North Carolina BBQ

North Carolina Barbecue

Ever wonder what makes North Carolina so special? If you ask us, most will mention the mouthwatering BBQ. I know what your thinking… BBQ is BBQ. Well, don’t let a North Carolinian hear you say that. North Carolina not only prides itself on the stuff but locals will worship their local BBQ joint like it’s their church. Are you trying to figure out what makes it so different? Let’s have a lesson in our brand of “Q“.

Carolina Pork BBQ

First thing to know is true Carolina BBQ is always pork. It was in the beginning and it still is today. While there is the usual fight of East and West, pork remains the staple of BBQ here. The east prefers to use the whole hog ,dark and white meats, while the west goes for the moister parts of the pork shoulder which is dark meat and fattier. The sauces are different too. The west which is also known as Lexington style is made with ketchup as well as a list of other ingredients including salt ,pepper, brown sugar ,vinegar, and of course ketchup.

This historic North Carolina Barbecue Trail takes barbecue fans across North Carolina to some of the best BBQ joints. These pitmasters keep the traditional craft alive by using only charcoal or wood to fuel their pits, making their own sauce, and being in the barbecue business for more than 15 years.

Eastern style sauce is a vinegar based sauce (no ketchup) which makes it a bit acidic. People definitely have their preferences, and you never want to stand between them. While you can argue over the best ways to cook them (hickory chips, coal grills or even gas), the final judge of what makes it good is when it hits your tongue and explodes with the flavor infused through the slow cooking process. If your mouth is calling for a treat and you want to explore, it’s time to highlight a few of the great ones.

Lexington NC Barbecue

No matter where you go in North Carolina, BBQ is everywhere. You are probably only minutes from bliss at any given moment. If western is your style then there is no better place to go than the Lexington (Greensboro) area . Stamey’s, which is across from the Greensboro Civic Center, is the place best known in Lexington. It is the BBQ others wish to be. Every sandwich ,every bite is very consistent. Oh, and in North Carolina a sandwich always comes with “slaw” on it. It really makes the meat bite! If you want a bit of a smokier “Q”, then Lexington Barbecue is the place for you. You should order the “outside brown” for a special treat. It’s the skin and fat left on the shoulder during the nine to twelve hour cooking process which becomes a deep reddish- brown color and has a chewy, but deeply spiced infused taste. It will taste like a barbeque smells!

Salisbury NC Barbecue

Salisbury NC is another great location for BBQ. Richard’s BBQ 522 N. Main St. is a great example of eastern style. While it is chopped a bit bigger than the rest, it is not coarse, and is a perfect compliment of spices to the vinegar based sauce with red peppers and other spices. Bill’s Spoon’s BBQ 5524 South Boulevard, Charlotte, is a great choice. It has a very zingy vinegar based sauce and the cole slaw is not so tangy that it steals the spotlight.

There are so many you shouldn’t miss; eastern or western style. I better just list some around the state so you don’t miss them:

  • Smiley’s Lexington BBQ – Lexington
  • Skylight Inn – Ayden
  • Pig’N Out – Winston – Salem
  • BBQ and Ribs Co. – Burlington
  • Whispering Pines – Albemarle

So what we have really learned is that North Carolina loves their BBQ, that you are never more than a stones throw away from any BBQ joint, and that on a trip to anywhere in this state, BBQ is a must!


Day Trip to Wilmington

Old Salem, Winston-Salem NC


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