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Allen & Sons BBQ

This is the one in Hillsborough.

I have been fortunate enough to eat here twice in the past two weeks. Their Q is awesome. However, their price seems out of line. A plate of Q with slaw and puppies and 1 coke is over $12.00 with tax and before tip. You do not get refills on soda either. Portions are good sized but not excessive. It seems overpriced to me compared to what I pay at other Q restaraunts. I'll think twice before I eat there again. Does anyone else feel this is overpriced?

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  1. I think they probably charge what it takes for them to stay open. If they didn't raise their prices they would likely have to close their doors.

    3 Replies
    1. re: blewgo

      It does sound like prices have gone up but that isn't unexpected given the rise in food prices.

      We tried to go to the CH Allen & Sons last night but they were, oddly, not open (no lights, no activity). We had a nice meal at BBQ Joint instead.

      1. re: brokegradstudent

        That's not odd. Allen & Son is only open for dinner Thursday-Saturday. Lunch they are also open Tuesday and Wed. It's always been like that.

        1. re: mikeh

          There's my problem, for some reason I thought it was W-Sat for dinner

    2. I stopped by there about a year ago to get takeout BBQ to take to my parents in Georgia as they'd heard so much about it -- for a pint, it did seem pricey compared with the Lexington BBQ I usually bring down....it was good, but IMHO Lexington is better....and just as far out of the way from Durham...

      1. Anybody can throw some meat and wood pellets in a gas smoker, set the thermostat and timer, and go home. Keith Allen chops his own hickory wood, burns it down to embers, which he then uses to cook his pork shoulders, tending the fire the whole time. This is a very labor intensive and time consuming work. In my mind, it's a craft to be appreciated and worth paying extra for. Get it while you can because I don't see people making BBQ this way for much longer. It's too hard and the alternative is just too easy.

        1. It's not overpriced when you consider that the guy wakes up at 2 a.m. every morning to singlehandedly man the BBQ pit for nine hours, bakes all 16 of his own pies, chops his own hickory wood, etc. The higher prices are just a figment of the loss in efficiency by being a one-man operation - but it's old-school, and one of the few left in this state.

          I personally like the taste of his Q more than any other place in the area (including anything east of I-95), so for me it's worth it the same way it's worth paying $20 for an entree at Lantern in CH. Think about it this way - a pizza at a non-fast-food pizza place will run you at least $12, and the time, effort, and uniqueness of the effort going into making that pizza is nothing compared to what Allen does to produce that Q.

          I haven't yet tried Lexington #1, but that's a 220-mi roundtrip that after you add the cost of gas and time, is far more pricey an endeavor coming from Durham.

          1. In my post, I failed to mention "heading to Atlanta" on end part of post re: same distance from Durham to Hillsborough or Lexington for BBQ -- as a veteran of I-85 from Durham to Atlanta for over 25 years, a side-track of a mile or two in Hillsborough vs. Lexington doesn't really make a big difference in the trip.

            4 Replies
            1. re: beebs

              "Anybody can throw some meat and wood pellets in a gas smoker, set the thermostat and timer, and go home." - I agree. But what about the other BBQ joints that cook with wood, like Stamey's in Greensboro or Lex BBQ, that charge much less($5-6.00 range for a plate of chopped.)? How can they sell their Q at a much lower cost?

              I agree that what he does is very labor intensive and probably should charge more than he does but in todays tough economic climate, I worry that his prices are out of line compared to other BBQ joints and his business might suffer. I certainly hope not as he makes some awesome Q but i have to watch my wallet as well. And I dont like the policy about no refills on soda. That seems outdated.

              1. re: webvanman

                Lex BBQ #1 has a reputation that's without equal in NC and pulls in people from near and far. Stamey's is in a busy part of Greensoboro that sees a lot of traffic. Allen & Son doesn'r have Lex BBQ #1's reputation and is located between Chapel Hill and Hillsborough (two small towns) in the boonies. So Allen & Son doesn't do nearly the same volume of business and thus get the economies of scale that the other two places do. Besides, I've had their BBQ, it's fine, but I like Allen & Son's BBQ much better primarily because it's smokier.

                That said, Allen & Son has a lunch deal where you get a substantial BBQ sandwich and a choice of one side for like $5.75. Easily fills me up and I'm not a little guy by any means. I've never gotten soda there so I didn't know that policy. However, if you get iced tea they bring you a glass and an additional carafe of tea to do your own refills for free.

                And as an aside, stick to his chopped pork. His ribs are terrible. Alway overcooked.

                1. re: bbqme

                  This thread actually inspired me to get some Allen & Son, which I'm eating right now after getting it to go. BBQ and brunswick stew combo. platter with slaw and hushpuppies. I'm eating this and thinking - you know, this didn't cost me more than the beef brisket platter + drink at Q-Shack, and no one ever seems to complain about the prices there.

                  and yes, please please don't get the ribs. they are awful. I've had an out-of-town friend who once insisted on getting them for himself, and he looked like he was dying while eating them. He ended up stealing half of my chopped pork.

                  1. re: mikeh

                    Hah, I had the brisket platter at the Q Shack for lunch last Thursday! The Q Shack's quality was inconsistent there for awhile when Dan Ferguson took on a partner and expanded into Raleigh and the Southpoint Mall. Now that he's severed those ties and is just making BBQ at the Durham location the quality of his product is better than ever.