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It’s time to have a chat about North Carolina Barbecue

Source: Fayetteville Observer

Warning: This article may piss you off and quite frankly we don’t care at this point. 

It is time to have a serious conversation about barbecue! If you are not from North Carolina, understand we take barbecue seriously around here. This is not Texas, Missouri, Memphis or any other place that swears they have great barbecue. We don’t care about what your former state does. Honestly, you left there for a reason, so it can’t be all that great – including choices in great food. 

Barbecue is a whole hog smoked for long hours and fully chopped up and blended with very important ingredients to make it a classic North Carolina barbecue. Now, depending if you are from the eastern part of the state or the area out toward the Triad, you like your barbecue a certain way. That is the only conversation that is debatable around here but for time purposes I will not dive into that. Just ask your North Carolina native friends the difference between eastern and western barbecue and which is their favorite. 

In North Carolina, a gathering of friends and family to enjoy great food off the grill is known as a “Cookout.” There is also a popular fast-food chain here that exemplifies that definition. Go check them out sometimes and get some of that crushed ice. If you went to college here you know what Cook Out means to a broke college student on a budget.

A BBQ is not a cookout! Let me say it again for the people in the back, A BBQ IS NOT A COOKOUT! Let me also add that no one cares about brisket or ribs in this conversation. Don’t get me wrong I love some brisket and I will demolish some ribs right now, but we are talking strictly about chopped pork with ingredients of love! 

If you don’t like any of what was just said then Interstate 40 and Interstate 95 are the fastest way out of here with your furniture. We are called NC Voices for a reason – we will die on this hill!

Now that we got that straight, let’s dive into some of the best barbecue spots in North Carolina. Southern Living posted a list of its top 50 barbecue spots in the South. Let me just say I have my own feelings about this list, but I will say a couple of my favorite places made the cut. I’m not telling you because great journalists are fair and balanced like the good folks at FOX News. That was a joke for you newcomers. We are snarky here so get used to it. 

Eight North Carolina establishments made the list and I’m sure someone is already mad. We have them listed below so make plans and go see if you agree with the rankings.

No. 50: Prime Barbecue (Knightdale) 

No. 48: Bar-B-Q Center (Lexington)

No. 36: Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge (Shelby)

No. 27: Sam Jones Whole Hog BBQ (Winterville)

No. 18: Stamey’s Barbecue (Greensboro)

No. 12: Grady’s Barbecue (Dudley)

No. 7: Lexington Barbecue (Lexington)

No. 6: Skylight Inn BBQ (Ayden)

Now that you have your list you have been forewarned to get in your car and wear the most comfortable clothes possible with room for expansion. If your favorite North Carolina spot did not make the list please share the spot and tell us why it should be on this list. 

Read more about the best barbecue joints here


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