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BBQ in Asheville. Recs needed for dinner

My trip planning has now got as far as Asheville. And it looks like our one night in town will be our only one in North Carolina, before we drive south to Charleston.

North Carolina BBQ is famous, even on my side of the Atlantic. So, this has to be the ONLY option for dinner.

I’ve read the threads and appreciate I am not going to find “world class” in Asheville. But where’s the best I’m going to find actually in town?

Yours recs really appreciated. TIA.


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  1. Twelve Bone Smokehouse is far and away the best BBQ I've had in Asheville, but they're only open for lunch M-Fr. There's a new BBQ place in south Asheville, and my mother says it's the closest thing to eastern NC BBQ she's had (outside eastern NC). I don't have the name, but it's in a little strip mall on Hendersonville Road, next to the Carolina Mountain Bakery. I hope to try it out when I'm in town in a couple of weeks. Maybe some other hounds have more complete information. (A side note, if you find the BBQ place and are tempted to try out the bakery next door, don't.)

    3 Replies
    1. re: JepJonson

      Honestly, there are so many more options for dinner in Asheville outside of BBQ that would be MUCH more appealing and worth your trip alone. Please reconsider, as I agree that 12 Bones is the only worthwhile BBQ in the area and their hours do not include dinner. But try to get there for a weekday lunch - it is definitely delicious!

      1. re: miss piggy

        Unlike the vast majority of people you will meet in Asheville, I am a native North Carolinian, I have eaten at almost all the famous barbecue restaurants in the state. There is no barbecue in Asheville. 12 bones has the best ribs you'll find, but their pulled pork is stringy and flavorless compared to the best barbecue places. The new place mentioned above is called luellas. I haven't eaten there yet, but I agree withmiss piggy- there are far too many good restaurants in town to risk a bad meal trying to find good 'cue.

        1. re: miss piggy

          I agree with Miss Piggy. Search the site for recs for Asheville. There is a current one. There are so many great restaurants in Asheville. But it's just not a BBQ town. BBQ is more commonly found in the eastern part of the state and is, IMHO, overrated. Asheville is great and you'll find lots of good food but no BBQ.

      2. Thanks to all.

        It looks like we'll just have to find another town for our one night NC stopover. As I said, it simply has to be BBQ for dinner.


        1. wow - to miss visitng Asheville just cause there isn't any 'cue is kinda regrettable - this is a beautiful town with many options....you may wanna reconsider and get 'cue for lunch the next day...

          5 Replies
          1. re: jbyoga

            Yep, I'd have to agree. If you've got one day to spend in North Carolina, I'd probably make it Asheville. Even if it doesn't have the world's best NC western or eastern style Q.

            It's probably because the best Q joints are in cities at or near the bottom of the list of most scenic towns in NC.

            That said, I respect your choices and am heartened by your firm desire to try NC barbecue. Just make sure you come back and enjoy Asheville some day.

            Safe travels.

            Sean (not an Asheville resident)

            1. re: peetoteeto

              Thanks Sean

              Unfortunately this is, as I said, nothing more than an overnight stop. We'd be arriving late afternoon, need dinner and then a comfy bed. Next morning, we head off to Charleston, SC. So, I'm afraid it's probable we would see precious little of the town.

              I've been surfing looking for Asheville hotels many of which seem close together near the mall (?). I also see a nearby BBQ - "Fat Buddies" - which has a Chowhound post of "OK". This may prove to be good enough for this foreign tourist (heh, heh).

              Best regards from Stockport (north west England)


              1. re: Brit on a Trip

                Why don't you consider having BBQ for lunch on your way to Charleston. If you search "Barbecue SC I-26" you'll get a lot of hits. That way you can try one of the many fantastic restaurants in Asheville. If you dine downtown ~ Limones, Salsas, Modesto, Tupelo Honey, etc...., you'll get to see the city too. Any hotel you choose will not be more than 10 minutes from downtown.

                It's just not worth it to "force" a meal/cuisine that you won't really enjoy.

                Enjoy your holiday.

                1. re: Brit on a Trip

                  please...please do not goto fat buddies. you will be terribly disappointed. The major chain hotels in Asheville are located around two malls. The Biltmore Square mall, adnthe Asheville mall on Tunnel road. if you decide to stay in the area, try for Tunnel road, that way downtown is simply a mile or two up the road. We do have a decent BBQ place for lunch, but a night in Asheville can be a real Blast, much better than an interstate motel.

                  1. re: bethd127

                    Well heck - If you're going to go with North Carolina BBQ you might as go "home grown" and do Littl Pigs on McDowell Street - just show up before 8 pm for dinner. Pork and broasted chicken.

                    BTW - 12 Bones is NOT North Carolina BBQ - It is TEXAS (and I hate TEXAS) Smokehouse BBQ and it is great!

            2. Well, we ignored all the advice and ate at Fat Buddies. And we had a pleasant meal, in pleasant surroundings, served by a friendly and extremely efficient member of staff.

              We shared an starter of their onion loaf and this was a great success. Crispy, spicy, not greasy - very similar in style to onion bhajees we get in Indian restaurants in the UK.

              Mains were pulled pork dinners. The meat was moist with a smoky flavour. There were several sauces on the table. The "middle" one, spice-wise, was perfect. Garlic toast was good - crispy, buttery, garlicky. Sides of fries, baked beans and coleslaw were fine.

              I have no idea whether we ate good BBQ, indifferent BBQ or lousy BBQ. I do know we thoroughly enjoyed the whole meal.

              We'll probably never pass through NC again so it was great to eat BBQ on home ground. Thanks, Asheville.


              1 Reply
              1. re: Brit on a Trip

                fat buddies is a small local (wnc) chain. it's passable & sates the craving. while it's by far not the best, rest assured it is not the worst. glad you enjoyed it. i do encourage you to seek out the good stuff if you're ever in the carolinas again (or any of the other q-centric states); it's well worth it.

              2. If you don't care to "see" Asheville, you might consider heading another 30 minutes down the road to Saluda to go to Green River Barbeque.


                Neat little town and an out-of-the-way feeling bbq shack.

                DOH! just figured out I'm a day late with this....sorry.

                4 Replies
                1. re: timlau

                  A tad later still, timlau. We were overnight in Asheville 15/16 September - but only arrived back in the UK last weekend.

                  1. re: timlau

                    My two cents: We ate at Green River Barbecue 2-3 times right after we moved here, and it was never better than passable. Haven't been back since.

                    1. re: Jeff C.

                      Yeah, it's not the best around, but for what I gethered Brit was after, it would be a good trip. Cute little mountain town right that could double as Mayberry with a decent, not great, bbq.

                      When I'm in Saluda, it's usually the Purple Onion unless I"ve got out of towners with me that want "NC BBQ"

                      1. re: timlau

                        The Purple Onion isn't bad, and brunch at the Wildflower Bakery is good. Other than that Saluda doesn't have much going for it restaurant-wise. 'Tis a lovely Mayberry-esque town, though.

                  2. i was just in Asheville for 3 weeks im from california and i dont agree with 12 bones it was the worst i have had...the pulled pork we feed to the dog's...the bricket was so dry and had no taste to it...the rib's were dry....the best thing there was the Potato salad and the Blueberry bar b q sauce.....when i return to visit Asheville again 12 bones will be last on my list to visit....i know i know Mr Obama ate there well he must have needed vote's

                    Jimmy D From California

                    1. We have eaten at Luella's 4X and everything was good to excellent. Moist brisket with a nice rub (good cuts of meat) some of the best dry rubbed pork ribs I've ever had. All of the sides have been up to snuff with the exception of the 2nd time I order the collard greens which were a bit too sour for my taste (but not others). Oh yes, they also have great beers on tap & they appear to make is a policy to hire cute waitresses!

                      Not sure why they took Obama to 12 Bones. Probably made a better photo op. Their food is not ever close.‎ Dry brisket, charred ribs (although the chipotle sauce was excellent). Who ever was cooking the sides the day we went was missing on each count & they were either too sour, salty, or just unpleasant. A "bad Day" might have explained some of these problems, but not everything consistently bad on the same day - will not go back.

                      I build my own pit BBQs & have talked with dozens of pit masters in the process of perfecting my own Texas style BBQ, so I speak w/ a bit of expertise in this subject.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: global_eater

                        We had a "bad day" not too long ago ourselves at 12 Bones. If we want BBQ, we go to Luella's. Great 'cue, consistent, excellent mac and cheese and okra to boot. And a good selection of beers on draft. There brunch is pretty good too. I enjoyed my shrimp and grits there last time.

                        1. re: global_eater

                          I haven't been to 12 Bones in awhile but it was definitely always the best of the ones I'd tried here in Asheville. Has anyone been to Moe's which is in the spot that was formerly Stovetrotters? I feel like Asheville is kind of overrun with BBQ joints. My heart will always belong to the best BBQ I've ever had.....Sweatmans in Eutawville, SC, which of course is SC BBQ & a different animal from NC BBQ.

                          4 Sweeten Creek Road, Asheville, NC 28803

                          1. re: mtnmchgrl

                            We go to Moe's at least once a week for a workday lunch and have always been happy. You can get a platter, including a huge amount of meat (pulled pork, smoked turkey or chicken, wings, or fried catfish-my fave), two sides, cornbread or hushpuppies, and a drink, all for $10, tax included. They have several special sides daily, of which the mac-n-cheese and squash casserole are my faves. You can also get a platter of three sides, bread, and a drink for $7. The service is quick and friendly, and you always leave completely full.