Name: Stamey’s Barbecue Date: 11/25/22 Address: 2206 High Point Road, Greensboro, NC 27403 Order: Chopped pork plate (extra brown) with red slaw, hush puppies, and Cheerwine (link to menu) Pricing: $
Monk: While I had in recent years visited Stamey’s Barbecue in Greensboro via the drive-thru, it’s hard to believe that the last in-restaurant visit took place way back in 2013. That’s unacceptable, and I will make it a point to visit more often going forward. Especially, after my most recent meal for a crowded lunch the Friday after Thanksgiving where lots of other families had a similar idea.
I might be surprised that my order this time was the exact same as in 2013 – a chopped plate with extra brown and a Cheerwine – but really that’s the order I would suggest to anyone else so I probably shouldn’t be all that surprised. And while I didn’t order the Brunswick stew that Rudy highly recommends, I did at least get it last time.
The chopped pork was delicious and smoky as I would have expected, but it was nice to get confirmation. The hush puppies were fresh and a perfectly golden color. The red slaw provided the necessary crunch an contrast. It’s beauty is in its simplicity. Throw in the requisite Cheerwine and its a five hog meal, no doubt.
Leaving after lunch, the smokehouse was pumping out barbecue smoke tinged with the fat of the pork dropping onto the wood coals that wafted into the surrounding industrial area and Greensboro Coliseum complex. A simple but extremely effective form of advertising.
If someone you missed the smoke, the giant woodpile taking up multiple parking spots was another tipoff. Staff smartly bypassed the metal wood racks and just piled directly onto the asphalt.
After 92 years, Stamey’s Barbecue continues to pump out destination-worthy barbecue. Make it a point to stop in next time you’re in the area – I plan to.
In the spirit of the pioneers and innovators of our favorite style of barbecue, the Barbecue Bros are pleased to make available our first t-shirt featuring those men in the classic Helvetica list style. We hope that Lexington-style barbecue fans will purchase and wear this acknowledgement of history proudly. The shirts are $24.99 and ship for free if you have an Amazon Prime account.
Lightweight, Classic fit, Double-needle sleeve and bottom hem
Available in Men’s, Women, and Child sizes S-3XL
Solid colors: 100% Cotton; Heather Grey: 90% Cotton, 10% Polyester; All Other Heathers: 50% Cotton, 50% Polyester
In 1919, Sid Weaver set up a tent across the street from the Lexington courthouse and began selling what would later become “Lexington-style” barbecue. He was the first man to sell this style of barbecue.
Weaver later teamed up with Jess Swicegood and those two men perfected Lexington-style barbecue and helped spread the technique across the Piedmont of North Carolina. Lexington-style means pork shoulders are smoked as opposed to whole hogs because shoulders are fattier and more forgiving than the leaner hams and loins found in a whole hog and yield more barbecue. They took the vinegar-pepper sauce of the eastern part of the state and added ketchup to provide sweetness to balance it out while maintaining the tang of the vinegar.
In 1927, Warner Stamey began working under Weaver and Swicegood while in high school, and for me this is where things began to pick up. After a few years under the tutelage of Weaver and Swicegood, Stamey moved 100 miles southwest to Shelby, NC. There, he taught the Lexington-style technique to his brother-in-law Alston Bridges as well as Red Bridges (oddly enough, not related). They, of course, opened their own respective restaurants in 1956 and 1946 respectively, both of which still exist today.
Stamey moved back to Lexington in 1938 and bought Swicegood’s restaurant for $300. It was there that he taught the legendary barbecue man Wayne Monk, who went on to open Lexington Barbecue (aka “The Honeymonk”) in 1962, which just so happens to be the Barbecue Bros’ collective favorite barbecue restaurant ever. Stamey would of course go on to open Stamey’s Barbecue in Greensboro, where his grandson Chip Stamey still owns and operates to this day. Warner Stamey is also widely credited with bringing hush puppies to barbecue restaurants.
Many cities claim to be barbecue capitals (Ayden, Lockhart, Austin, Murphysboro, Owensboro, etc) but how many can claim to have barbecue pits attached to its City Hall. For Lexington that’s exactly the case, as barbecue pits were uncovered earlier this year during renovations to City Hall. Sarah Delia of WFAE in Charlotte weaves barbecue, government, and history all into a fantastic report for the Gravy podcast.
The pits belonged to Beck’s Barbecue, an important branch in the Lexington barbecue tree. Alton Beck originally bought the pits from Sid Weaver, a founding father of Lexington-style barbecue and believed to be the first man to make a living off barbecue in the city. Beck was also friends and neighbors with Warner Stamey, who introduced hush puppies to barbecue. Warner’s son Charles (whose son Chip now runs Stamey’s in Greensboro) recalls going to Beck’s as a kid in an interview in the podcast.
The city of Lexington is moving forward with preserving the pits and incorporating them into the design of their new office space with the help of an architecture firm from Charlotte, Shook Kelley. Which I am happy to see, because NC has a trend of moving away from its history (see: the number of gas burning barbecue restaurants, even in Lexington). As John Shelton Reed (co-author of Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue and co-founder of True Cue) notes in the podcast, “I’m not actually sure we [North Carolinians] are all that interested in the history of it…we are [mostly] interested in the food.” Thankfully, in this case North Carolina is taking an important step in not only preserving but also showcasing its barbecue heritage. Hopefully its the start of a trend in the right direction.
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