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Eastern NC BBQ Odyssey

A buddy and I are celebrating the fact that we're both turning 40 by attempting to consume as much Eastern NC BBQ as possible in a weekend. We're definitely hitting B's in Greenville (been dying to go there), Skylight in Ayden, and Wilber's in Goldsboro (my longtime fave). Any suggestions on what else to hit or to avoid? I'd originally been considering Parker's and Bill's in Wilson, but I dunno now that they've been dropped from the NCBS trail. They added Jack Cobb and Son, so I'm considering that. Anyone know the hours? Also, anyone have any opinions and info on Grady's in Dudley? Blackbeard's in Conetoe gets a ton of love hereabouts, so I'm seriously considering that as well.

Any recommendations on restaurants and routes and info on hours would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. Definitely skip Parker's and Bill's. There is no good eastern NC bbq in Wilson anymore that I know of. If you need to grab a bite to eat in Wilson, head to El Mexicanito for superb tacos.

    Watch out for construction on MLK/5th St./43 leading to B's. You may want to use B's Barbeque road to get to it instead, depending on where you're coming from.

    Jack Cobb's is only open on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. I'm not sure about the hours. I go to most of these places at lunch, except for Pete Jones. They do good bbq which I think really shines if you get a sandwich, because their slaw is excellent. I would add it to your itinerary.

    Pete Jones has been firing on all cylinders lately. The last couple of times I've eaten there(over the last month or so) have been the best that I've had from there in 10-15 years.

    Blackbeard's should definitely be on your list. Excellent bbq that is as good or better than the more well known places, and great traditional sides. Make sure to try some pork skins. Everything at Blackbeard's oozes eastern NC tradition. It's like a study of traditional foods. I love it.

    I haven't made it to Grady's yet, so I can't offer any comments there. My current ranking would be:

    1. Pete Jones(I recently said that I liked Blackbeard's more, but then Jones turned out the best bbq I've had in a long time)

    2. Blackbeard's

    3. B's

    4. Jack Cobb's

    5. Wilber's

    Hours: B's you will need to hit early. They can close by 1 or 2pm if they sell out. They open very early though, 8:30-9am IIRC.

    Pete Jones is open daily until 7pm, except for Sunday.

    Blackbeard's is Thu-Sun only. Thu-Sat hours are 11am-8:30pm, Sun is 11:30am-3pm.

    1. I've been hearing a lot lately about Rev Wayne's in Rocky Mount, on NC 97 near the airport. It may be worth adding to your trip. I've been trying to get by there but just can't seem to make it in when I'm in the area. As soon as I do, I'll let you know if it's worth the stop-in.

      5 Replies
      1. re: wb247

        Is this a private residence? I tried finding it in Google Maps' street view a while back, and didn't see anything like a restaurant in the area, so I figured it was a dead/inaccurate listing.

        1. re: Naco

          no, i'll get you an address and some hours, hopefully before the weekend. all i know off-hand is that it is on the south-bound side of the road, between US 301 and the food lion (a 5-6 mile stretch). If you look on google earth, it's the free-standing building that looks like a restaurant, between dunbarton road and shenandoah drive, on nc 97 south; south rocky mount vicinity, west of US 301.

          1. re: wb247

            I called and got the hours.

            6am-2pm Tu-Thur

            6am-8pm Fri-Sat

            Person answering the phone said it's oven cooked, though.

            1. re: Naco

              Sorry it took so long. If you're still interested, the address is 11792 NC 97. I see you already got the hours. Oven-cooked isn't surprised; they didn't try real hard to sell me on the Q, as much as they did on fresh sides, ribs, and chicken. Especially the ribs.

              1. re: wb247

                Fresh sides will get me in the door, especially since I'm in Rocky Mount fairly often and there is hardly anything worth mentioning over there.

      2. I really like Bunns in Windsor, NC-127 n King St - 252 794 2274. It has been there in an old gas station since 1938.
        My favorite is Bs in Greenville. It has been rumored that they will close due to the road widening. Naco, any truth to that?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Tee

          No, there is no truth to rumors that B's has closed or will close. The owners said as much to the local paper.

          1. re: Naco

            That is good news. I was there 2 weeks ago and they seemed to be coping with the road construction.

            1. re: Tee

              The construction can be a pain if you hit it on the right day, but it shouldn't deter anyone. It's been really good lately, too. I don't know if it's the weather or what.

        2. Here's my write up on Grady's from this summer:
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4542...

          Have fun!

          1. You asked about Grady's and it is a hidden gem among the more well known establishments and not too far (~ 12 miles) from Wilbur's. Located east of Dudley near Sleepy Creek. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

            My big four joints, in no particular order, are Skylight Inn, Ayden, NC B's in Greenville, NC (both in Pitt County 10-12 miles apart) and Grady's, and Wilbur's in Goldsboro. (Both in Wayne County)