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Barbecue Road Trip

3rd Degree Berns Jul 29, 2009 04:39 PM

I will be travelling across the country over the next few months in search of the best and most unique barbecue restaurants from Kansas to Georgia. Please refer to the enclosed link to map/route and let me know if you know of any great places that might have slipped below my radar.



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  1. v
    veganhater RE: 3rd Degree Berns Jul 30, 2009 06:58 AM

    I don't know how much time you will spend in Eastern NC, but if you're going to be in ayden B's is not far away in greenville and well worth the trip (cleaner style than skylight, also great dark meat chicken). I have also discovered a little wood cooked treasure in Conetoe called blackbeards. They happen to be open for lunch on Sunday, which is rare. It's probably the smokiest ENC barbecue I've encountered, and utterly delicious.

    1. jamiecarroll RE: 3rd Degree Berns Jul 30, 2009 09:14 AM

      Wow! I'm jealous!

      You've picked a couple of great choices for the Nashville area (probably the best two, actually). You do realize that Martin's and Center Point are on opposite sides of town, and like an hour away from each other though, right?

      Regarding Memphis, I would strike Interstate and substitute either Payne's or Central. Payne's is the best barbecue sandwich in Memphis, which probably makes it the best in the world, and Central has some incredible ribs. And I wasn't that impressed with Interstate. But your other Memphis choices are spot on. If you want more info and pictures, I did some blog posts on my Memphis BBQ travels last year.




      3 Replies
      1. re: jamiecarroll
        3rd Degree Berns RE: jamiecarroll Aug 4, 2009 10:00 AM

        I forgot that I actually tried Central BBQ the last time I was in Memphis for a friend's bachelor party and really liked it. I've heard mixed reviews re: Payne's. Locals love it and swear it's the best but friends who I know that have tried it gave it less than stellar reviews. Sometimes barbecue places have subpar days so I'll add her to the agenda. Thanks!

        1. re: 3rd Degree Berns
          sjs1959 RE: 3rd Degree Berns Aug 12, 2009 10:39 AM

          It's a love it or hate it situation with Payne's, it depends upon the day you're there. I like the meat but thought the sauce was syrupy sweet. Yet, I have friends and family who say it is the Holy Land of pulled pork. for my mind, you're better off going to Bar-B-Q Shop for shoulder, and Central for ribs, and just skip the Rendezvous.

          If you have never tried BBQ spaghetti and think you might like it, by all means go to Interstate; they invented it.

        2. re: jamiecarroll
          3rd Degree Berns RE: jamiecarroll Nov 2, 2009 05:36 PM

          Thanks a lot for your recommendations and link to your blog. I ended up eating at Interstate and was fairly disappointed especially since I had heard great things. I thought BBQ Shop was incredible (best in Memphis) and I also liked the ribs at Germantown Commissary.

          Central BBQ
          2249 Central Ave, Memphis, TN 38104

        3. c
          chauly RE: 3rd Degree Berns Jul 30, 2009 08:21 PM

          If you're running up I-81 in Virginia, check out Franks for the Memories in Buena Vista (Exit 188A + 4.5 miles, right downtown) Edible Barbecue and sauce made right there...

          1. ted RE: 3rd Degree Berns Jul 30, 2009 10:02 PM

            Is this a road trip or a book project?

            3 Replies
            1. re: ted
              3rd Degree Berns RE: ted Aug 4, 2009 10:12 AM

              Road Trip / Spiritual Journey.

              1. re: 3rd Degree Berns
                lil magill RE: 3rd Degree Berns Nov 5, 2009 04:51 PM

                there was a destination spot -- local landmark around Spartanburg SC where they even held church services on Sunday. Gi-hugic place. Probably still there. Google it. Certainly worth the 'experience.' FYI -- IMO we're losing our culture of southern food to factory made and chain restaurants.... I've had very little really good barbeque in a year in the Carolinas. Most places don't smoke it, and even the caterers run to IGA for the 'igabbq 89cents' on special. I've only had really good 'pig' as they call it here on a game preserve... BTW, the former food critic for Esquire compiled essays into a book, 'Fork It Over.' One was just such a BBQ road trip. A good read....

                1. re: lil magill
                  carolinadawg RE: lil magill Nov 22, 2009 03:49 PM

                  Actually (and thankfully), NC still has lots of great bbq. Since you are in Chapel Hill, you should try Allen and Son, if you haven't already. Excellent 'q, cooked over hardwood the old way. They are located on Hwy. 86 between CH and Hillsborough.

            2. Dax RE: 3rd Degree Berns Aug 4, 2009 11:07 AM

              Cozy corner is great, just don't forget it's not open at night.

              1. c
                CyndiA RE: 3rd Degree Berns Aug 6, 2009 07:06 PM

                You might want to add Salisbury, NC stops. There's a debate as to whether Lexington style bbq started in Lexington or actually in Salisbury near the rail lines.

                Richard's Barbecue

                Wink's Barbecue

                and also Keaton's Barbecue

                But, get the barbi-fried chicken at Keaton's rather than the pork. Also note that Keaton's is out in the country - Cool Springs 64 exit off I40.

                Keaton's is listed as a top 10 in USA Today. Friend sent that link last week.

                1 Reply
                1. re: CyndiA
                  Hushpuppy RE: CyndiA Aug 6, 2009 11:24 PM

                  Also College Drive-In in Salisbury. Poor 'pups. Excellent barbecue.

                2. m
                  milkcrate57 RE: 3rd Degree Berns Aug 9, 2009 12:18 PM

                  that is an awesome list!

                  1. klmonline RE: 3rd Degree Berns Aug 9, 2009 05:36 PM

                    You already have an embarrassment of riches in Eastern NC, and the debate about preferences is as strong here as in any of the other cluster spots on your map. But I might recommend Grady's as another stop in that area. It is relatively close to Wilber's, which you already have on your list. On the other side of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

                    The address is the intersection of Arrington Bridge Road and Sleepy Creek Road in Dudley, out in the country. I far preferred it to Skylight Inn in a one-day apples to apples comparison. My report here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4542...

                    1. l
                      lutherben RE: 3rd Degree Berns Aug 11, 2009 07:40 AM

                      Between Martinsville Va. and Greensboro, NC there is a great BBQ place in Reidsville, NC named Short Sugars. Excellent pork BBQ cooked over hickory. The real deal!! Their sauce is very unique! It has been there for over 50 years. Search reviews on the web.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: lutherben
                        Naco RE: lutherben Aug 11, 2009 08:14 AM

                        Short Sugar's doesn't use wood anymore, but if you're going to be in the neighborhood anyway, it's worth a stop just to sample the weird sauce.

                        1. re: Naco
                          lutherben RE: Naco Sep 10, 2009 07:20 AM

                          I was at Short Sugars last week and they were cooking the BBQ with wood.

                          1. re: lutherben
                            Naco RE: lutherben Sep 10, 2009 07:29 AM

                            I've read multiple reports that they don't, although there seem to be some people saying that they finish the meat over wood/charcoal. I couldn't detect any smoke flavor when I last ate it, so I assumed it had been cooked on gas.

                            1. re: Naco
                              fcbaldwin RE: Naco Oct 21, 2009 06:44 AM

                              We had lunch at Short Sugar's in Danville last Friday (Oct. 16, 2009) and they were definitely cooking with wood ( I went around back and the brick smokehouse was a 'smokin', with a pit guy out there working it. Piles of wood stacked nearby). I will say that I've had better ENC barbecue, IMO, but this was the real thing for sure. My party of 4 all enjoyed our chopped 'Q sandwiches with sides of baked beans, hushpuppies (unlike I've had before: they were shaped like onion rings), french fries, and the cole slaw was really excellent. A very pleasant, casual place, and the owner (manager?) came around to check on us toward the end of our lunch.

                              1. re: fcbaldwin
                                Naco RE: fcbaldwin Oct 21, 2009 07:01 AM

                                Are they owned by the same people? I've only eaten at the one in Reidsville.

                                Wood or no though, it's not eastern style bbq.

                                1. re: Naco
                                  fcbaldwin RE: Naco Oct 21, 2009 07:45 AM

                                  It didn't occur to me to ask about the ownership; I've not been to the one in Reidsville.
                                  What would make it eastern, a different sauce? The sauce at the Danville location was vinegar based, but it was sweeter than I'm used to. And I really don't think it's western style.

                                  1. re: fcbaldwin
                                    Naco RE: fcbaldwin Oct 21, 2009 08:09 AM

                                    Lexington and eastern sauces are both vinegar based. Lexington just adds ketchup to the mix. Worcestershire sauce is also common in Lexington sauces, and since Short Sugar's sauce goes *very* heavy on the Worcestershire sauce, I'd call it Lexington style if you put a gun to my head and made me classify it. But truthfully, I block off Short Sugar's from everything else in my head. I don't know if they cook whole hogs or just shoulders, but the sauce is so unusual as to make the barbecue not indicative of any general style.

                                  2. re: Naco
                                    dfilpus RE: Naco Oct 21, 2009 07:48 AM

                                    Short Sugar's in Reidsville NC has no connection to Short Suga's in Danville VA. The Reidsville restaurant has two locations: the main restaurant on S Scales St and a lunch counter downtown.

                                2. re: Naco
                                  lutherben RE: Naco Feb 15, 2010 08:40 AM

                                  Short Sugars in Reidsville 2-13-2010. Still cookin with wood.

                                  1. re: lutherben
                                    3rd Degree Berns RE: lutherben Feb 15, 2010 09:38 AM

                                    Thanks! I've added it to my map of restaurants to try - http://www.communitywalk.com/3rddegre...

                          2. Davwud RE: 3rd Degree Berns Oct 21, 2009 08:02 AM

                            Sorry to hear your trip to Big Bob's was so bad. I was there, albeit at the Danville location, earlier this year and it was fantastic.

                            I would suggest that you give Dreamland a visit. They're my favourite ribs. We go to the one in Huntsville but the original in Tuscaloosa is supposed to be the best.

                            You may also want to try Daddy Dz in Atlanta. A complete dump with great Cue.

                            Perhaps next summer you can pay a visit to Jack Daniels in Lynchburg for their BBQ lunch on the hill.


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Davwud
                              Jesco RE: Davwud Oct 21, 2009 10:52 AM

                              I ate at the Short Sugar's Reidsville location for the first time in late Sept. I was a little disappointed with the meat, it seemed more like an over roasted pork roast. There was a fire going in a pit that you could see from the takeout counter but not a hint of smoke on the meat. I loved the sauce and brought home a bottle. I used it to make some excellent BBQ chicken.

                            2. sunsuze RE: 3rd Degree Berns Oct 30, 2009 07:49 AM

                              I just love the brick pit in Mobile. I hope that you do as well! Dreamland was a disappointment. Are you going to Clinton BBQ in Clinton Georgia? Their pulled pork and BBQ sauce is a favorite of mine but cannot compare to Brick Pit.

                              Brick Pit
                              5456 Old Shell Rd, Mobile, AL 36608

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: sunsuze
                                hazelhurst RE: sunsuze Nov 2, 2009 07:18 AM

                                Dreamland ain't worth shootin'...try Archibald's in Tuscaloosa (actually, Northport, across the river).

                                Nice to see Sprayberry's still in bidness. Have not been in years but sent someone there this morning and I might have a report in a few days..then again, he might not go.

                                1. re: hazelhurst
                                  3rd Degree Berns RE: hazelhurst Nov 2, 2009 05:31 PM

                                  Agreed about Dreamland. I can't believe that they grill the ribs over an open pit rather than slow smoking them. A more tender smoky rib would do wonders for that place, especially because I love their sauce.

                                  1. re: hazelhurst
                                    harley130 RE: hazelhurst Nov 3, 2009 03:32 AM

                                    The one and only time I went to Archibald's sucked. The meat (pork bbq and ribs) was way undercooked. Was so tough & stringy that we couldn't eat it. As to Dreamland, their ribs are not that good as was stated. However, if you have the chance to go then by all means do so. It one of those ledgendary places that all true Chowhounds want to get their picture taken in front of.

                                  2. re: sunsuze
                                    3rd Degree Berns RE: sunsuze Nov 2, 2009 05:27 PM

                                    I loved The Brick Pit in Mobile, AL. On the blog, I definitely gave it a perfect 10/10. I thought Clinton BBQ was good and slightly better than Fresh Air but not the same quality of the food as The Brick Pit.

                                    I also highly recommend Leatha's in Hattiesburg, TN and The Joint in New Orleans if you're down in that direction.

                                    Brick Pit
                                    5456 Old Shell Rd, Mobile, AL 36608

                                  3. Bluemold RE: 3rd Degree Berns Nov 2, 2009 02:48 PM

                                    If you are passing through Owensboro, Kentucky a visit to Moonlight BBQ Inn is a must.


                                    Really good place.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Bluemold
                                      3rd Degree Berns RE: Bluemold Nov 2, 2009 05:29 PM

                                      I was planning on going to Moonlite back in September but had to divert my roadtrip through Oklahoma when I got tickets to the UGA/OSU game. I hear a lot of mixed things... do you order mutton there? Please recommend dishes in case I make it through.


                                      1. re: 3rd Degree Berns
                                        Bluemold RE: 3rd Degree Berns Nov 5, 2009 06:00 AM

                                        3rd Degree: I just stick with the pork. I can't comment on the mutton as I've never tried it. Ask for a sample before you go all in would be my suggestion. I've heard mixed reviews about it which is understandable. Either you like it or you don't.

                                      2. re: Bluemold
                                        3rd Degree Berns RE: Bluemold Nov 2, 2009 05:33 PM

                                        I created this post before I started documenting my travels and forgot to share the URL...

                                        You can read my documentation & reviews here... http://3rddegreebbq.blogspot.com

                                        I will appreciate any recommendations and suggestions for future travels!

                                        1. re: 3rd Degree Berns
                                          Littleman RE: 3rd Degree Berns May 19, 2010 03:41 PM

                                          3rd Degree..........I see you have not traveled MS too much on your road trips. I would be happy to guide you around the MS Delta through Clarksdale, Cleveland, Greenville, Greenwood, etc. I will treat you to dinner at Doe's in Greenville. Bon Appetit.

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