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Roadside BBQ along I-95 (NC/SC/GA)

Hello,

I’m from the north and say I do not know GOOD BBQ-lol. Soooo for the first time I’m driving down to Florida VIA I-95. Where are GOOD roadside BBQ off of I-95? We will be staying in the Savannah area for one night (so around there is good)

Thanks for any help.

-p

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  1. You will be traveling through eastern NC on I95 which has its own tradition and style of bbq: slow cooked pork chopped and seasoned with a spicy vinegar sauce (no tomato involved). A sandwich typically comes with coleslaw. I don't know the joints along I 95 that well but I would take a chance on anything that looks interesting. There is a local chain called Smithfield's that has decent eastern NC 'cue. Be sure to enjoy it with some sweet ice tea. Just ask for "tea" and that's what you'll get.

    1. Fuller's in Lumberton is convenient to I95. This is in NC a little north of the SC line. I always do the buffet. This will give you a nice selection of southern cooking & NC style bbq!

      http://www.realpagessites.com/fullers...

      3 Replies
      1. re: meatn3

        I hit Fuller's last summer and it was an excellent mix of 'Q and southern food. I'd also suggest Wilber's in Goldsboro, NC. It may be a bit of a drive off I 95, but it's well worth it as the 'Q at Wilber's defines the eastern style

        1. re: Tom from Raleigh

          Wilber's is no longer the bastion of fine BBQ that it once was. The Q I had there last month was tired-tasting, mushy, and overly vinegary, as though it had been sitting for a while. The rumor 'round here was that they'd cut back to smoking just 2 days a week, which might explain that.

          Here's a link to my trip report, which also covers two places in Wilson, Parker's and Bill's . . . Wilson is just a hop-skip-and-jump off of I-95: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/435362

          1. re: rossgrady

            Ross,

            Whatever happened to the "Pork Palace" on South Saunders St. in Raleigh. It was near the Purina plant. My NCSU suite mates and I used to eat there at least once a week back in the early 70s.

      2. Johnny Harris' is a Savannah institution. I've never tried bit, but when my mother lived there it was her barbecue pit of choice, and she knew 'cue. I've heard recently some comments that it was living on its reputation, but others say it is as good as ever. Probably worth a try.

        Other Savannah places that get a lot of favorable comments are Walls' and Angel's.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JGsped

          Johnny Harris' is more like 45 minutes or more from I-95. The food is good if you happen to be in Savannah, but I don't think I would classify it as "off I95".

        2. The Georgia Pig is right off 95, exit 29, in Brunswick GA. It's a small shack just past a fast food something or other. We stopped there this past May on a drive back to Boston. It was quite good.

          6 Replies
          1. re: griddlegirl

            i tried the ga pig a year or so ago. the q itself was decent, especially given that's it right off the highway. the sides, however, including the bun, were bad; obviously straight from the can/food service stuff.

            there's a bbq chain (sonny's? - i think it's a fla chain that has expanded into ga) that you start seeing signs for a bit before the ga pig turnoff. they have better sides, although they're still not great, than the ga pig. if i were going to stop at the ga pig again, i'd first stop at sonny's for sides, etc, then go on to the ga pig for the q. then make a picnic somewhere. i'm pretty sure you could get everything within a couple exits.

            1. re: mark

              Lot of folks turn their nose up at Sonny's because it's a chain. While I like to support the local mom and pop places, Sonny's is a good BBQ joint as chains go. We always stop and eat at Sonny's in the Brunswick GA area on our way down to FL.

              1. re: bbqme

                sonny's q was ok, but i thought ga pig was a bit better, at least for the stores around brunswick. i've eaten at some of the older sonny's in fla, and the q was pretty good.

                1. re: mark

                  In Brunswick the bast cue is twin oaks, but it is fairly far from 95. You can go around a mile north of Sonny's & find Allens which is superior to Sonnis or Ga Pig. If coming from the south get off at the sonnys exit & travel north past sonnys & Allens will be on your right. Go north from Allens to the light & take a righ & it will take you back to 95 next exit north.

                2. re: bbqme

                  Sonny's may be my favorite chain resturant. That texas toast is awesome. I love Sonny's ribs. Never had a bad one. They been from good to excellent. Usually very meaty and certainly a good hint of smoke. I also like the fact that the ribs has a bit a a "pull" to them. I don't like fall of the bone ribs (never understood why people go nuts for fall of the bone ribs, isn't it over cooked at that point?)

              2. re: griddlegirl

                ga. pig is ok. pulled pig OK, sausage greasy (and probably not made there or even in area...). stuff reheated. wouldn't go back. sonny's all vary. some are great, some not so great...

                fuller's in lumberton was an awesome experience, and their fresh veggies this summer were tremendous!. actually of the meats/fish, the little stuffed deviled crabs were the absolute tastiest. i wish i had scaled back on even small portions of some of the other things, like the chicken or fried fish for those little deviled crabs thingies! even worth skipping the so-so desserts.

              3. Ralph's BBQ in Roanoke Rapids / Weldon, NC is just off of I-95 past the VA / NC border. It is not my favorite in the state but it has pretty good, consistent cue as well as other fine southern food and is hard to beat convenience-wise. They have a big buffet during regular dining hours but I often order off the menu for more freshly prepared stuff if is not real crowded / high turnover.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Guilty Gourmand

                  Hank's off I-95 just south of Richmond VA is good; I ate there yesterday. About 50 miles from the NC state line. They do NC-style BBQ - Pork, very vinegary sauce. They do have chopped BBQ, but the sliced BBQ is even better. $3.29 for a small sandwich or $6.99 for the large on a kaiser with fries.

                  1. re: Guilty Gourmand

                    Ralphs has decent BBQ and if you get the buffett you can also get pulled pork and fried chicken. I adore their slaw -- finely chopped and slightly sweet (mayo based). They do have a nice selection of southern style vegetables also.

                    1. re: toolprincess

                      We went to Ralphs for the first time a couple weeks ago. Good BBQ, better Fried Chicken, and this incredible desert called "Banana Bites". Fried nuggets of banana pudding and brown sugar. Wow. Didn't eat again for days but it was worth it...

                      1. re: kriscolby

                        We stopped at Ralph's on our way home from Florida this past May. We didn't get the buffet because it didn't have ribs on it. Turns out they weren't any good anyway. The pulled pork, slaw and fried fish were good, but would have been better if they were hot. The service was reprehensible right from the start when the waitress couldn't even get our drink order of two soda right.

                  2. Petersburg, VA has some of the finest bbq you will ever eat at King's BBQ #2. It's off of the Wagner Road exit. http://www.kingsfamousbarbecue.com/ Classic Carolina BBQ cooked over wood for a not-to-be-duplicated smoky flavor - get it minced - and you must have the cole slaw - the best we've ever had. The baked beans are great, with a generous dollop of meat incorporated, and the potato cakes are wonderful (ask for them as a sub for fries). Be sure to buy some sauce to take with you, as you'll want to taste it again and again.

                    If you run into traffic on !-95 and choose to take US-301 instead, look for Johnny Boy's Ribs in La Plata, MD. It's a roadside stand with outdoor seating only. Their forte is sliced pork sandwiches - wonderful and quite unique! Piles of thinly sliced pork bbq stacked high on a bun - get it with cole slaw on top and add your sauce of choice (regular or hot). Despite the name of the place, we don't recommend the ribs - to be fair, we got them carry-out, so they might be much better if you eat them there. The collard greens are quite good, as are the boardwalk fries. http://www.johnnyboysribs.com/

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Leronis

                      leronis, do they do a daily smoked fish at king's?

                      1. re: alkapal

                        No smoked fish at King's. They do BBQ pork, beef and chicken, but the pork BBQ is what they're really all about. They also do BBQ turkeys at Thanksgiving. They used to smoke venison for hunters until the health department made them stop.

                    2. BC Steak & BBQ located at 829 Radford Blvd Dillon, SC 29536
                      They have a great buffet with really good Q and the price is fair. You may also want to try Swetteys BBQ located at 1219 Radford Blvd Dillon, SC 29536 (right down the street). I believe both of these are located off the first exit past South of the Border very convenient to I-95.

                      BC Steak & BBQ (843) 774-5818
                      Swetteys BBQ (843) 774-3333

                      1. Can't speak for SC, but NC BBQ is somewhat unique. It is pulled pork that was basted in vinegar while cooking the whole pig (this leeches out a lot of the fat) and, once pulled has red peper chopped up in it (not particularly spicy hot). Goes great in a sandwich with cole slaw. Watch I-95 signs for Smithfield Chicken n' BBQ. It is a chain, but all are consistently good. Their fried chicken is also excellent. If I'm trying to be good, I pull the skin off the chicken before eating it -- still mighty good.

                        1. A food trip down I95 would be simply wasted if you don't bring a cooler and stop at Smith's Red and White, just outside of Rocky Mount, NC. Take the Red Oak/Dortches exit and go east. (This would be NC43.) Turn left at the light and the store is just ahead on the right. This is all less than a mile off of I95. Go in and go to the pork counter at the back of the store. There, you can purchase fresh-made link sausage in either a hot or mild variety. If it's not hands-down the best sausage you've ever had, then you've been spoiled with some pretty exceptional sausage.

                          1. Try Lone Star BBQ in Santee SC: http://lonestarbbq.net/
                            They are only open Thurs-Sun but the food is fantastic and they often have live music.

                            I also really like Franny and Gwen's Soul Food in Hardeeville SC. Didn't try the BBQ but the fried chicken and collard greens were amazing.

                            13 Replies
                            1. re: jyumyum

                              Does Lone Star cook their BBQ over wood?

                              1. re: jyumyum

                                We went to Lone Star a few weeks ago on the way home from Florida and loved it! I actually thought the pork BBQ was so-so (we were there for lunch and had the buffet) but the fried chicken was addicting. So crunchy and flavorful and the chicken was moist as could be. We'll be back.

                                1. re: Hobbert

                                  Do you recall the price for the buffet? I didn't see it mentioned on their website.

                                  1. re: meatn3

                                    Sure. It was $12/person. We're both adults so I'm not sure if they have a different price for kids.

                                    1. re: Hobbert

                                      Thanks! If my timing is right I may give them a try. I'm seriously craving Southern style vegetables...

                                      1. re: meatn3

                                        i know what you mean, meatn3.

                                        did you have pole beans cooked with bacon growing up? i can't find pole beans fresh around here in metro dc, but i buy the frozen "italian pole beans" from harris teeter, and cook them up till they get just right (and you KNOW what i'm talkin' about! ;-). they satisfy my "earthy veggie" craving, make me nostalgic, and keep well in the fridge! win-win-win!

                                        pictsweet: http://www.pictsweet.com/our-products...

                                        they have a lot of good southern veggies

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          My parents were very anti vegetables...but my neighbor, Mr. Brown, let me hang out during his Saturday cooking marathons. He was from Mississippi and introduced me to the wonders of gumbo and Southern vegetables! His wife and kids were embarrassed by his "trash" cooking so I think he enjoyed having someone to share it with. Boy, they really missed out on some good eating!

                                          1. re: meatn3

                                            i think many folks don't understand that at (the very) least a good half of southern "cuisine" is about the wonderful abundance of vegetables.

                                            i also adore the variety of field peas and beans. that reminds me, i have some large limas in the fridge that i need to eat. i cooked them with some ham hock, but next time i'm going to use salt pork or try smoked turkey leg.

                                            there was a recent article in garden and gun about the varieties of field peas, creamers, white acres, etc. i'll look for it.

                                            …in the meantime, this article is nice: http://gardenandgun.com/article/behin... -- check out their food articles from the old issues. they are a treasure trove -- and free online. here's a start: http://gardenandgun.com/search/node/f...

                                            ~~~~~
                                            speaking of peas, i found this clemson extension service article interesting: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic...

                                            "Types of Cultivars

                                            There are four types of peas:

                                            Field Pea: Robust, viny type usually with smaller seeds that produce a dark liquid when cooked.
                                            Crowder Pea: Starchy seeded types "crowded" into the pods, normally cooking up dark.
                                            Cream Pea: Smaller plant type with light colored seeds that cook up light.
                                            "Black-eyed" Pea: Intermediate in its plant type and seed cooking characteristics.

                                            Cultivars

                                            Field: 'Iron/Clay,' various heirlooms
                                            Crowder: 'Carolina,' 'Colussus 80'
                                            Cream: 'Zipper Cream,' 'Carolina Cream'
                                            Black-eye type: 'Pinkeye Purple Hull,' 'Dixielee,' 'Santee Early Pinkeye ' "

                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              This is great information about peas. I wonder which of the four types white acres fall under. I just "discovered" white acres and was blown away by them.

                                              1. re: Low Country Jon

                                                yes, i love white acres, too. i think they'd fit under the "cream peas" label. i could buy them frozen in the s.w. florida winn-dixie, but haven't seen them around here in d.c. metro. maybe i'll check harris teeter again, as they seem to have a good variety of southern peas and beans in their freezer cases, including butter beans. i've noticed that some stores have a different selection -- harris teeters of same size within five miles of one another. (i'm thinking they do demographic studies for the surrounding neighborhoods for selecting the varieties to stock, or maybe the managers have more demand in one store vs. another -- even though so close-by).

                                                pictsweet is a good brand! http://www.pictsweet.com/our-products...

                                                jon, if you like the white acres, you might also like these butter peas: http://www.pictsweet.com/our-products...

                                                hey look at this! http://www.southernexposure.com/veget...

                                                one of my favorites i've had only in my aunt martha's kitchen (peas that she shelled and froze there in n.w. florida -- sneads, to be exact)-- and they were the summer cowpeas -- they're tiny, light green and soft and buttery. YUM. see them here on the 8th row: http://www.southernstates.com/catalog...

                                                they are similar to the queen of all the peas -- the most delicate: lady peas, which were my mom's favorite.

                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                  "i think many folks don't understand that at (the very) least a good half of southern "cuisine" is about the wonderful abundance of vegetables."

                                                  Truer words have not been spoken. When my family has a holiday meal, it's mostly vegetables. They're the centerpiece.

                                                  1. re: Naco

                                                    heeeeey naco! so good to see you! i have one of your quotes on my profile here on chow: "There is no BBQ law."

                                2. re: jyumyum

                                  This is one of my favorites! We stop there every time we've made the drive from DC to FL at Christmas. I love the tomato pie!

                                3. Sweatmans near Eutawville, SC [ East of Holly Hill,SC ]

                                  For years they have been smoking whole pigs on Wed - Thurs and serve Fri and Sat.

                                  You have reached BBQ heaven.

                                  I have not been there in a few years so see if they are still open for business.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: mcanni

                                    Rumor is that Sweatman's has been sold and is no longer as good as they used to be.

                                    1. re: carolinadawg

                                      They sold two years ago.

                                      1. re: JayL

                                        We never felt it was that outstanding anyway...fairly good,yes...outstanding, not so much.

                                  2. I just had the most wonderful time at Ralph's BBQ on Exit 173! Food was GREAT and so was the service! Great price and quality! Will stop again!!!