Name: Lexington #1 Barbecue
Address: 100 Smokehouse Lane, Lexington NC 27295 (link to menu)
Order: 2 large chop trays, 1 chopped plate, 1 chopped sandwich, side of hushpuppies, 4 Cheerwines
Price: $50 (for 4)
Rudy: Ahhh, reunited and it feels so good. The whole Rudy clan made a summer pilgrimage to North Carolina and got to enjoy some barbecue with Speedy and Monk. Seeing y’all was fine and everything, but being reunited with great Lexington Barbecue was really the best part.
I feel like there was a bit of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ aspect to NC style barbecue. I’d been eating brisket, sausage, and ribs for so long, that I had forgotten about how great a plate of chopped pork can be.
Speedy: And what better place to reunite than consensus Barbecue Bros favorite, Lexington Barbecue aka Lexington #1 aka Monk’s Place aka Honeymonk’s aka heaven. Some of you may be thinking, “Speedy – how can this be the Bros’ favorite when you haven’t been there in the two plus years you’ve had the blog?” Well, loyal readers, the reality of it is that rarely does a month pass by when I don’t figure out a way to get my hands on some of this delicious chopped pork, but we had to have all the Bros reunited for this review.
Monk: That’s true – I can attest that Speedy brings home a pint of chopped pork from Lexington Barbecue regularly (I am usually a beneficiary of such a trip). Even though Speedy and I live but an hour away from Lexington we knew that for the official review we needed to wait until Rudy was back in North Carolina. And yes, it somehow took over two years for us to arrange to all be in Lexington at the same time. When it comes to a plate of chopped pork, Lexington Barbecue is our gold standard.
Rudy: Absolutely it is. There is so much flavor to the pork. It is tender and moist. The thing I liked most about it was that it already came sauced, so it had plenty of flavor and didn’t force you to try and figure out how much you needed to put on it. It is obvious from the flavor (and from the smell outside) that they are using real wood pits as opposed to gas or electric smokers to cook. This makes a tremendous amount of difference in the flavor. I was all ready to put Texas brisket above North Carolina Pork, but Lexington #1 is giving me lots to think about.
Speedy: I couldn’t agree more, Rudy. The pork is absolutely perfect. It’s not smoked by man – it’s smoked by God through man. There’s no other way to put it. It has the perfect amount of bark mixed in with the smoky, savory pork. It’s all shoulder, so there is consistency from bite to bite (which you don’t always get with whole hog), and it’s just damn good. Lexington does keep a spicy dip and Texas Pete on the table, which can be added for a little heat, but it’s certainly not necessary. The tang, the hint of sweetness, the tenderness – it could not be any better. And probably my favorite thing about Lexington barbecue is the consistency. These guys have been doing their thing for 50+ years, and it shows. I’ve never had a single bite of chopped pork there that wasn’t absolutely divine, and this trip was no different.
Monk: The barbecue slaw at Lexington is what Speedy and I always compare slaw to when we go to a NC joint. It is a perfect mix of tangy and crunchy. The hush puppies are darn near perfect, and to top it off, we each ordered a Cheerwine with our meal. Rudy, how good was it to have a Cheerwine with barbecue once again?
Rudy: Don’t even get me started on how great it was. Texas has a red soda too, called Big Red, and it is terrible. People say it tastes like a red creme soda or even bubble gum, but either way I say it is not good. When you have Cheerwine and sweet tea (also rarely served in Texas) on the menu, I’m going to give you a big bump in rating. That and being able to walk around back and see the wood burning into the smokers were the coolest parts of Lexington #1’s atmosphere. Other than that it seems like a basic barbecue joint. So if there is going to be any knock on Lexington #1, it would be the atmosphere. That’s not really the most important part of a restaurant, the food is, and they nailed the food.
Speedy: We went in expecting this to be a slam dunk 5 hog experience, but we’ve been disappointed before. Not this time. The meal at Lexington #1 was absolutely perfect. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – if you want barbecue, be it eastern, western, Lexington, Memphis or Texas, this is the gold standard, top of the mart meal. Everything else is just trying to play catch-up.
Atmosphere – 4 hogs
Pork – 5 hogs
Sides – 5 hogs
Overall – 5 hogs