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J.S. Pulliam BBQ, Winston-Salem,NC but go there for the hot dogs

I visited J.S. Pulliman BBQ today, not for the barbecue, but for what I consider the best hot dog in Winston-Salem and one of the top two best hot dogs in the entire state of North Carolina. Pulliam's is located on 4538 Old Walkertown Road just a few doors down from the, now defunct, Bell Brothers Cafeteria. I didn't realize it until today but there is an old photo hanging inside that says J.S Pulliam began operating in 1910. Now in its centennial year, the hot dogs are simply outstanding. Served on a buttery toasted bun, an "all the way" is mustard, chili, onion, and cole slaw. To enhance the experience I recommend adding a stream of the house BBQ sauce called Big Ed's. It comes in two variations, Mildly Hot and my favorite, Extremely Hot. Extremely hot means exactly what it says. I find a thin steam of the extremely hot added along the top of the dog to be a perfect addition. Sweet, savory with some mouth filling heat that takes a few seconds to fully bloom but pleasantly lingers for a good while. Yes! Big Ed's sauce is for sale for $2.50 a bottle here. Don't leave without a bottle or two. One of each is my routine. A variety of beverages are sold out of those old fashioned, chest type, machines. You know. Those machines that are probably older than your granddaddy. My beverage choice today was a old style bottle of NuGrape soda. A classic combination with the dog. B&G Fruit Pies are available for dessert.

A word for the uninitiated. The hot dogs are those red ones. "Gourmet" tubes not necessary. There are no seats here. You belly up to the small stainless steel bar and eat them standing or you can take them outside and sit down and eat them on the tree stumps out back. I'm not kidding. Another option is to use you car as a table. I just prefer to squeeze in between other patrons and eat them inside so I can re-add the hot sauce if necessary. Don't be shy, just squeeze in. No fries are offered on the short menu. No website, Facebook, or Twitter. The phone number is 336-767-2211. Hours are 10AM - 5:30PM, Tuesday-Saturday. Be sure to view some of the old vintage racing photos while there. The staff will be tickled to tell you all about them and the history of the place. The clientele will often range from corporate types to working stiffs all on equal footing and with a common purpose of dining on one of the best hot dogs served anywhere.

This is one of those places where you really should eat in the restaurant to get the full experience.I never do takeout at Pulliam's. Service is quick and polite. Don't be intimidated by the spartan appearance. The hot dogs are the main attraction. Places like this stay in business for 100 years for a very good reason. Just some of the nicest people you'll ever meet. I have never tried the BBQ so I can't comment.

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  1. Bluemold, I couldn't agree more with you on Pulliam's hot dogs. Every time I see a "what's the best hot dog" thread here or elsewhere, I always recommend these. The last time I did this the response I got was from some poor soul who said I must be the only person in the state that though Pulliam's dogs were good. HA!

    I do believe that folks these days like pretense...even with simple hot dogs. You don't get that at J.S. Pulliam's...that's for sure.

    Also, many folks don't like red dogs. When you grow up with the best red hot dogs of all time (Carolina Packers Bright-Leaf) there simply isn't anything that can match it. Don't get me wrong...I like a beef dog...but it just doesn't do it for me like a Carolina Packer does. I actually like them "charred" either on the grill or in a toaster oven. When they are at least 50% black they are fine...75% black isn't too much. At my grandparent's house we always had them boiled, which is good too...just not as flavorful as a charred one.

    Pulliam's dog are really good, but the buttered bun just set it off like a rocket. I had never had a toasted bun like this with a red hot dog. Wow, what a great idea.

    The time I visited Pulliam's I didn't try the bbq sauce on it...sounds good though. I like to add some Texas Pete on my dogs so the sauce sounds like it might fit the bill.

    On my visit I actually did go for the BBQ. I was in WS for a couple of days and wanted to try some local barbecue. Did an internet search and Pulliam's came up. When I got there I initially ordered a bbq sandwich and a hot dog. I ate in the car, and thought it was so good that I went back in and got another................hot dog. The bbq really isn't good. LOL It was like bbq mush on a bun. Not a recommendation. The hot dogs, however, are worth the trip.

    Great review!

    1 Reply
    1. re: JayL

      The bbq I saw there looks more like mince meat and is an odd, almost chocolate color. I assume it is machine ground after cooking from the looks of it. The guy next to me liked it though. He ordered one, finished it, then ordered another. I'll stick with the dogs.

      Pulliam's will remain near the top of my list. Number 1 on my list might be Bill's in Washington, NC but Pulliam's is so close it might as well be a toss-up. Both are very different products from each other but are uniquely great and both are red.

    2. After reading this piece in Serious Eats, I'm happy to find your thread on the board.
      http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/01/pu...

      Hope hell doesn't freeze over now that the Pulliam has a facebook page. :
      )http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid...

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      J S Pulliam Barbeque
      4400 Old Walkertown Rd, Winston Salem, NC 27105

      1. I'm told that Pulliam had a fire in the grill yesterday. It will need a health department okay before it can start serving again. Hopefully by friday!

        6 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Saw the fire dept over there yesterday and wondered what happened. Still never made it there after all my years in winston. Report back your thoughts on a carolina dog

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Normally I might be killed if I told you all about our super-secret other hot dog place that many argue is even better than Pulliam's. But since there was a fire and all, and because innocent hot dog addicts may die if they don't get their dogs, perhaps my life will be spared if I tell you to go to PB's in Ardmore.

            May the restaurant gods have mercy on my soul.

            1. re: arbyunc

              My host agrees with you on superiority of the dog at P B's Takeout, so you can blame it on him. :-J

              He also suggested Skippy's if one wanted a more extensive tour of Winston-Salem's hot dogs.

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              P B's Takeout
              1412 S Hawthorne Rd, Winston Salem, NC 27103

              Skippy's
              624 W 4th St, Winston Salem, NC 27101

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Never been to P B's Takeout but around my office, we are big fans of Skippy's. We haven't bothered going to Pulliam's since Skippy's opened up a few years ago.

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                Skippy's
                624 W 4th St, Winston Salem, NC 27101

                1. re: brentk

                  Skippy's is a mystery to me - pretzel bun's? Somebody has way too much time on their hands. And I agree P B's is better than Pulliam's, but both are great. Also try Little Richard's dog (the one on Country Club), Hill's Lexington BBQ on Patterson, Mr Barbecue on Peters Creek, and Kermits, even try it with pimento cheese. There is also a little place called the Piedmont Snack Bar, across from Smith Reynolds that has a nice dog.

                  1. re: fredb2548

                    Love Skippy's too. great quality and taste. have heard many good things about PB's but never been. The dogs at Lil Richard are ok but a better non cue choice is the country ham sandwich.

                    I think Hill's has gone way down in the last 20 years and I think most things that come out of the kitchen @ Kermits are horrid. I want to like them so much, the servers are nice, and they still do car service. But I had their pimento dog after trying pimento burgers at Harpers in greensboro and at Milners. The worst! flavorless store bought pimento cheese on a pink dog. Never again!