A large part of North Carolina's history centers around barbecue and pork. The East and West were developed over hundreds of years in North Carolina. Different styles are characterized by different cuts of pork, preparation methods, and sauces. In the Lexington style or Piedmont style, only the pork shoulder is slow-cooked and pulled, and the barbecue sauce includes ketchup, vinegar, pepper, and various spices. Whole hogs are cooked low and slow, chopped, and topped with a vinegar and pepper sauce without any ketchup.
1. Skylight Inn, Ayden, North Carolina
East North Carolina's barbecue roots run deep. Throughout the Triangle region, whole hogs are smoked over an open fire, the white and dark meat chunked and enrobed in a white vinegar sauce season with just salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. It's the granddaddy of the barbecue restaurants in the area. The family-run place serves amazing whole-hog plates with crisp skin and tender, juicy meat for two centuries. You can also get a chopped pork sandwich with cornbread and coleslaw.
With a James Beard "America's Classics" Award under its belt, the restaurant has more than earned its reputation.
Location: 4618 Lee St, Ayden, NC 28513, United States
Phone: +1 252-746-4113
Store Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-7pm
2. Allen & Son Bar-B-Q, Pittsboro, North Carolina
In North Carolina, there's so much great barbecue that you can't pick a favorite. Allen & Son near Chapel Hill is the place to go because it blends Piedmont and Eastern barbecue - pork shoulders cooked Piedmont-style over hickory coals in old-fashioned brick pits, with slaw and spicy vinegar sauce in Eastern style.
Location: 650 US-15, Pittsboro, NC 27312, United States
Phone: +1 919-542-2294
Store Hours: Mon 11am-6pm, Tue-Fri 11am-7pm, Sat 11am-4pm
3. Red Bridges BBQ Lodge, Shelby, North Carolina
Since the 1940s, visitors have come to this Shelby hot spot for hand-chopped pork and Lexington-style sauce. There's nothing like the BBQ at Red Bridge, which they cook over oak and hickory wood. They serve it up with some of the best Southern sides you'll find in the Carolinas. There's a full-on meal that'll have you dreaming for a while.
Location: 2000 E Dixon Blvd, Shelby, NC 28150, United States
Phone: +1 704-482-8567
Store Hours: Wed-Sat 11am-7pm, Sum 11am-3pm
4. Morris Barbeque, Hookerton, North Carolina
Located in Eastern North Carolina, this BBQ joint is famous for its barbecue sandwiches and sweet potato fries. Morris Barbeque is only open on Saturdays from 8 am to 2 pm, so arrive early and hungry. Take a bite of some ribs or even a BBQ sandwich combo, and then savor the flavors of their special sauce. You must not miss out on hush puppies, either.
Location: 891 Morris Bbq Rd, Hookerton, NC 28538, United States
Phone: +1 252-747-2254
Store Hours: Saturday 8am-2pm
5. Haywood Smokehouse, Waynesville, North Carolina
Are you tired of the traditional barbecue of North Carolina? Or perhaps you are a Texan seeking a taste of home. You can be assured that Haywood Smokehouse serves the best Texas-style barbecue outside of Texas. It all tastes like Texas, whether it is the smoked brisket or the ribs. The Texas Two-Step consists of sliced brisket topped with house-made hotlinks and pepper jack cheese on Texas toast.
Location: 79 Elysinia Ave, Waynesville, NC 28786, United States
Phone: +1 828-456-7275
Store Hours: Wed-Sat 11am-9pm
North Carolina is undoubtedly home to some of the finest BBQ in the country. And the issue of which style is more appropriate has generated quite a heated debate. In North Carolina, eastern-style barbecue has a thin vinegar sauce and spices, whereas Lexington-style uses a ketchup sauce that is both appealing and distinctive.
BBQ in North Carolina is truly delicious and an absolute must-try if you're visiting. In North Carolina, you'll find the best barbecue in the entire country. So what are you waiting for? Make your call to one of these restaurants and place a reservation.
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