Smiley’s Lexington BBQ – Lexington, NC

Name: Smiley’s Lexington BBQ
Date: 10/1/20
Address: 917 Winston Rd, Lexington, NC 27295
Order: Chopped barbecue sandwich with hush puppies and a Cheerwine (link to menu)
Pricing: $

Monk: Smiley’s Lexington BBQ was an early stop on our barbecue journey, about 5 months into the blog and back when our photos were extremely filtered photos from Instagram. However, both Speedy and I really liked the barbecue and ranked Smiley’s as 4 hogs at the time. As I have been working my way through the Lexington barbecue restaurants for my own rankings, it was almost certainly worth a revisit 8 years later. 

Then, word came a little over a year ago that Highway 8 which Smiley’s and Speedy’s both sit on was slated to be widened by the NC DOT and they both would be among the casualties lost (John Tanner certainly had some thoughts). The initial timing I had heard was summer 2020 but with the pandemic throwing a wrinkle in many things, it seems as if Smiley’s has received a temporary stay of execution. I hope it ends up being more permanent but regardless I wanted to make one more stop while I still could.

And I’m so glad I did, because Smiley’s provided an excellent late morning breakfast in my chopped sandwich, hush puppies, and a Cheerwine. The chopped barbecue was fresh, smoky, and topped with a tangy, crunchy red slaw. Just perfectly executed Lexington-style barbecue, with my only complaint was that the sandwich fell apart a bit easily and made for a quick and messy eating experience.

The basket of hush puppies was piping hot and my only regret was that I only had a couple of them and left more than half to waste. I wish that I could have somehow gifted these to someone without making it weird.

As I paid my bill, I asked the waitress if there was any update on the highway widening and she nodded her head side to side, saying that they hadn’t heard anything recently. “We’re just living day to day.”

Make it a point to get to Smiley’s Lexington BBQ while you can.

For more on Smiley’s Lexington BBQ:
BBQ Jew
Marie, Let’s Eat
John Tanner’s Barbecue Blog

Ratings: 
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 4 hogs
Pork – 5 hogs
Sides – 5 hogs 
Overall – 5 hogs

Smiley's Lexington BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Linkdown: 4/13/16

– Grant continues his barbecue tour of the NC Piedmont (that neither Speedy nor Monk were unable to join him on any part of, sadly): Smiley’s in Lexington, Fuzzy’s in Madison, Stamey’s in Greensboro, and Little Richard’s in Winston-Salem

– On his book blog, Grant also reviews a new barbecue book, “The One True Barbecue” by Rien Fertels, who along with photographer Denny Culbert was behind The Barbecue Bus

– The book is also included in this rundown along with John Shelton Reed’s upcoming book Barbecue

– Robert Moss posits that wood v gas is perhaps the wrong question when it comes to barbecue

– Shots fired from Alton Brown at unnamed southern barbecue restaurants

“It’s funny with barbecue, because the most beloved barbecue places in the South, by and large, serve the shittiest barbecue. I will stand by that. Places that people will drive hours to get to, barbecue’s not that great, but it’s still there. It’s been there. My mom brought me here. My grandparents are from here.?

– In case you were wondering what “Cleveland-style barbecue” was again…

You’re calling the food at Mabel’s “Cleveland-style barbecue.” What does that mean, exactly?
We’re inspired more by Eastern Europe than the South in our flavor profile. Cleveland is a big Eastern European melting pot, so I wanted to offer a menu that reflected the cuisine. For instance, instead of hot links, we serve kielbasa. Our spice blends, our sides… they’re very reminiscent of what you’d find in Cleveland, like smoked beets with horseradish, sauerkraut and Cleveland brown mustard. We’re also smoking with apple and cherry woods, which are native to the region.