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Virginia BBQ

What's your favorite VA BBQ joint?

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  1. The Silver Pig in Monroe VA. They do a killer East Carolina style pulled pork that's smoked out back. Great slaw. Great hushpuppies. Good peach cobbler. I very rarely order pulled pork now because after the Silver Pig oher places always dissapoint.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Cameraman

      will have to check it out...I really liked a place in Yorktown called the county grill? there are 2 locations...the one in Yorktown was really good! Thanks for the post!

      1. re: Cameraman

        Isn't Silver Pig Barbecue in Madison Heights?

        1. re: Hushpuppy

          You are correct. My bad. I left Lynchburg a year ago and the details are starting to fade.

      2. i like both buzz & ned's and TD's Smokehouse in Richmond. Buzz & Ned's has great ribs and sides - especially collards, bourbon apples, mac & cheese, hush puppies. TDs has great pulled pork and smoked chicken and yummy green beans. MMMMMM.....
        will have to check out the others as well.

        5 Replies
        1. re: AMFM

          I like Buz & Ned's and Benny BBQ on Forest Hill. Keep wanting to try TD's but haven't had the chance. I think Grandpa Eddie's is overrated but am used to being the cheese standing alone when it comes to some of the darlings or Richmond restaurants :-)

          1. re: Janet from Richmond

            Haven't been there yet but know the owners and they are really nice - so I know I'll want to like it! :)

            1. re: AMFM

              so we finally made it. i actually thought the ribs and pork were pretty good. i thought the smoked wings were fabulous. the chicken was "eh". the sides were pretty dreadful - except the cornbread which was tasty. i'd go back for wings and bbq sandwiches but not big platters. i think it was definitely a case of doing some things better than others.

          2. re: AMFM

            Buzz and Ned's is fabulous,but a bit pricey BBQ)!! Good beer selection too! TD Smokehouse is a complete letdown, bad service, and dirty. Buzz and Ned's is RIC'S best BBQ!!!!

            1. re: hhutchi25

              it's not really a service place. interesting. never noticed it to be dirty but i haven't been in a while. hope it hasn't gone downhill.

          3. The VA Pork Festival in Emporia never disappoints. Open bar might have something to do with that, though.

            2 Replies
              1. re: bythebayov

                Sorry for taking so long to reply. It's always the 2nd wednesday in June. Check out: http://www.vaporkfestival.com/

            1. I think my favorite is Cowling's on Rt. 460 in Waverly, VA. They smoke it out back in a log burner building. Sides are decent as well.

              5 Replies
              1. re: fcbaldwin

                Is this near Petersburg of Suffolk? thanks!

                1. re: bythebayov

                  It's just about midway between Petersburg and Suffolk. If you know where the Virginia Diner is in Wakefield, Cowling's BBQ is maybe 5 miles west of that. Like so many "real" barbecue places, the menu is sort of limited. They do have fried chicken, but I go there for the 'Q. They have their own vinegar based sauce but it's on the side...you add it yourself if you want it.

                  1. re: fcbaldwin

                    hi frank, thanks for checking out the blog and for the nice comments...means alot, as for the bbq joint, what do you order...are you a traditional pulled pork kinda guy? What do you recommend?
                    :) Julia
                    ps. will prob check it out this sun (if they are open on sudays if not in the near future...my mother in law lives in Petersburg and we take 460 from orf to get there)

                    1. re: bythebayov

                      Julia, your site is great! I love the pictures of the dishes and thanks for the recipes...my wife is the cook and I've referred her to it.
                      Cowling's is open Sundays and there is usually a sizable after church crowd. I always order the "deluxe" pulled/chopped pork sandwich plate, which includes cole slaw and fries. Pretty basic. We usually also share an order of their onion rings, which are made from scratch there and wonderful. You will hear the guy chop-choping the Q behind the counter.

                      1. re: fcbaldwin

                        sounds like heaven!! I've gotta try it and will def order the deluxe plate and some o-rings :)

              2. I agree with previous posters. Silver Pig and Cowling's are pretty good. Sadly, the best one of 'em all, Wallace Brothers Barbecue in Lambsburg, closed two years ago.

                1. I don't honestly know a lot about barbecue in terms of what the generally accepted hallmarks of greatness are supposed to be. I do love pulled pork and my favorite sandwiches are at Jinx' Pit's Top Barbeque in Charlottesville, VA.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ccbweb

                    To me, good bbq has to taste like smoke, has to be tender, juicy and the sauce has to be something special...The sauce is only a component that makes good bbq a true masterpiece. I love BBQ!

                  2. Has anyone heard of bbq with a white sauce...think I saw a show on travel chanel w/ this special "white sauce." If so, what's in it and where can I find it?

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: bythebayov

                      Many many years ago I used to patronize a great bbq outside Bristol VA. I found it in ROAD FOOD by the Sterns. It was in a white building -- and it was amazing! Not NC style, but more Texas style. Does anyone know this place?

                      1. re: pickypicky

                        I would guess you might be thinking about the Ridgewood restaurant in Bluff City, Tennessee, which was in the 1983 Goodfood by the Sterns (their second book; their first was Roadfood). They called the Ridgewood's barbecue "perfection." The place has expanded since 1983, but there's still always a line. In 1983, as the Sterns wrote about it, it was on U.S. Highway 19E, a winding road through some East Tennessee hills. It's still on that winding road, but it's no longer U.S. Route Highway 19E, which has been moved to a newer, straighter highway. The pork barbecue is made from hams, and many fans believe it is best sliced, rather than pulled or chopped. In my opinion, the barbecue is really good, maybe great, and is worth a side trip if you're in the area. The Sterns said they'd eaten a lot of barbecue, but that from the Ridgeway was "the best." I wouldn't go that far for the barbecue, though I would concede it's probably true for the beans they serve with it. The roadfood.com website today says it is worth driving 100 miles to have barbecue at the Ridgewood. Though the Ridgewood is not in Virginia, it is only about 25 miles from Bristol. The Ridgewood Restaurant, Bluff City, Tn. 423-538-7543

                        1. re: Potomac Bob

                          Bless you, P. Bob, I'm sittin' in San Diego dyin' jes dyin' cuz I'm 2000 mi away and that is a rite tasty post. This is indeed the place I meant. I aint bin in mebbe 20 years, but praise Jesus! The Ridgewood lives! Sorry to lapse into dialect. I am very homesick. . .

                      2. re: bythebayov

                        White barbecue sauce is a specialty in Alabama, though it is spreading to other areas that may feature "Alabama" BBQ. White Barbecue Sauce was made famous by Big Bob Gibson's BBQ in Decatur, Alabama. Big Bob serves all sorts of barbecue, pork, beef, chicken, and recommends the white barbecue sauce only with chicken or beef brisket. It is a mayonnaise-based sauce with vinegar, cider and seasonings, maybe including horseradish. If you don't have an Alabama-style barbecue joint in your area, you can order the white sauce online at bigbobgibson.com.

                        1. re: Potomac Bob

                          dixie bones (woodbridge) offers an excellent white bbq sauce.

                          anyone, is there a good bbq in close-in nova? i'm getting a craving for good smoked baby back ribs and pulled pork, east carolina style. good sides.

                      3. It's not a joint. It's more like a happening. Cuz's Uptown Barbecue in Pounding Mill VA. That's way out in Tazewell County, close to nuthin.

                        1. K&L Barbecue in Hopewell does some of the best eastern NC style 'cue you'll find anywhere. I also like to stop at the Stony Creek Tastee Hut in Stony Creek(just off I-95 south of Petersburg), but for the hush puppies. The barbecue is good, but those hush puppies are the best I've ever had.

                          1. Best pork bbq sandwich I've experienced so far is Malbon Bros in Virginia Beach. Located in a Citgo station...can't miss with them. Haven't gotten around to trying their ribs etc, their pulled pork is too good! I've always wanted to try Buzz & Neds, will have to check it out.

                            1. For NC style, Short Sugar's in Danville.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: dfilpus

                                Short Sugar's isn't indicative of any style but its own. The sauce they use is neither a Lexington nor an eastern style sauce; it's completely unique to that one restaurant.

                                1. re: Naco

                                  dfilpus: How so? What makes their sauce so unique? Thanks.

                                  1. re: carolinadawg

                                    Short Sugar's sauce is dark in color(it looks like soy sauce) and has a sweet twinge to it. I've never been anywhere that uses a sauce that's even remotely similar. I liked it, though.

                                2. re: dfilpus

                                  I must respectfully disagree.. Short Sugar's in Danville is the best reason to drive another 1&1/2 hrs to Greensboro or Lexington! IMHO, it's about the most dissapointing BBQ I have ever had. The big chains can do better.

                                3. We tried Q last weekend. It certainly smelled promising - really good wood bbq smell when you walk in. I thought the prices were high, and the BBQ just average at best. I had the BBQ sandwich, with slaw and fries, DH had two meats with two sides (brisket and pulled pork, with greens and baked beans). I thought my sandwich was good, but DH was unhappy with his meal. For $14, he thought the meat portions were small, and kind of fatty. He didn't think the smoke flavor was very much, either. He liked his greens, didn't like his beans. My sandwich and fries were about $10 after upgrading to the large sandwich.

                                  He has a lot of trophies and credentials, but it just wasn't great. We really wanted to love it, too.

                                  DH says he thinks Extra Billy's is the best of all the places in Richmond. I like PQ's bbq a lot, too - best hushpuppies and hand-dipped corndogs you can't beat.

                                  1. go directly to harris teeter grocery store, prepared foods section (not next to sushi, but not too far away), and find the "north carolina bbq" deli container tray (black plastic rectangle, clear top) of pulled pork from brookwood farms, siler city, n.c. (a bit less than a pound) and enjoy.

                                    no big label, just look for an oval sticker "carolina bbq".

                                    authentic eastern carolina flavor, NO fatty crap like those "tubs" from other places. no fake smoke.

                                    it is the real deal. around $5.50/container --@12-14 oz.. let me know if i steered you wrong.

                                    thank me!

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      I am doing this this afternoon. Thanks! I'll report back.

                                      1. re: ccbweb

                                        cc, are you still in sanfran? didn't realize ht was there.

                                      2. re: alkapal

                                        I just have to add that it's even better with a quick sauce of apple cider vinegar, a little ketchup and red pepper flakes.

                                      3. Pierces near Williamsburg - try JC's special!

                                        1. S & S in South Hill, Allman's in Fredericksburg, Pit Boss in Roanoke, Galax Smokehouse in Galax, Jinx in C'Ville, Little Pig BBQ in Petersburg & Cowling's BBQ in Waverly are just a few.

                                          1. I second Short Sugar's in Danville and I think Cuz's BBQ in Pounding Mill had a fire and they are no longer in business, the barn burned down. Choppedonion.com

                                            1. Sibley's in Chester is my favorite. They out do Buz and Ned's and Brock's just up the road also fails the test. When I can't get to NC I go to Sibley's in Chester. Cowling's on 460 E. toward Waverly is also one of my choices.

                                              20 Replies
                                              1. re: rbish39

                                                Buzz and Ned's - there is no substitute!

                                                1. re: beauxgoris

                                                  Oversmoked, you must not be a real NC barbcue fan. Benny's even hits a home run.

                                                  1. re: rbish39

                                                    Buz & Ned's has good BBQ, but it's deifnitely not NC style. Benny's is my top pick for pulled pork. And the people at Benny's aren't jerks like those at Buz & Ned's.

                                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                      ^^The original post didn't ask for best NC style BBQ - just best BBQ in the area, and for me that's Buzz and Ned's. Counter people aren't "jerks" when I'm there, although sometimes they're swamped - but that's something else.

                                                      1. re: beauxgoris

                                                        Try to order ahead and then get back to me. Seriously, Buz (who spells it with one "z" not two) is one of the most arrogant, self-important people I've ever come across.

                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                          ^^Are you trying to keep people from eating there - or do you have a personal grudge? All I know (or frankly care about) is where to go to pick up good BBQ.

                                                          1. re: beauxgoris

                                                            I am not trying to keep people from eating there. Just letting them know what to expect if they choose to eat there, just as with any other dining establishment. Service (as is pointed out often especially on the Not About Food board) is part of the package as well as the food. Years ago, I was a champion of Buz & Ned's....today not so much. Do they have good food? Yep. But discovering Benny's BBQ made my pulled pork world a much better place....the pulled pork is as good and the people are very nice. Dh makes good ribs and I make good mac and cheese and so now having people over for grub is much easier than jumping through the hoops and loops of Buz & Ned's.

                                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                              both are in chester? I live in hampton roads..how far from here? Will drive for good bbq :-)

                                                              1. re: bythebayov

                                                                Buz & Ned's is in north Richmond, near I-64. Benny's is in south Richmond off of Forest Hills Ave. I want to try that one in Chester,
                                                                'tho.. Sibley's. Sounds good.
                                                                Hey Julia, did you ever go to Cowling's? I was just wondering what you thought of it if so.

                                                              2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                really? i don't like the pulled pork at buz & ned's but love the ribs and sides and when i ordered for a party buz couldn't have been nicer on the phone with serious offers to help however he could. and everything was okay when i got there days later to pick up - which is often not the case.

                                                                still love TD's pulled pork and chicken (also some good sides - green beans rock). i think grandpa eddie's has decent pulled pork too but bad sides.

                                                                1. re: AMFM

                                                                  by the way - the pulled chicken's fine but it's the smoked chicken that i think is really great at td's. one of these days i have to try alexanders as that's out my way too. now you all are making me crave bbq.

                                                        2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                          I'm really glad to hear someone else say this....never really understood the attraction to Buz and Ned's. IMO, the BBQ is not that good, even for VA BBQ, the sides aren't that good, and finally someone has commented on the attitude of the guys at the counter. I've been 3 times thinking I just wasn't "getting" it, when in fact I was getting it loud and clear. Just not my kind of place. Benny's is very good, more comfortable atmosphere, easier parking. Might also try the BBQ place on Cary St. across from the Byrd Theatre (Double T's?). Unless they've changed, they bring the pork to the table unsauced, with 3 sauces on the table, VA, NC, and SC (which was surprisingly good honey-mustard based.) Except for the parking, good alternative to Buz and Ned's.

                                                          1. re: billonthehill

                                                            i've never been to benny's and would like to try but it is interesting how different people like different things. i've been to double t's several times and really don't like it.

                                                            1. re: AMFM

                                                              Guess it's that old thing about differences of opinions making for good horse races..... what I find interesting are differences even with people you are close to. My sister, for instance, will sit at a table and pick crab meat from steamed crabs until her fingers are raw. I wouldn't give 2 cents for it, even though we grew up at the same dinner table.
                                                              As for BBQ, I've heard about a place called King's BBQ on Rt. 301, just north of the Wagner Rd (I think) exit, south of Petersburg. Been told it's pretty close to NC style which I prefer. Haven't tried it yet.

                                                              1. re: billonthehill

                                                                i do like some great NC style - have only found it in NC though! :) if you haven't been to TD's (which admittedly claims to be kansas city style - i recommend you try it). it's a great deal - unlike Buz & Ned's - and i really do like it. and i swear i have no affiliation! :)

                                                                1. re: AMFM

                                                                  If you are a NC barbcue fan and really enjoy good NC cue get down to your local Sam's and get a tub of Lancaster's NC style barbcue. This is the closest thing to NC cue sold around Va. Has that good vinegar taste from NC style. When I can't get to NC this is it.

                                                                2. re: billonthehill

                                                                  King's is at the Wagner Rd Exit go to Crater Rd and turn right. It' s a local place that has been there for years consistently good and off shoot of King's is Eley's Barbcue off I-85 in Sutherland south of Petersburg. Prince George Barbcue on 460 has good cue but is a smoking place and can drive you out with the smokers. Not my cup of tea although the food is good and can get it to go.

                                                                  1. re: rbish39

                                                                    cool. thanks. will keep it in mind if i'm down that way.

                                                                  2. re: billonthehill

                                                                    Been to King's and it's good! Cheap too! Definitely give it a try :)

                                                                3. re: billonthehill

                                                                  Like your comment about Buzz and Ned's I kept hearing people say it was the best. So I tried it disappointed all the way. Ribs were not that good, barbcue was over smoked. Just not my kind of place. Either Benny's are Sibley's is my choice/ Sibley's is closer to NC style. Everybody said try Brock's not close to the last two mentioned. Tried Pierce's down toward Williamsburg, to sloppy like a Sloppy Joe. When I crave Barbcue I go to Sibley's.

                                                        3. Q BBQ have now passed all the opening inspections.

                                                          2077 Walmart Way, Midlothian, Virginia.

                                                          Write up is posted below.

                                                          Just an add in,is that Tuffy [Cool Smoke Cook Team] was third overall at the Jack Daniels World Invitational in Lynchburg,Tn this past weekend.

                                                          18th Chicken
                                                          2nd Ribs
                                                          13th Pork
                                                          9th Brisket

                                                          This is probably more scoring than all the east central coastal states teams have combined in the Jack's 25 yr history.


                                                          1. Q is right near my house, I'll have to go try it.

                                                            Extra Billy's has decent food, but it always seems to be full of screaming kids.

                                                            Buz and Ned's ... meh. Always heard it was great but wasn't that impressed. See also: Smokey Pig.

                                                            Pierce's Pitt--I like it. Has the ambiance of a fast food place but the sandwiches are awesome.

                                                            Double T's--pricey but good. If the owner's there he'll talk your ear off and give you free food.

                                                            Haven't tried Benny's because I've never seen it even though I'm on Forest Hill a lot.

                                                            And will someone please explain to me why Bill's is still in business? It's not even BBQ, it's boiled meat.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: MandalayVA

                                                              Already tried Q, not impressed it was pricey and the Q just did not score with me.

                                                              Extra Billy's the Q is to smokey just not good Q. The meat is good but just over smoked.

                                                              Buz and Ned's, i'am with you. Saw it on the Food Channel so give it a try was not impressed.

                                                              Pierce's, I must have hit a bad day because there barbcue was like eating a Sloppy joe I just wasn't impressed.

                                                              Bill's I'am with you I don't even go there it's just not real Q.

                                                              Have you tried Hill Billy Red's closed to being good barbcue, it kinda reminds me of the old Andy's Barbcue.

                                                              1. re: rbish39

                                                                sloppy joe is a good description for pierce's bbq - I still like it once in awhile. It makes me nostalgic.

                                                            2. No, I still havent made it to cowlings...cant wait to try it though! Maybe over the holidays!

                                                              1. The best is Pit-Boss BBQ in Roanoke, Virginia! Great wings too. www.chopeedonion.com

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Choppedonion

                                                                  got Pierce's last night for dinner...Now I remember why I like this place so much!

                                                                2. BBQ Ranch in Harrisonburg is the BEST!

                                                                  1. Interesting post, but most of the discussion is about central or eastern VA (with the exception of the above Harrisonburg and Bluff City restaurants) Well be driving south along the full length of I -81 at the end of the month. We're interested in recs for bbq or the best local food within 10 miles of the Interstate. Traveling with DH and 2 grade school children.

                                                                    Please save me from the fast food found along the road!

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: jwg

                                                                      my advice: look out for the smokies -- and i don't mean sausages! I-81 is renowned! i didn't realize that 81 starts up in ny at the canadian border (wellesley island) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersta...

                                                                      also, jwg, you should start a specific request thread for your trip on the south board.

                                                                    2. i saw that "buzz" bbq guy (richmond) on a flay throwdown. he looked pretty full of himself.

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                        He is....and much worse since the throwdown.

                                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                          i can imagine! like adding a hickory log to your campfire! (and squirting with gasoline)

                                                                          ps, gonna give my restaurant report from my trip at the end of may on that thread. thanks for your tips.

                                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                            he is - i'd agree. but i worked with him in planning a carryout order for my son's party that i'm certain was small potatoes for them and he was NICE as can be on the phone and gave great reheating directions and laughed about showing up at my house to help grill the ribs. really there are reasons he got to where he is. he can be quite charming and helpful and the food is pretty good. not the best ever but really pretty good.

                                                                            1. re: AMFM

                                                                              We used to do carryout from there for 10-20 people about twice a month on average back in the day. I would call on Wednesday or Thursday and arrange to pick it up on Saturday or Sunday as the case may be. After The Throwdown episode I called and he told me he needed at least 7 days notice (I was ordering a quart of pulled pork, 4 racks of pork ribs, and a bunch of mac and cheese) and started lecturing me about how REEEEEAAALLLL BBQ takes time, if I want substandard BBQ go elsewhere, etc. Now we go to Benny's or Q.

                                                                              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                that would be annoying. mine was after the episode, but not "right" after. maybe the "buzz" had died down. what a bad pun. :)

                                                                            2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                              Try Va. Bar b cue over on the southside off of Court House Rd very good.

                                                                          2. anything right off rt 95? I'll be on a road trip

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: joanied

                                                                              dixie bones in woodbridge, va is very close to interstate 95.

                                                                              1. re: joanied

                                                                                Which direction you going? Roanoke Rapids, Nc has Ralph's Barbcue off 95. Not my pleasure thou. Anywhere in NC Smithfield Chicken & Barbcue hits my fancy.