Linkdown: 8/31/22

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Monk: Our prolific friend of the blog John Tanner has been at it again making the rounds in eastern NC recently, so let’s follow along in envy to some of the better places from his recent trip.

Wilber’s BBQ in Goldsboro has been back for a couple of years now but in his first dining room meal in some years, John and co. are wowed

Martelle’s Feed House is a restaurant with a buffet that includes great ribs and fantastic barbecue, located in the tiny town of Englehard (pop. 155), a (according to Wikipedia) “fishing community in Lake Landing Township on the mainland of Hyde County, North Carolina” near the Pimlico Sound

John also tried out Old Colony Smokehouse in Edenton, “a fine addition to eastern North Carolina” where they hold onto old traditions but also incorporate new trends

John passes on the buffet at Captain Bob’s Restaurant and Catering in Hertford for a pork plate but immediately regrets that decision

One of the highlights of his trip was a visit to Sid’s Catering in Beaulaville, a small town in southeast North Carolina

Non-Native News

Things are looking dicey for turkeys this Thanksgiving; this is from Heim BBQ

The BBQuest Eater Heat Map

Dispatches from the Tales from the Pits BBQ + Bourbon road trip

Linkdown: 7/20/22

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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:

“The hard lines that used to exist, that barbecue was either this or it’s not barbecue — that’s over. It used to be, for people in North Carolina, it was either whole hog, or it ain’t (expletive). For 10 million Texans, it’s brisket. As times go on and we’re so much more transient as a society, those lines are blurred.”

Sam Jones

Read more at the link:

Native News

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?

A behind-the-scenes follow-up to Jeremy Markovich’s story on B’s Barbecue in Our State Magazine from 2016

Non-Native News

A couple of recent stories where Adrian Miller was interviewed:

Little Pigs BBQ is on this Eater essential restaurants list for Myrtle Beach

Feges BBQ hosted Premier League champions (ugh) Man City on their pre-season US tour

Barbecue sauce beer? Barbecue sauce beer.

The Lexington Barbecue Rankings: June 2022 Update

Monk: I first posted the Lexington Big Board two years ago in June 2020 in the early months of the pandemic and have maintained it ever since but it was only in recent months that we’ve had some actual movement in the rankings. And unfortunately it was due to closures.

As a result of the NC Department of Transportation widening of Highway 8, Smiley’s Barbecue has officially closed as of February 2022 but I did get to check them out one last time in October 2020. They will surely be missed. Speedy’s appears to be open for the time being but their days are numbered as a result of the same project. And, in a shock Facebook post at the end of April, Rick’s Smokehouse (previously my overall Lexington #3) closed. Currently they are listed on Facebook as “temporarily closed” but I’ve seen no indications that they will reopen, despite numerous pleas from comments on Facebook.

That leaves us with 13 open restaurants by my count, which I continue to divide into three tiers. I did try Lexington Trimmings after the publish of the initial list but they slotted into the third tier. Blazin’ BBQ and Kickin’ Chicken was another on my list but they closed in October 2020 after only 4 months open

With that out of the way, the current Lexington Big Board

Tier 1

No movement at the very top with the ever-reliable Lexington Barbecue and Bar-B-Q Center maintaining spots 1 and 2 (really 1 and 1a). Speedy’s is worth one last visit before they close.

Tier 2

Any of these would be worth a revisit, as I believe they all continue to smoke over wood coals.

Tier 3

Lexington Style Trimmings looked the part of a Lexington joint but the barbecue was a letdown.

Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments or email us at barbecuebros@gmail.com.

Friday Find: Full-Time Eater Mark Wiens Explores Lexington-style Barbecue

Monk: You may recall Mark Wiens from his whole hog journey in eastern North Carolina I featured a couple months back. He’s back, and featuring Lexington-style barbecue. While he hit up 5 whole hog joints in his eastern NC video, he focuses on just two restaurants here: Lexington Barbecue and Stamey’s Barbecue in Greensboro. While I’m of course always happy to see Lexington Barbecue featured, I like that Mark also visited Stamey’s and met with fourth generation owner/operator Craver Stamey and many of the Vietnamese pitmasters and kitchen staff who have worked for Stamey’ for years.

Description: LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA – There are two main styles of North Carolina BBQ, the whole hog and vinegar based sauce in Eastern North Carolina (watch the full video here: https://youtu.be/3u3KJOqrZsQ) and the pork shoulder bbq with ketchup based sauce in Lexington, North Carolina. Today we’re going to eat, learn about, and fully experience Lexington style North Carolina BBQ!

Lexington Barbecue (https://goo.gl/maps/WN8DFKw7UDJ6Qiaf6) – Right in the heart of Lexington, North Carolina, Lexington Barbecue is known to be one of the best places for bbq in North Carolina. They slow smoke pork shoulders using a time proven process. The pork is ready, it’s chopped, mixed with sauce, and you can specify the different chopped coarseness you prefer. Along with outstanding pork barbecue, you have to order the hush puppies, which are little deep fried corn fritters that go perfectly with any bbq meal.

Stamey’s Barbecue (https://goo.gl/maps/4uzT92ErRGEip6PM7) – Next up on this tour of Western North Carolina bbq, we drove over to Greensboro, North Carolina to eat at Stamey’s Barbecue, again one of the most renowned bbq institutions in North Carolina. Their recipe is similar and again they make use of pork shoulders. Pork was fantastic, so tender and smoky with a depth of flavor and all the sides were incredibly tasty. It was another day of delicious food in North Carolina and experiencing the incredible barbecue culture of the Carolinas.