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NC BBQ recommendations...

I'm heading down to the NC coast (somewhere in the Moorhead City vicinity) from Durham with some visiting Ohioans this week. I want to take 'em to a classic BBQ place on the way, and am considering Skylight Inn or Wilber's. Any thoughts? I'm a little embarrassed to say that even though I've lived in NC for over 10 years I've never been to either myself. Thanks!

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Skylight Inn
4618 S Lee St, Ayden, NC

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  1. If I was going to stop for Q in Goldsboro, I would pass on Wilburs and go to McCalls instead. Buffet style but very good and plenty of it.

    1. Skylight is very good, would definitely recommend.

      1. skylight.

        1. You could really make a case for either one. Skylight is my favorite of the two, but it's more idiosyncratic. All they have is barbecue(with copious amounts of skin mixed in), slaw, and cornbread, and a lot of people don't like Skylight's cornbread. I don't think I've ever met anyone from up North who has liked the cornbread. Wilber's has bbq chicken, brunswick stew and other things.

          9 Replies
          1. re: Naco

            Wilbers is much more on the direct driving route. Skylight would be more than an hour out of the way. I have eaten at King's, McCall's and Wilber's recently(last 3 months) and Wilber's is still my favorite.

            1. re: Jesco

              I agree with Jesco. Although people will argue to the death over which bbq restaurant is the best, both Skylight and Wilber's are fine representatives of eastern NC barbecue. IMO it's not worth driving an hour out of the way to go to Skylight when Wilber's is much closer to your route.

              1. re: arbyunc

                Nevermind.

              2. re: Jesco

                Do what? Skylight is more like 15-20 minutes from US70. Just pick up Highway 11 in Kinston. It'll take 5-10 minutes to get out of Kinston, and another 10 minutes to make it to Ayden.

                Or you could just take 264 to Greenville from the Triangle, then 11 south to Ayden, and then cut over on 102 east to US17, and head south from there.

                1. re: Naco

                  I had in my mind traveling from Goldsboro which would be greater than an hour out of the way. 25 minutes to Ayden from Kinston and then back is probably 50 minutes out of the way. If you wanted to travel thorugh Greenville then B's would be a good experience.

                  1. re: Jesco

                    Going via Kinston is definitely the better way. There's nothing but winding two lane roads between Goldsboro and Ayden. Highway 11 is all four lane between Greenville and Kinston and has a 60mph speed limit. You should be able to easily do it in 15-20 minutes.

                    But if you're planning part of the trip around this, just going to Morehead via Greenville/Ayden is only about an extra 10 miles versus going straight down 70.

                    As for B's, it's good, but the Skylight is much better. I'd go with it.

                    1. re: Naco

                      Historically, Naco and I argue a lot on these boards. In this case, he is 100% on the money.

                      1. re: Naco

                        I prefer Skylight over B's as well unless it has to be takeout. The skin is crispy in the restaurant but Skylight seems to get soggy in a takeout situation especially if it sits in the container for 30-60 minutes or more. If its got to be takeout I usually go with B's. Just my opinion.

                        1. re: Bluemold

                          This post is spot-on. Skylight is definitely better in restaurant (just based on barbecue), but not so much for take-out. That being said, if you're going to eat in skylight is the best way to indoctrinate an out-of-towner to our style of barbecue. In the restaurant, Skylight is better than Wilbur's, B's, McCall's and any other candidates I've tasted for barbecue. Worth a small amount of driving time to experience the best ENC barbecue and slaw.

              3. One more point. I've had mixed results at Wilburs. Sometimes great, sometimes average. Rather than Wilbur's if you don't want to drive to Ayden, justdrive 10 minutes south and hit Grady's in Dudley.

                1. Both are outstanding. If your taking 70 you will pass McCalls on the left in Goldboro. My favorite is B's. But if I am travelling around Wilson I like Cherry's. B's has some tremendous chicken and great slaw. Cherry's has great stew. I love them all as far as BBQ also.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bigwill524

                    I've heard several others laud McCall's but apparently I can not catch them at the right time. Based on my experience there I'd give them a middling grade. Kind of in the Parker's and Bill's category. Not bad but not great

                  2. I was at Skylight Inn (Pete Jones) today. A sign on the door announced BBQ chicken starting Sept. 1, 2010. Thursdays & Saturday or Thursday through Saturdays I can't recall which. All I know is BBQ chicken will be added to the menu for a limited number of days per week.

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                    Skylight Inn
                    4618 S Lee St, Ayden, NC

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Bluemold

                      Thanks for the tip. I haven't been recently.