Photo Gallery: Quick stop in Lexington, NC

Monk: Mrs. Monk was bringing a good friend of ours a quart of Lexington Barbecue on the way from Charlotte to High Point. However, we arrived in town 15 minutes before it opened, so to kill time I had her stop by Barbecue Center first. Speedy and I had previously checked out (and dug) Barbecue Center almost 4 years ago but I hadn’t had the opportunity to go back since.

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This is the first of three different signs that The Barbecue Center (or Bar-B-Q Center) has on its property.

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This is sign #2 with the classic Coca-Cola signage. Note the different spelling of “barbecue”.

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And finally, the iconic sign off Main Street that is the most well known of the 3. Perhaps one day I’ll devote a post to barbecue signage in and around Lexington.

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The Barbecue Center is True ‘Cue certified and has the sticker to prove it. I was surprised to see that they also accepted both Apple Pay and Android Pay.

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Sonny Conrad was a barbecue icon who owned the Barbecue Center and was one of the creators of the Barbecue Festival. Every year, he would present the first barbecue sandwich of the festival to the mayor of Lexington. Here are some festival posters throughout the years.

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Sonny Conrad passed away in 2013 and a plaque in his memory is near the register. It is now run by his sons and his entire family works there.

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I got a chopped barbecue sandwich for breakfast and it was fantastic and just as good as I remembered. As you can see, the meat-to-bun ratio is very favorable towards the meat.

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Then, it was onto Lexington Barbecue to pick up that quart of barbecue and side of red slaw we had promised our friends.

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The smokestacks were going full throttle at 10am on a Saturday morning, which is always a good sign.

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I stepped away from the parking lot because I had never taken a photo of the street sign on the way to Lexington Barbecue and snapped this photo on the way out.

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Finally, here’s my photo of Smokehouse Lane. Then, it was onto High Point.

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Until next time, Lexington!

Linkdown: 12/7/16

– J.C. Reid of the Houston Chronicle: “The death of North Carolina barbecue has been greatly exaggerated”

– The Matthews location of Mac’s Speed Shop is set to open just after New Year’s

– Charlotte’s Got A Lot has 19 side dishes to order at Charlotte-area barbecue restaurants in this Charlotte Agenda post

– Buxton Hall Barbecue is of course on Atlanta Magazine’s list of places to go in Asheville

– Asheville also nabs Lonely Planet’s best places to visit in the US in 2017 list, and Buxton Hall gets a mention there as well

The South Slope area is quickly emerging as a gastronomic hotspot. Housed in a former skating rink, Buxton Hall (buxtonhall.com) offers a modern take on traditional barbecue in this throwback space. Enjoy plates of impossibly tender pork with vegetables cooked in the meat drippings, surrounded by the faded images of decades-old skating figures still visible on the walls. It also benefits from an in-house pastry chef who turns out superb sweet treats such as banana pudding pie to finish off a hearty, hog-based meal.

– The Daily Meal has the best sandwich in every state and for NC it is a chopped bbq sandwich from Lexington Barbecue

– Grant had a great sandwich Duke’s Bar-B-Que in Orangeburg, SC and found a solid spot in August, GA in Cleve Edmunds Bar-B-Que

– Does Georgia have the most bbq joints per capita? BBQ Hub explores that claim but finds that based on some quick and dirty spreadsheets Lexington, NC probably has the strongest claim to that title 

– NC joints get a shout out from Daniel Vaughn in this piece

Despite the difference in preferred protein, I think the closest style to Texas barbecue is in North Carolina. They cook primarily pork, but they still value cooking with wood just as much as we do in Texas.

Linkdown: 11/2/16

– This week in “that’s so NC” barbecue: a new barbecue joint called Redneck Barbecue Lab will take over a space that formerly housed a Dairy Queen attached to a BP off I-40 in McGee’s Crossroads

– NY Times’ 13 essential barbecue stops includes Lexington Barbecue

– Speaking of Lexington, the city’s marketing campaign is apparently paying off

– Photos from last week’s 87th Mallard Creek Annual BBQ

– Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew in Austin is expanding but the new location won’t simply be “Stiles Switch 2” according to its owner

– New York Times writer Ethan Hauser: I Hopped a Plane Just for a Barbecue Sandwich. I’d Do It Again.

I can tell you with complete assurance that 532 miles is not too far to travel for a sandwich. That is the distance between my home in Ridgewood, Queens, and theSkylight Inn in Ayden, N.C., where a man in a black apron fills the cutout between the kitchen and the cash register and wields cleavers as if they were weapons from “Game of Thrones,” one in each substantial hand.

Linkdown: 7/20/16

– Stephen Colbert is once again poking the NC barbecue bear

“North Carolina, I love you,” Colbert said, “but I’m sorry that barbecue is not as good as South Carolina.”

– Plan accordingly:

– Grant of Marie, Let’s Eat! visits three Memphis-area barbecue joints: Payne’s Bar-B-Q, Jim Neely’s Interstate Bar-B-Q, and Top’s Bar-B-Q

– Charlotte Five weighs in on 5 joints for good barbecue in Lexington, including Lexington Barbecue, The Barbecue Center, Smiley’s, and Speedy’s

– More Charlotte Five content: Mac’s Speed Shop is on this list of 4 meat-focused eateries with great vegetarian options for diner

– UberEats will be delivering Pecan Lodge to Dallas residents today from 11-2 via drones

– The Pik-N-Pig is a NC barbecue joint located at an airport near Carthage

Linkdown: 6/22/16

– In response to this infamous Eater post last week, Robert Moss reluctantly defends brisket as “barbecue”

Such manifestos are nothing new. Barbecue scribblers have been making inflammatory statements about one regional style or another for as long as we’ve had barbecue scribblers. These days, I imagine, they do wonders for web traffic, but do they do much for the larger cause of barbecue?

– Part 2 of the I-26 guide to SC barbecue

– As part of the deluge of content from Eater’s Barbecue Week, here’s a guide to regional barbecue sauces

– A coarse chopped tray from Lexington #1 and a large whole hog tray from Skylight Inn makes Eater’s 23 Essential Barbecue Dishes in America

– More from Eater: Grady’s Bar-B-Q in Dudley from contributor Robert Donovan

– Available for pre-order now

– The winners from the Blue Ridge Barbecue and Music Festival from earlier in June

– No new information here, but more confirmation about Ed Mitchell’s new barbecue venture in Raleigh’s Brier Creek neighborhood as well as his food truck

– As he moves from Atlanta to Chattanooga, Grant weighs in on the greatness of Georgia barbecue

Linkdown: 5/5/16

– Interesting from Anthony Bourdain, who had previously declared love for both Eastern NC and Kansas City barbecue

Where to find regional styles of barbecue in NYC, including North Carolina-style from Arrogant Swine

– Robert Moss on “early airport barbecue”

The period between 1930 and 1960 saw a great flourishing of barbecue enterprises throughout the South, as one resourceful cook after another threw up a canvas tent or wooden stand and started selling slow-smoked meat wherever they saw potential customers.

– Ed Mitchell is having a pig pickin’ for Raleigh Homeless next Thursday

– Here’s an example 3 day Lexington Barbecue itinerary

– Midwood Smokehouse once again lands on the Voters Choice for Best Barbecue in Charlotte

– Charlotte Magazine profiles the newly opened Seoul Food Meat Co.

Linkdown: 4/19/16

Eastern NC barbecue is coming to Etowah in Western NC from one of the guys behind the Bling Pig Supper Club in Asheville

– Whereas Elliott Moss was the first to bring whole hog barbecue to the area so here’s a profile from Food Republic

– The final stops for Grant on his barbecue tour of (mostly North) Carolina barbecue joints: a Lexington Barbecue redux, Richard’s in Salisbury, and Mike & Jeff’s BBQ Diner in Greenville

– B’s BBQ and Lexington Barbecue make this list of 25 Restaurants You Have To Visit In North Carolina Before You Die

– The BBQ on the Bluff competition is this weekend in Fair Bluff, NC

– Would NC uniting under a mustard-based barbecue sauce lead to the immediate repeal of HB#2? Charlotte Magazine thinks so in this tongue-in-cheek article

– Some are even getting their own Heinz barbecue sauce…

Linkdown: 2/3/16

– The New York Post: “Carolina barbecue is the best barbecue”

North Carolina is where you go to get the best barbecue in our defiantly local, my-barbecue-is-the-best-barbecue-of-all land of ours. You prefer Texas, or Kansas City, or Memphis? You are entitled. And I will not throw you out of my house if you bring any of them over. But Carolina barbecue is the best barbecue.

– Speaking of NC barbecue, there’s now an app for that courtesy of Our State Magazine

– Missed this from December, but Travel  Addicts made a barbecue pilgrimage to Lexington #1

– From Garden & Gun Magazine:

– The Ballantyne location of Queen City Q is now open for dinner

– Speaking of Queen City Q, managing partner Bryan Meredith, was a guest on Charlotte Talks to discuss the local craft beer scene and why Queen City Q is boycotting Anheuser Busch InBev

– Grant of Marie, Let’s Eat! visits Saucehouse Barbecue in Athens, GA, the newest barbecue restaurant to open in town

– Kathleen Purvis from The Charlotte Observer and William Porter of The Denver Post swap notes on the cuisines of the respective cities, including barbecue

– Also, the editors from those two papers have made a beer and bison or barbecue bet on the big game

-The insurance commissioners from each state have made a similar bet as well

“If we lose, we’ll treat you to the No. 1 India pale ale in America (NoDa Brewing’s ‘Hop, Drop ’n Roll’), brewed right here.” She also agreed to send barbecue if Denver wins the Super Bowl.

– Midwood Smokehouse has a Big Game Smoker package if you don’t want to  smoke your own barbecue this Super Bowl

Linkdown: 4/29/15

Et tu, Scott Avett?

Where is your favorite place in North Carolina? And where is your favorite place to eat North Carolina ‘cue?
Scott Avett: We travel so much, but North Carolina is a great place to come home to. It’s all terrific from the mountains to the coast. I was raised on Lexington barbecue, but I would have to say Skylight Inn in Eastern N.C. is the best on the planet after the experience I had a few weeks ago.

– Queen City Q will be serving their barbecue at the upcoming Wells Fargo Championship

– USA Today’s 10Best has a reader’s choice vote for best southern barbecue; vote once per day here until May 25 although they left off some crucial ones

– A barbecue round table on the state of American barbecue with several prominent barbecue writers and minds

– Elon University’s student paper review Stokely’s BBQ in Burlington

– The last Memphis-area barbecue joint for Marie, Let’s Eat! is Germantown Commissary

– One man’s thoughts on barbecue snobbery

In conclusion, let’s just all agree to eat more barbecue. Tell the barbecue snobs to take a hike and chill out. You can compete against someone if you enjoy that kind of thing. It won’t bother me (as long as I get to eat some of it). In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the kind of barbecue sauce I like and you can enjoy the kind of barbecue sauce you like — mustard, mayonnaise, tomato — it makes no difference to me. Everyone will be happy, and as John Steinbeck once wrote, “Once again the world was spinning in greased grooves.”

– At Midway BBQ in Buffalo, SC (south east of Spartanburg), Amy and Jay Allen are keeping the barbecue tradition of her father alive and hash is the best seller on the menu

– Brisket prices are headed back down

– A burger chain that was owned by the same restaurant group as Midwood Smokehouse was sold yesterday but in other news a Columbia, SC location is coming!

Owner Frank Scibelli and his team will now focus on new concepts and growing Midwood Smokehouse, which will expand to Columbia, S.C., where they’re currently working out a lease. And there’s no need to worry Midwood Smokehouse will be sold anytime soon, he says. For the near future, at least, it will stay a Charlotte restaurant.

– For those that will be in Asheville this weekend

Linkdown: 9/10/14

– The 20 most ridiculous NFL stadium foods includes the Hogmolly from Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers (though technically Charlotte is not “in the heart of whole hog country”)

The Hogmolly, created for Panthers GM Dave Gettleman and inspired by his nickname for “linemen of girth.” Sliced smoked brisket, tomato BBQ sauce, fried onions, pickled jalapeno, and cole slaw. It’s called a Hogmolly, so why isn’t there pork? And why are they featuring brisket in the heart of whole hog country? So many questions.

– The 85th Mallard Creek Barbecue Festival and the Q City Barbecue Championship make Creative Loafing’s 5 food events not to miss this fall

– The East-West Barbecue Fest was held in downtown Greensboro last weekend

A short profile on Lexington, NC barbecue and five of its 17 or so barbecue joints

– The latest Smoked column on eater takes a look at Black’s Barbecue; here’s our review (along with Kreuz Market) if you are so inclined

– Speaking of Black’s, their soon-to-be-opened Austin location is hiring

– Marie, Let’s Eat! visits Chuck’s Barbecue in Opelika and Price’s Barbecue House in Auburn during a recent trip to Alabama

– Big Wayner checks out Ubon’s Bar-B-Que and Catering in Yazoo City, Mississippi

– Thanks for the shout out, Barbecue Rankings!

– This awesome 12″ x 18″ print made in South Carolina is on sale from Huckberry (sans frame); if you aren’t a member feel free to join using this link and get $5 credit