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Raleigh-Durham to Lexington BBQ Adventure

I am flying from Boston to Raleigh-Durham on Friday with my 16-year-old son for a weekend BBQ exploration. Looking for advice on the best places for 'q, breakfast spots and any other culinary highlights we should try to squeeze in (a little fried chicken would be good, 'cause you can't find anything better than Popeye's in Boston, and even that isn't widely available).
Our loose itinerary is as follows: Arrive in R-D early Friday and head out for lunch, maybe a drive east? Head back to R-D and find a great dinner spot. We're spending the night in Durham -- where to have breakfast? On Saturday, I'm thinking about driving out to Lexington to sample that style of BBQ, so looking for a lunch spot on the way and THE place to have dinner. And where should we stay that night so we can find a great breakfast nearby on Sunday morning? Lexington? Winston-Salem? or ???? We'll drift back to the Triangle on Sunday. I know that finding great BBQ on Sunday will be a bit of a challenge, but we're willing to drive to find it. Thanks for the help. I've been dreaming of this pig-out trip for years!

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  1. The best BBQ in NC, IMHO, is Allen and Son, located on Highway 86 just off I-40 between Hillsborough and Chapel Hill, very close to Durham.

    Virtually all the Lexington places are great...Lexington BBQ (aka Honey Monk's) is a must visit.

    On a previous post, chazzer posted this great link:

    www.ncbbqsociety.com

    Lots of good information on that site, including a map and restaurant reviews.

    1. Hmm.....BBQ on a Sunday. There is a challenge. Try Danny's - either location.

      If I had more of a heads up, I'd take notes on my travels. one church or anotehr ALWAYS hasa BBQ lunch on Sunbday. When that is good, it is very, very, very good.

      1. Check out Rub's in Morrisville when you arrive. It's less than a 10 minute drive from the airport. (http://www.rubssmokehouse.com/

        )

        I'd try to check out Biscuitville for breakfast one morning. It's a chain and you should be able to come across one that's convenient somewhere in your travels - there's a few that are right off of I85. Get a chicken biscuit. I had never heard of it (I'm from NY), but it's delicious. You can also try a gravy biscuit, which you don't see much up north either.

        7 Replies
        1. re: scarrie

          I don't know that I'd recommend Biscuitville, but I would suggest Big Ed's in City Market (Raleigh) for breakfast, but not on Sunday. That's a real gut-busting Southern breakfast, cheezy decor notwithstanding. The only problem there, is that after Big Ed's breakfast I can barely comtemplate eating dinner, let alone lunch. But then again you've got a 16-year-old boy with you. Shouldn't pose any problem for him.

          You can also check the Life section of the Friday News & Observer to see if any churches are having BBQ. The quality will vary quite a bit but, having lived in the Boston burbs for a few years, I can tell you the experience will be a bit different from what you may be used to.

          1. re: rockycat

            If you are on the run and want a drive thhrough breakfast do try either Bojangles or Biscuitville. For a tast of the south try either the country ham biscuit or the steak biscuit. I think the biscuits @ Bojangles are better. You might even try some of their sweet tea though I know it is early.

            For cue I would try to pick up one chopped plate in Lexington then do chopped or sliced sandwichs at all the other wood burners in town. google bbq fest or lexington and you should be able to find the restaurants.

            If you make it to winston try Mr. BBQ or Lil Richards. Hushpuppies are better at Mr. BBQ and stop at a local grocery and get some Moravian cookies

            1. re: quazi

              I'm not a huge fan of the ham biscuit, but I still gotta try the steak one :)
              Oh yeah, a suggestion on the chicken biscuit - my husband always asks for hot sauce to go on it. I don't know if that's standard (or maybe it's very "Yankee" of us) but it is a tasty addition. They usually come dry, without any condiments. I like them both ways.

              1. re: scarrie

                Bojangles isn't a bad choice for fried chicken, either. :-)

                1. re: scarrie

                  Hot sauce on fried chicken (even a biscuit) is not "yankee" at all IMHO. Heck, why do you think Texas Pete is made in NC? :-)

                  1. re: Trheel4vr

                    Could not agree more. everyone here (Raleigh) has a bottle of Texas Pete in their cube. Another Southern thing: add jelly to a ham biscuit - cuts the saltiness.

                    1. re: Westy

                      many people add jelly to sausage biscuits as well. If you order at bojangles they will always ask you if you want any jelly with the ham or sausage biscuit. If you try the seak try it with cheese. Try your ham biscuit plain or all the way (ham egg and cheese)

          2. This is part of the fun in asking this board about BBQ recomendations. There are many great BBQ places in the state and everyone has there fav. Allen and Son on Highway 86 is very good but IMHO not the best in the state, top ten maybe.

            Look at the BBQ trail http://www.ncbbqsociety.com/trail_map... for info on the diffrent places. Lexington BBQ is one of the best and worth a vist, A&M in Mabene is also goood and worth a vist, but only have the BBQ, and yes go to Allen & Son. Hurseys is also on the trail but is not one of my favs.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chazzer

              Definitely focus on the NC BBQ trail. Unless you've hit everything on that list, there's probably not much point in branching out to jernts *not* on that list. Likewise, avoid Rub's & Danny's, as neither are true NC BBQ joints, and if you're going to fly all the way down here, you don't want to waste your time with places that spend more time on their beef than their pork. (I eat at both fairly regularly, but I'm not flying from Boston for NC BBQ, ya dig?)

              Ditto what Chazzer said about Hursey's; not worth a stop, IMHO. Over towards W-S, I'm strongly in the Little Richard's (Country Club Road) camp.

              Breakfast-wise, if you don't mind something that isn't as aggressively Southern as NC BBQ, Mary's Of Course in Winston-Salem is my fave.

              I think Biscuitville *is* worth a stop, especially if you're trying to make time on the road. It's a chain, but it's a *local* chain (headquarters in Graham, NC), and they have a sign on the door that says "Pacemakers welcome: no microwaves in use here." Plus they have a "hot syrup" dispenser next to the iced tea. Like Scarrie, I'm partial to the chicken biscuit.

              If it isn't too late to change your tickets, I think you'll get a bigger bang for your buck if you fly into Rocky Mount . . . the golden region for NC BBQ is a strip around Rocky Mount/Wilson/Goldsboro. Or if you still fly into RDU, I'd head east immediately & maybe spend the night down there, so you can hit as many places as possible.

              The only really first-class BBQ in the Triangle probably is Allen & Son, and you can hit it for early lunch on Saturday as you're hauling ass on I-40 towards the Triad.

              If you're interested in eating things *other* than BBQ this weekend, then the Triangle has a lot more to offer, and you can find a million suggestions by searching this board for Raleigh or Durham or Chapel Hill.

            2. Better check whether Allen and Sons is open. They went on a two week vacation or so around Aug 1.

              1 Reply
              1. re: walras

                On Friday - I would go to Greenville/Ayden -go to B's for chicken and barbeuce (heard the chicken is great - going Saturday) and then to Ayden to go to Bum's (pit cooked barbecue and great vegetables adn the Skylight Inn for barbeuce , slaw and cornbread). Went to Bum's and Skylight Inn about 2 weeks ago and it was great. Get the banana pudding, collards, cabbage and rutabegas at Bum's.