Introducing: The Lexington Big Board

Monk: Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that I quietly posted my Lexington rankings a few months back through the top navigation bar. Before the pandemic hit, it was my pet project to hit all of the current Lexington-area barbecue restaurants for my definitive* Lexington rankings. I’ve been a longtime fan of Lexington Barbecue and in recent years, The Barbecue Center. But as the self-proclaimed “Barbecue Capital of the World” (one of many cities claiming that title, it should be noted) boasting at times one barbecue restaurant per 1,000 restaurants (though this is not currently the case), I needed to explore the others to understand the quality and depth of the other restaurants.

I’ve broken the 14 restaurants I’ve reviewed thus far into three tiers. Someday I will get to the curiously named Lexington Trimmings for completeness sake but in the meantime, here is the most definitive list of Lexington-area barbecue restaurants on the internet*. Ladies and gentlemen, the Lexington Big Board.

*one man’s opinion
**that I know of

Tier 1

  1. Lexington Barbecue
  2. Bar-B-Q Center
  3. Rick’s Smokehouse
  4. Speedy’s Barbecue
  5. Smiley’s Lexington Barbecue
  6. Backcountry Barbeque

I need to revisit both Smiley’s and Speedy’s asap, as they may no longer be in business for too much longer as a result of the NC Department of Transportation widening Highway 8 that they both sit on. Also, both were reviewed very early in this blog’s life and while I really enjoyed both, I’ve had a lot of barbecue since.

Tier 2

  1. Speedy Lohr’s Barbecue
  2. Smokey Joe’s Barbecue
  3. Tarheel Q
  4. Cook’s Barbecue
  5. Arcadia Q

To my knowledge, all of these places smoke over wood with no gas or electricity but are just a notch below the best of the best in Lexington.

Tier 3

  1. Stamey’s Barbecue of Tyro
  2. Kerley’s Barbecue
  3. Randy’s Restaurant

Of the bottom tier, Kerley’s and Randy’s don’t smoke over wood and it shows in the actual barbecue.

Still to try

Lexington Trimmings

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

Linkdown: 4/22/20

Congrats to Midwood Smokehouse on their Charlotte Magazine Best of the Best Voter’s Choice Award for “Best BBQ”; Sweet Lew’s BBQ was the runner up

Another mail order barbecue list, from Robert Moss in Southern Living

Congrats to AmazingRibs.com on turning 15

Noble Smoke is now delivering in Charlotte

The folks behind Hubba Hubba Smokehouse opened up a “neighborhood bar and grill” called Campfire Grill that has Hubba Hubba barbecue on the takeout menu and plenty of live fire cooking

Evan LeRoy of LeRoy and Lewis argues that “barbecue is the perfect pandemic food” because you can “[o]rder extra and cook it all week.”

Peg Leg Porker reopens on May 1 for curbside to go and delivery

Happy belated birthday to Tootsie!

Friday Find: Adventures of A+K Explore Eastern vs. Western (Lexington) style

Monk: YouTube Vloggers Andrew and Kathryn, also known as The Adventures of A+K, live in a sprinter van, and document their adventures on the road. They are both Texas natives but recently made a trip across North Carolina to try our two types of barbecue – eastern and western/Lexington-style – at our two most famous barbecue restaurants: Skylight Inn in Ayden and and Lexington Barbecue in Lexington. They are both novices to North Carolina barbecue and lacked some of the proper barbecue vocabulary to describe the food (not to mention they didn’t mix the slaw with the barbecue!) but were very much open to it and, in the end, both preferred one style over the other (no spoilers).

Description:
A couple months ago we heard about the North Carolina BBQ Trail, which is a route across the state of North Carolina with 21 BBQ stops. We love BBQ, so we knew we had to try it! North Carolina has two styles of BBQ: Eastern Style and Western/Lexington Style. In this vlog we road tripped 3 hours across the state of North Carolina to try one spot for each style!


STOPS
Skylight Inn BBQ (Ayden): https://www.yelp.com/biz/skylight-inn…
Jubala Coffee (Raleigh): https://www.yelp.com/biz/jubala-villa…
Lexington BBQ (Lexington): https://goo.gl/maps/JZUpkmd6tinpjAvy5

Backcountry Barbeque – Lexington, NC

Name: Backcountry Barbeque
Address: 4014 Linwood-Southmont Rd, Lexington, NC 27295
Order: Chopped barbecue tray with red slaw, hush puppies, and Cheerwine
Pricing: $

Monk: In my recent quest to get a better idea of all Lexington-area barbecue joints, I made a late-afternoon stop at Backcountry Barbeque last month on my way back to Charlotte from Knightdale for the Prime BBQ preview.

Before this quest, I had never really heard of Backcountry Barbeque but the best case scenario for a new-to-me joint is 1) they still cook over wood and 2) they’ve been quietly doing their thing and the only reason why I haven’t heard of them is because I haven’t been digging hard enough. Rick’s Smokehouse on the north side of Lexington is one recent example of that best case scenario and as it turns out Backcountry Barbeque south of the city is another. They have a giant barn full of hickory wood out back so they definitely smoke the old way and they opened in 1984, just a few years shy of four decades ago.

For me, the true test of a good Lexington barbecue joint (or any good joint, for that matter) is to never put out a bad tray of barbecue no matter the time of day. If you say you are open until 9pm (as Backcountry does) and you have barbecue on the menu, then it better be up to par at all times of the day. On this day, I stopped by in the bridge time between the late lunch crowd but before the dinner rush and the tray I got was flavorful and moist, with a noticeable smoke taste from the hickory. No reheated or overly dry barbecue here.

Not too much to say about the red slaw and hush puppies, but they were solid and did the trick. On Saturdays it appears that brisket is on special, but I didn’t have the heart or stomach to try it, for fear of ruining a good thing.

Backcountry Barbeque looks and fits the part of a classic, wood-smoked North Carolina roadside barbecue joint and it’s a wonder why more people don’t know about them. Based on my experience, they are in the upper tier of Lexington-area barbecue joints and probably don’t get the respect they rightly deserve.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 4 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs

Backcountry Barbecue Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato