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BBQ in Nags Head, NC

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We're spending a week in Nags Head at the end of June. I'm guessing that seafood will be plentiful, but we'd like to try some real NC BBQ while we are there, if possible. Any recommendations?

Also, where is a good place to buy some raw seafood to cook on our own?

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  1. there's some good seafood shops right on the beach road. don't know about the q.

    1. On the way down on Highway 158 there are two BBQ places - BJ's, about 10 miles from the bridge just after the Cotton Gin and on the Cotton Gin side of the road. Eastern NC BBQ and hushpuppies. I have only had a take out sandwich from them but I think they have the standard BBQ sides - slaw, banana pudding, greens, etc; and Saul's, same side of the road, just before Harbinger. They used to be in Manteo, and when there had a buffet with Eastern NC BBQ, ribs, fried chicken and fish, banana pudding, greens, hush puppies, etc etc. I think they still have the buffet at this "new" location but its served family style, not all laid out for self-serve. In Kill Devil Hills there is Pigman's BBQ. He has a variety of sauces, not just Eastern NC. He is on the right, kind of across from the Pizza Hut and Mama Kwan's. He also does a great BBQ tuna. All have good fresh tea.

      For seafood takeout, the Sugar Shack (associated with Sugarcreek Restaurant) on the right just past the turn to Hatteras is great. Lots of local fish, shellfish. They will steam or fry it for you if you like. Also you can eat out back overlooking the sound. For crabs go to Daniels, a little shack right at the bridge over to Manteo/Roanoke Island, on the right hand side of the road. The sell raw or steamed, in the shell or picked. His lump prices are the best. Take out only. This is a working crab shack with pickers in a room off to the side.

      For classic OBX restaurant seafood, no one does it better than Basnight's Lone Cedar on the causeway over to Manteo/Roanoke Island. Its on the south side, just past Tale of the Whale. Excellent fried shimp (the small local brown or green shrimp are sweeter than the jumbos if they are available get those) and oysters, scallops, crab cakes, soft shells. And good fresh tea. Also Striper's in Manteo is a nice change of pace from all the fried/broiled combo platters that are everywhere. He usually has a theme each week - spanish, french, island, asian, etc. Lots of seafood but also hamburgers, sandwiches, pasta. He makes all his sauces, including a chimichurri he floats in a fantastic oyster stew. Its in a small condo development called Shallowbag Bay, kind of behind the McDonalds on the way into Manteo and easy to drive right past. Its just past the old Weeping RAdish Brewery. The have indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the sound and the condo's marina, so there is usually some boating activity to watch.

      1. Eating barbecue on the outer banks will leave you wondering why people make a big deal out of it. At best you get chopped pork with vinegary sauce, but none of the pleasure of pit cooked whole hog. Depending on what direction you're coming from, there may be some worthy detours. From Philly, I think you would take 95 to 64. Take 43 to greenville (about 25 minutes ) and look for B's on your right. The pit will be billowing with smoke out back, and the lines are usually a little long. Get there early as they routinely run out of food. I order a combo with pork and dark meat chicken (the skin on the chicken makes it a must order) with slaw. The other side items (green beans, boiled potatoes, fries, corn sticks) are forgettable, but it doesn't matter. Their slaw, barbecue and sauce are perfect. order a couple pounds on the side and some slaw to take to the beach for lunch sandwiches. I like eating at the picnic tables outside, with a good view of the cooking action and great smoke aromas. They are closed on Sunday and Monday, and very busy on Saturday. If you're lucky, they still may have ribs available (I always ask and usually come up empty). Enjoy your trip and eat plenty of seafood.

        7 Replies
        1. re: veganhater

          Agreed. You are not going to get "Real NC BBQ" on the OBX. I will say that Bubba's does make some good food, though: http://www.bubbasbbque.com

          1. re: mojoeater

            I'll agree with veganhater and mojoeater. BBQ on the OBX is just ok, Bubba's would be my pick though. You might better off seeing if there's something with a better reputation not too far out of your way on the trip down.

            1. re: LBD

              High Cotton is by far the best BBQ around.Pig man maybe,Bubbas never.

              1. re: jellybear

                BBQ and decent sweet tea is almost nonexistant on the OBX. Bubbas doesn't even deserve to be called Q.

                1. re: whitehackle

                  I probablly shouldn't offer any suggestions. My inlaws live in Southern Shores and everytime we visit they get take out from a different place and I can usually never remember the name of where they get it and I've never had any I'd go back for more of. I DO remember High Cotton being really dried out. I grew up in Chapel Hill and live in Durham so if I feel like BBQ I just hit Allen and Sons. When I'm on the OBX I'm usually on my inlaws dock catching crabs or getting them to babysit so we can go to Blue Point.

            2. re: mojoeater

              Bubba's is no longer in business. Moot point.

            3. re: veganhater

              The location this poster is referring to is a 3 hour drive from "the outer banks". I'm sure this place is good, but it's definitely NOT on the Outer banks. Just sayin'.

            4. Bubba's - nooooooooo! Terrible stuff. Terrible service.
              Pigman's. Eh - it's OK. nothing special. The 'Tuna-Q' is a marketing ploy. If you want really interesting tuna tacos with BBQ sauce, try the Rundown.
              Sooey's - only try this is you really, really like sauce that is literally nothing but vinegar and red pepper flakes. The pork isn't bad, though.

              No one has mentioned the gold standard for Carolina BBQ on the Outer Banks - Corolla Village BBQ. It's in historic Corolla Village - a little hole in the wall take out place (although there are a few picnic tables where you can eat if the weather's nice). Great barbecue, good cole slaw, outstanding baked beans, and a very nice Caroline style sauce. The owner and cook is a great, friendly guy.

              I can't say enough about this place. It is 40 mile BBQ for sure - we've been driving that far for takeout every time we visit the beach. Having done it for years, I can tell you that it is well worth taking a cooler and heading to Corolla. Take in the sights, climb the lighthouse, tour the Whalehead Club, take the kids to a program at the Wildlife Education Center, then pick up some barbecue for dinner. You won't be sorry.

              As far as barbecue on the way, if your trip takes your though Petersburg, VA, be sure to stop at King's Barbecue on S. Crater Rd. Family owned and operated for decades. Best BBQ around. Best cole slaw ever.

              Second the tip for Basnight's Lone Cedar. All fresh, all local.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Leronis

                Have to respectfully disagree with Kings in Petersburg. Ate there last summer and wasn't impressed with the 'q. Very generic.