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NC Barbecue Road Trip - need advice

I'm planning a short road trip around the Winston-Salem/Lexington/Greensboro region and would like to hit several of the best barbecue joints in that area. So far the itinerary includes:

1. Carolina Bar-B-Q (Statesville)
2. Lexington Barbecue No. 1 (Lexington)
3. Little Richard's Bar-B-Que (Winston-Salem)
4. Stamey's (Greensboro)
5. A&M Grill (Mebane)

Other possibilities include:

6. Richard's Bar-B-Q (Salisbury)
7. Clark's Barbecue (Kernersville)
8. Fuzzy's (Madison)

I can probably work in one or two of that second group, so any advice on how those compare would be appreciated. Also, are there any can't-miss stops in that area that I'm leaving out? (I won't be able to make it as far as Chapel Hill for Allen & Sons and will only be driving through Lexington briefly so I probably won't be able to stop at others there).


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  1. add mr. barbecue in winston-salem and drop clarks in kville

    1. That's a lot of the same basic foodstuffs, with variations being mostly in the quality of the food. IMO, once you eat at Lexington #1, you've had the best BBQ the Triad has to offer...

      1. If you go to A&M, Allen & Son is only about 10-15 minutes away. It's worth those extra minutes, in my opinion. It's by far my favorite of the ones mentioned.

        There are some other great ones in Lexington, with Barbecue Center and Smiley's at the top of my list.

        Instead of Fuzzy's, I would probably go for Short Sugars in Reidsville since it's different.

        Many people rave over Stamey's in Greensboro, but I've tried it several times and have never really enjoyed its flavor or consistency.

        1 Reply
        1. re: WFUnix

          Try Country BBQ on W. Wendover/ I-40. Thats my favorite G'boro.

        2. I'd definitely skip Stamey's and Clark's, and I'd definitely tweak the schedule to include Allen and Son. Adding Short Sugar's is also a good call. I'd also consider adding Keaton's (just east of Statesville) for their unique BBQ chicken.

          1. If you search this forum, you'll find a drive by bryanz that took in several places and gave good commentary.

            In the areas you mention, I'd skip 6,7,8. I'd do 1,2,&4, and add Short Sugars and maybe a 2nd Lexington restaurant.

            I finally figured out one of the primary differences in the wide wide differences of opinion in the people who post regularly to these forums, but I'm still doing research and am not ready to reveal my "aha" experience yet.

            1. Save yourself some mileage and drop Carolina BBQ in Statesville. It's been a while since I have gone, and my memory may be fuzzy (no pun intended), but I think they are a gasser, not a log burner.

              Not sure why Clark's isn't getting the love here, as they are a log burner (although again, I haven't been in a couple of years).

              I haven't been to Little Richards or Fuzzys so I cannot comment, but the others are worth a stop. Make sure to ask for the sauce on the side at A&M, as it is a thick sauce that is not to everyone's taste.

              I agree with others who have suggested more stops in Lexington (BBQ Center is a must) and also a trip to Allen & Sons.

              10 Replies
              1. re: brentk

                Thanks for all the good suggestions. I'm going to check and see if I can make time for Allen & Sons. I was at Stamey's about a year and half ago and thought it was great, but I've heard mixed reviews recently. Carolinadawg, I have been to Keaton's and you're right, that barbecued chicken is unbelievable.

                1. re: wilson

                  If you felt Stamey's was good a year and half ago, then you'll still like it. Stamey's may be a lot of things, but it is consistent and has been for the last 30+ years.

                  1. re: Hushpuppy

                    Unfortunately, I have to disagree. My last several visits over the past year or so have been very disappointing.

                2. re: brentk

                  Clark's is still very good with the exception of the hushpuppies. They can often be heavy and a bit oily. The barbecue is indeed wood cooked and as good as ever. Be aware that not all Little Richard's stores are the same. The one in Clemmons is no longer a log burner. The stores on Country Club Rd. and Union Cross Rd. are true barbecuers and are outstanding. Not sure how Gene at Carolina Barbecue now cooks his barbecue and, sadly, I haven't been to Fuzzy's in years. Have you tried the sliced barbecue at Stamey's? Love the 'pups there...

                  1. re: Hushpuppy

                    "Have you tried the sliced barbecue at Stamey's?"

                    Yes, last night. Very dry. Not a lot of meat on the plate. Service, poor at best.

                    If you want good sliced around G'boro, Country BBQ is the best around here.

                    1. re: webvanman

                      That's a surprise to me. Sad to hear that what once was a very good product has taken a nosedive. I'll give 'em a try next time I'm in town. Poor service? Yeah, some things never change. Small portions? Maybe new management... Geez.

                      Unfortunately, Country Barbecue isn't real barbecue as they do not cook their meat over wood coals. The result is (very good) barbecue-style roast pork. Tasty? Yes. Real barbecue? No. Good slaw and hushpuppies though.

                      1. re: Hushpuppy

                        "real" BBQ is cooked over wood coals. I'll have to disagree but to each his own. Real BBQ has only a vinegar based suace on it.

                        I had some "real" good BBQ the other day at McCalls in Clayton. Glad they finally opened back up.

                  2. re: brentk

                    I decided to give Clark's a try yesterday. I had the course chopped BBQ, which was tender and moist, albeit chopped into large chunks, which I don't really prefer. They only appear to offer coarse chopped and sliced, but I didn't ask if they can produce a finer chop on request. Anyhow, the meat meat was good, and had some outside brown attached. I did see the log pile in the back so they are still making real BBQ.

                    I also had the white cole slaw which I prefer to BBQ slaw. In this case, there was relatively little mayo, a varient that I liked.

                    The hush puppies were nice, too.

                    I had a side of green beans, which had too much salt pork flavor for me. I like my green beans to have a bit of tang to them, but this was too much.

                    All in all, a mixed review, but there were enough positives to make me want to return.

                    1. re: brentk

                      Brent, they offer chopped, coarse chopped and sliced meat. Are the pups still shaped like rings? High proportion of outside crunch to inside cornbread...

                      1. re: Hushpuppy

                        The pups were shaped more like tootsie rolls.

                  3. College Drive In in Salisbury and M&K Barbecue in Granite Quarry are both quite good but don't get much attention, but should. Richard's in Salisbury is good as is Wink's.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Hushpuppy

                      A more general barbecue discussion was split off to the General Topics board: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/52673...

                    2. The NC BBQ Society has a map of the top 25 NC BBQ joints published on Google Maps:

                      1. Put Lexington Barbeque at the top of your list and at least consider a second stop somewhere else in Lexington for carry-out (more good BBQ per capita than any town in U.S.) Keaton's is quite unique and not far off Rt. 64, but open limited hours so visit their web site first to make sure they're open. Awesome "BBQ" chicken--not coated with sauce, but GGGOOOOOODDD (get their recipe, take their sauce home and make some yourself). Check out the Jim Early or Bob Garner books that rate most of the NC BBQ places for advice on editing your list. Please post your reactions after your return. I missed McCall's last fall (the plane crash happened 5 minutes after I drove by it) so I'd really be curious to learn what others think of it so I can stop next time.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: KyMikey

                          McCalls- ate there last week. Sign says cooked over wood. V&P. All you can eat. Dont know if it's "real" or not(I'll leave that up to the experts), but it's damn good!

                          1. re: webvanman

                            Which location of McCall's, Kinston or Clayton ?

                          2. re: KyMikey

                            I remember your post - still gives me goosebumps.
                            Appreciated your reviews of that trip!

                          3. Looks like you won't be interested in eastern NC. However, if you are, you MUST add
                            B's BBQ in Greenville. Ate there yesterday and it was the best I've ever had there, and I've been eating there for years.

                            Also, try Moore's BBQ in Kenly (a diamond in the rough), and Ken's in LaGrange (on US 70) although they only have bbq on Wed. and Sat. Ken's is cooked over electricity, but it is really good bbq...

                            Parker's in Wilson is consistently good, and so is Wilber's in Goldsboro.

                            I gotta say though, that B's is probably my alltime favorite. It's definitely worth a visit,

                            or two...!

                            1. Definitely try Lexington #1; Stamey's in Greensboro is decent but overrated; the best Q itself (try their desserts,too) in the triangle is Allen and Sons just north of Chapel Hill. The original Hursey's in Burlington is very good, too, as is Mr. Barbeque (and Mrs Chicken) in Winston-Salem.

                              Just look for the pile of wood out back, and follow your nose!

                              1. I find it strange that nobody said a word about High Point in this whole thread. It's so close to Lexington, and has 4-5 BBQ places that are just about as good as anything Lexington has.

                                They used to have a Stameys, and I agree it was good. But so is Kepleys, and any of the Henry James BBQ's all over the area. They are all so much alike...and all good.

                                I was rather disappointed in the Lexington area ones, personally. Having lived in High Point all my life, I was used to theirs, and I find the true Lexington ones have too much fat chopped up in the meat. Could have just been the one I went to, I guess. I don't even remember the name now. But it made me decide to stick to High Point.


                                2 Replies
                                1. re: luvdavy

                                  Thanks for the info. will have to try some of these and report back

                                  1. re: luvdavy

                                    The pork at Lexington #1 is easily some of the leanest meat I've ever had in my life. It used to be fattier back in the day, and wish it still was.

                                    And there's probably a reason that the Lexington/W-S area is famous for BBQ, and High Point is not.

                                    Just sayin'.

                                  2. Here's a great place to try... Gary's Barbecue in China Grove. They've got the prerequisite great pulled pork, and then add in a very cool restaurant with vintage Coke ads and great banana pudding. Turns out it's just 5 mins off I85, but a real local friendly place. What more could you ask for?

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. If you (or anyone) happen to go through Nashville, NC (near Rocky Mount), try Doug Saul's bbq

                                      1. Since I grew up in Lexington, I can recomend Lexington Barbeque#1. For a really good treat, try one of their skin sandwiches. Nothing else like it and they are great. Have to say this is the best barbeque around .ringmaster

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: ringmaster

                                          I'm curious. I know they serve cracklin as a side order. What exactly is a skin sandwich?

                                          1. re: brentk

                                            skin, slaw & sauce on a bun, FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!

                                            1. re: NXS

                                              anyone know when they have this? i stopped by on friday the 11th and they didn't have it that day. or maybe it comes out later?

                                                1. re: chili367

                                                  they sell out in less than 2 hours? i was there at 11:30 am.

                                                    1. re: chili367

                                                      ok now i know pork skin sandwich for breakfast :)

                                        2. As a 20+ year Texas transplant and former native of Salisbury, N.C. I still drool at the prospect of visiting Richard's Barbecue in Salisbury. I occasionally visit relatives living in Charlotte who try to persuade me to eat at closer Pig places ( which never compare) They have no understanding of the intensity of my craving for pulled pork, and my discerning taste as a denied Texan. Only the BEST will do, and that is Richard's Barbecue. His pulled pork sandwiches have the perfect Q- mix and his vinegar & red pepper sauce has a distinct hot tang unlike any other. I always order mine X-tra Hot, and order extra to take back to Texas.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: 2far2TX

                                            Highly recommend Keaton's near Statesville for the barbecue chicken - it's great. Awesome mac and cheese as well.

                                            1. re: steveindurham

                                              I was wondering if someone would mention Keaton's in Statesville. Interesting place. Agree they have great chicken as well as sides. Funny sign out front says "No weapons allowed inside". Frank

                                          2. Keatons for chicken can't be beat. Great sides,too. Carolina BBQ is OK, but I like Little Richards better. Lexington #1 is good, might try Tar Heel Q on 64 near Lexington also. I found Clarks average.

                                            1. Bill's Barbeque in Thomasville, N.C. is very good. Their sause makes the Barbeque