The word Barbecue means many things to many people across the state of North Carolina.  to true native North Carolinian’s it can only mean one thing though, slow-cooked pork.  It can be pulled or chopped, but it must come from a pig raised right here in the great state of North Carolina.

All points east of Raleigh primarily go with an Eastern NC based barbecue, using the whole hog and a vinegar based sauce.   West of Raleigh one will find  a tomato based sauce more often than not and usually with shoulders and Boston butts making up the meat.   Many places will then vary on their form of slaw and  hushpuppies or corn sticks.  Many a fight has broken out over exactly who has the best barbecue in the state.


As a lifelong North Carolinian that has lived in the Eastern, Western and Mountain regions of the state, I feel qualified to rank the top-ten Barbecue Joints in North Carolina.   To be on this list, the restaurant has to be a little dirty, not in a high-rent district and qualify as a real “joint” I hope you will enjoy my list.


Eat Happy My Friends!


1.     B’s BBQ, Greenville, NC

I have traveled all across the state looking for great barbecue, but B’s is the only one I have jumped in the car for and driven four hours to enjoy.  Bar none, this little trailer full of happiness offers the nicest workers, the best tasting barbecue and the longest lines starting as early as 8am on ECU Home Football Weekends.  Don’t wait until noon to go to B’s, line will be long enough where you may not get to the front before they run out.   Don’t bother calling or looking on the internet, this special place has no phone and a computer has never or will never be found on site.  The NC Highway Department even moved a road to make sure the place didn’t get gobbled up by a new highway.  Drive East and turn left on B’s BBQ Rd from 264 for the best barbecue in the state.








2.  Gary’s Barbecue, China Grove, NC

Gary’s has been making customers happy for many years.  Has been a frequent stop for many as they run the NC BBQ Trail.







3.    Lexington BBQ, Lexington

Known by the locals as the  “The Monk,” Lexington Barbecue was established in 1962 by Wayne Monk. Since its establishment, the white building on the hill has grown from a small cafe to a nationally known barbecue restaurant,  Awesome customer service and food that you will never forget!







4.     Bridges Barbecue Lodge, Shelby

Closed on Monday and Tuesday. Sit down and have the Large BBQ Tray and a Sweet Tea










5.     Skylight Inn, Ayden, NC

There aren’t a lot of people that call Ayden, NC home, but they can lay claim to having some of the best barbecue in the state.  They know you have to cook the whole pig to make the best barbecue around!  Iconic place, way off the beaten path!  Pete Jones knew what he was doing decades ago when he founded the Skylight Inn








6.   Little Richard’s Barbecue, Winston Salem, NC

This special little joint was opened by Richard Berries and his Lexington style cooking is something special.  Little Richard’s uses hickory coals to bring out the best taste in his pork







7.     Parker’s Barbecue, Wilson, NC

Good food, good service, good price.  Three keys to the success of this legendary Eastern NC brand of barbecue.







8.    Bill Spoon’s Barbecue, Charlotte, NC

Living in Charlotte, I have to put a Charlotte place on my list.  Bill Spoon’s comes closest to my favorite with his vinegar based style sauce and use of the whole hog. The Spoon Family may be the nicest folks to ever run a cash register for sure!








9.  College Barbecue, Salisbury, NC

Being raised in Salisbury, I am quite sure College Barbecue was my first time having this southern delicacy.  They are still pumping out quality food and great down home service







10.     Pig Shack, King, NC

It’s hard for me to put a new place on my list, so let’s give Pig Shack our Rookie Award. Only in business a couple of years, pitmaster Charlie Welch has quite a little place up in King, NC.


bbqPigShack Charlie Wel





Even though its not a “joint” we have to give a plug to one of our sponsors, the Q Shack in Charlotte.  Dave and the boys have amazing food that we love!  Just to nice of a place to be a “joint”  🙂  Go see the boys at Q Shack!


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