Name: Sam Jones BBQ Date: 10/16/21 Address: 502 W Lenoir St, Raleigh, NC 27601 Order: Jones Family Original BBQ Tray (link to menu) Pricing: $$
Monk: Long time readers know that Skylight Inn in Ayden, NC has been on my to-do list for years and sadly it still remains on my to-do list in 2021. Regardless of the fact that I am not in that part of NC pretty much ever, I’ve thankfully been able to try the Jones family barbecue a couple of times in Charlotte over the years. The first time was at Midwood Smokehouse in 2013 when Sam Jones smoked a hog for a Midwood Smokehouse Sunday Supper even that also included an airing of the SFA documentary on Skylight Inn. The second time was at Free Range Brewing Pig Picking in 2017 that doubled as a viewing party for his Order/Fire documentary. Both times, the whole hog was life changing.
Since then, Sam Jones opened his first namesake restaurant in Winterville before opening a second location in Raleigh late last year. It was to be part of Raleigh’s supposed barbecue boom that was short-circuited by the pandemic. Thankfully Sam Jones BBQ persevered along with Prime Barbecue, Longleaf Swine, and Lawrence Barbecue.
After visiting the NC State campus with Lady Monk and the Monkettes, we made the short trip downtown to Lenoir Street. Though the lot for the restaurant is not very big, we found street parking right in front of the restaurant fairly easily. We waited in a short line and ordered at the front and not before too long a Jones Family Original BBQ Tray was placed in front of me.
Which I quickly turned into this to mimic what they do at Skylight Inn:
By now, everyone knows about the legendary whole hog with crispy bits of skin chopped in the way that the Jones family does it. The pork at Sam Jones BBQ in Raleigh lives up to that standard, although the skin could have been just a tad crispier. Just a minor nitpick in otherwise flawless whole hog barbecue.
Going in, I had wondered most about the corn bread. Theirs is a denser, non-sweet version that likely won’t ever be my favorite version of cornmeal served with barbecue. However, I can respect that its serving a different purpose than the sweeter corn meal in the hush puppies I’m used to in the Piedmont.
The mayo-based coleslaw was sweet and paired nicely with the cue and some Texas Pete.
It’s looking like 2022 will be the year I am able to finally make my pilgrimage to Ayden and I’ll likely stop by the original Sam Jones BBQ in nearby Winterville as well. Sam Jones BBQ’s outpost in Raleigh only made me anticipate that upcoming trip even more.
As a result of the latest rounds of conference alignment, the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) will be joining the University of Memphis in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) as a part of a massive expansion with 5 other schools that will expand the conference to 14 teams. Of course, this is just the latest domino to fall after Texas and Oklahoma announced its move to the SEC which led to Cincinnati, Central Florida, and Houston leaving the AAC to join the Big 12.
Regardless of all that, clearly the main takeaway here is that The Battle for the Bones is back, baby! Or kind of…there might be a chance that the original trophy (which reportedly weighs almost a 100 pounds) is lost somehow? That appears to be the rumor according to some tweets I’ve seen on the internet. Surely the internet wouldn’t lead me astray, would it?
Regardless, let’s either find that ribs trophy or create a near-facsimile and get this rivalry back on track. AAC fever, baby!
A lucky reporter is going to get to experience some Peachland Saturdays at Jon G’s
Name: Williamson’s Bar-B-Que & Seafood Date: 9/26/21 Address: 1011 N Brown St, Chadbourn, NC 28431 Order: From the buffet: pork, hush puppies, cole slaw, mac and cheese, banana pudding (link to menu) Pricing: $
Monk: Heading back from the beach on a Sunday, there’s usually just a few options for barbecue. Williamson’s Bar-B-Que & Seafood in Chadbourn is one of them, and a buffet at that. A barbecue buffet (usually including seafood) is a phenomenon I’ve encountered almost exclusively in the sandhills of eastern North Carolina, and I’ve previously checked out Fuller’s in Lumberton (now closed) and Pembroke.
Williamson’s is a small roadside shack off state road 410 near Highway 76 in Chadbourn that has both a dining room and a drive through. If you are dining in, you pay for you buffet at the cash register before grabbing your plate and going through the buffet line with options ranging from barbecue to various fried fish options.
I stuck with typical barbecue fare with their eastern style pork, cole slaw, mac and cheese, and hush puppies. Nothing wowed me but all were solid except for the hush puppies, which were fantastic.
I went back to the dessert bar before I left and grabbed some of their amazing banana pudding, the highlight of the meal.
Williamson’s Bar-B-Que & Seafood does a passable version of eastern NC barbecue but much like Joe’s Old Fashioned Barbecue from earlier on my trip, it was all tang and no smoke.