A&M Grill or Allen and Son?
I am heading out to the Chapel Hill area soon, and have basically narrowed it down to A&M Grill in Mebane or Allen and Son in Chapel Hill. So 'hounds, where does your vote lie?
My vote is for Allen and Son, but in fairness I've never been to A&M Grill. For me, there's no reason to go anywhere other than Allen and Son.
Another vote for Allen & Son but I would note that BBQ freezes well, so you might want to get some to go from each place to do an at home comparison. I don't care for A&M's sauce so my recommendation is to ask them to put the sauce on the side.
Allen and Son. Whenever I go, it's either really good or amazing.
The one time I went to A&M, I got surly service and boring barbecue.
I may be one of the few that doesn't think that Allen & Sons is all that and a plate of hushpuppies. Mind you, I think they do a damn fine Q, but I do not buy into the mythology that theirs is the only barbecue in the world worthy of the name.
The only thing worth ordering at A&M is the barbecue. The rest of their food is not particularly good. The last time I was there was in November and I didn't feel that the Q was as good as it had been in the past. That may have been an off day or it may be their quality has dropped off. When they're good, they're very good.
The styles of the two places are different. If you have the time try both and decide for yourself which you like. Don't let the Q Cops convince you there is only one barbecue you're allowed to like.
For the record, I like lots of different kind of bbq...A&S, Lexington #1, Jot 'em Down in Athens, GA, Sprayberry's in Newnan, GA, etc, etc. However, as you say, A&S is damn fine, and may be my favorite.
I really think you're engaging in a bit of odd hyperbole when you say things like "I do not buy into the mythology that theirs is the only barbecue in the world worthy of the name" and "Don't let the Q Cops convince you there is only one barbecue you're allowed to like." I don't recall anyone ever saying either of those things on Chowhound. I know I haven't. You seem to have a bee in your bonnet about something, but I have no idea what it is.
I'm a huge fan of both places. I'd say we eat at the two with about the same frequency. They're two different styles of cue. Neither is purely Lexington or Eastern but A&M is more Lexington and A&S is more Eastern. On a good day (or in a good part of the pig), each can be sublime. Catch it at a bad time, each can be meh.
If I were in your shoes, I'd be sorely tempted to have a half meal at each (I-40 makes it so there are maybe 5 turns to go from one to the other) and decide for myself which is better.