing his efforts on Sweet Lew’s BBQ and the Carolina Barbecue Festival going forward
Axios Raleigh releases their Triangle barbecue list
Barbecue Center in Lexington is closing for a week later this month for some hard earned rest and relaxation, so plan accordingly
Hillsborough’s Hog Day festival is the oldest barbecue festival in Orange County and this year will officially be part of the Whole Hog Barbecue State Championship
Jon G’s makes the Yelp Charlotte Top 25 Places to Eat along with…JD’s Smokehouse in Rutherford College near Morganton?
As the old saying goes, more often than not a person’s favorite barbecue is what he or she was raised on. Here at Barbecue Bros, it should be no secret that we are Lexington-style barbecue fans (sometimes known as Piedmont- or Western-style barbecue). Each of the three of us were raised in High Point, NC, just under 20 miles up I-85 from the Barbecue Capital of NC.
However, despite the two warring styles of barbecue in the state, I have never harbored any ill-will to my whole hog compatriots to the east. While I’ve spent many a tank of gas exploring all the Lexington-style joints in the western Piedmont of NC, I’ve bemoaned for years the fact that I just simply haven’t had a ton of reasons to spend much time in the eastern part of the state where whole hog and a vinegar pepper sauce reign supreme.
Thankfully, the oldest Monkette’s gymnastics competition travels recently took the whole Monk family to Greenville, NC for USAG State Championships. We even stayed in an AirBnB in Ayden. Finally, I had a reason to be in Pitt County for a couple days. I hoped to make the most of being in the heart of whole hog country!
B’s Barbecue – Greenville
Address: 751 State Rd 1204, Greenville, NC 27858 Order: Barbecue diner with potatoes and slaw, dozen corn sticks Pricing: $
Monk: My first stop of the weekend would be B’s Barbecue in western Greenville off State Road 43. If you are fortunate (or depending on your viewpoint, unfortunate enough) to have East Carolina University (ECU) fans in your life, you will have undoubtedly heard about the fabled B’s when it comes to comparing barbecue bonafides.
B’s is now owned by three sisters, the daughters of Bill “B” McLawhorn. They are Judy, Donna, and Tammy and their mother Peggy also worked with them before her retirement a few years back. Bill passed away in 2016 but had stepped away from the business in the early 2000s. Another thing they inherited from their father was B’s unique way of smoking their hogs; they smoke over only charcoal briquettes (bags of Kingsford, if I’m not mistaken). That’s right, no hardwood oak or hickory coals. That decision was apparently made after a few smokehouse fires a few years back. Based on my experience, I have a feeling the locals could care less. Neither could I.
Open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 9 until sold out (or 2:30, whichever comes first) and without any indoor dining, you will almost certainly wait in a line. Particularly if ECU has a home football game on a Saturday. But this is no central Texas-style line; it moves fairly quickly and efficiently. Arriving right at 9am on a Saturday, I was 11th or so in line and got my food within 40 minutes. Part of that is because B’s has a pretty limited menu: barbecue, chicken, bread (corn sticks) and sides of slaw, potatoes, or green beans. So really, you should know your order by the time you get up there.
Being a chilly and overcast morning, instead of eating on the picnic tables outside I opted to sneak some bites in the car before making my way back to our AirBnb. The chopped whole hog pork was flavorful if not overly smoky. It was also leaner than the other whole hog I’d have later that weekend. Regardless, this barbecue fully lived up to my lofty expectations.
The cornsticks at B’s (called “bread” on the menu board) were the first corn sticks I’ve personally had and was my favorite cornmeal of the weekend. I bought an extra dozen and took them home to the family. The slaw was about what I’d expect but I did enjoy the potatoes, a simple side that’s not really found in the Piedmont.
At the time of this excellent Our State article from 2016 by Jeremy Markovich, the three sisters were all in their 50s and only saw it continuing for maybe another 10 years. If that math holds, then we may only be talking about a few more years of B’s Barbecue. I fully intend to make it back at least once or twice more in case it comes to that.
Monk: Bangkok-based food YouTuber Mark Wiens visits 5 whole hog restaurants in eastern NC in this supersized video. The visits to Skylight Inn (where he meets with Sam Jones) and B’s Barbecue are of particular interest to me as I’ll be making stops there soon.
Description: NORTH CAROLINA, USA – Welcome to North Carolina, one of the capitals of Barbecue, in the world. Today I’m taking you on an ultimate BBQ tour of Eastern North Carolina which is famous for whole hog barbecue! During this food tour we’re going to 5 of the best restaurants in North Carolina, for Eastern style bbq.
The Skylight Inn, Ayden, North Carolina (https://goo.gl/maps/Wj3t9yRDw464Edmp7) – First stop is The Skylight Inn, easily one of the most well known bbq restaurants in North Carolina, in the United States. They do things the right way, whole hog, slow cooked over smoking coals. One of the best things about The Skylight Inn is when the whole hogs are ready they chop them up, with a ratio of meat, fat, and crispy skin, into an insanely juicy chopped bbq tray. It’s truly a life-changing bbq experience.
Bum’s Restaurant (https://goo.gl/maps/yfWPbidoykXLAtGe8) – Just down the road from The Skylight Inn you’ll find Bum’s Restaurant, another long time bbq restaurant. Along with whole hog bbq, they also have plenty of other southern US foods and great sides. They do their bbq quite differently, instead of being chopped its much more shredded.
B’s Barbecue (https://goo.gl/maps/AgiGLpQPSwhdWDgb7) – Greenville, North Carolina – Next we drove out to B’s Barbecue, a local favorite. I had really wanted to try the chicken bbq, but unfortunately they had already sold out. We barely made it in time to get some whole hog, but luckily we did. It was delicious and so were all the sides.
Grady’s Barbecue (https://goo.gl/maps/1tTj9qgL2guawpK48) Dudley, North Carolina – Another amazing and one of the best bbq restaurants to try in North Carolina is in the small town of Dudley. Again, they do things the right way, slow cooked over coals, the entire pig. Along with the pork, their other dishes, including smoked turkey and bbq chicken, and all the sides were outstanding.
Wilber’s Barbecue (https://goo.gl/maps/6SKdDphpu1mEhcUH6) Goldsboro, North Carolina – Finally to complete this North Carolina bbq tour, we’re eating at Wilber’s Barbecue which is a fantastic family restaurant. Their food and service is fantastic. Also, one bonus about the bbq here is that you can order the leftover or picnic bbq ribs, which are delicious and fun to eat.
When you’re in North Carolina, BBQ is something you must eat, it’s a huge part of the local culture, and I hope you can try some of these best Barbecue restaurants!
North Carolina has lost another classic barbecue joint; Smiley’s Lexington BBQ officially closed this past weekend as a result of the NC DOT widening of Winston Road. Restaurant owner Steve Yountz and his wife, Tena, have no official plans to relocate the restaurant as of now but are not ruling it out either, depending on how much money they get from the state. For now, they are going to take some time to evaluate their options.
The building housing Smiley’s has been a barbecue restaurant for over 70 years and according to Yountz, ““It’s the oldest pit-cooking restaurant in Lexington. We’re still using the original pits.” Before Yountz opened Smiley’s in 2002, it operated as Southern Barbecue from 1963 to 1998 and started as Dan’s in the 1950’s.
This NC DOT project, first announced in 2018 and not set to begin until July 2023, actually has two victims as Speedy’s Barbecue the next block over is also closing due to the road widening.
Through the Preserve the Pit fellowship, Ron Simmons of Master Blend Farms in Kenansville was able to add 56 acres to his family farm and add barbecue catering as a side gig
Big Belly Que in Chapel Hill is pivoting to Italian for the time being
Lechon Latin BBQ is a new-ish, Latin-focused barbecue restaurant at Raleigh’s Triangle Town Center
Noble Smoke’s second location at Optimist Hall opens this Sunday
Congrats to Garren and Kelly from Jon G’s, who 2 years ago on Sunday closed on the former Barbee’s Barbecue location, which they would open in June 2020 just a few months into the pandemic
Texas barbecue James Beard semifinalists
Robert Sietsema’s latest barbecue guide for Eater NY
Juicy Lucia and Di Fara Pizzeria will be located in the former Corner House BBQ on Staten Island
Virgie’s is back
Lewis Barbecue is set to open their Greenville location this summer
Snow’s Barbecue by Robert Jacob Lerma for Huckberry
According to Dave Grohl, salt and pepper is all the rub you need for a great brisket
Aaron Franklin’s Hot Luck Festival is back and has added NC band Superchunk to its music lineup
Here’s a list of the chefs that will be at Hot Luck
Should we call this the Memphis Airport Barbecue Challenge?
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