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36 hours in Eastern North Carolina- BBQ itinerary please

Hello, Chowies! I am taking a roadtrip with a buddy, driving down Saturday morning to NC from DC, to spend about 36 hours eating Q. Thought about starting with lunch at Parker's in Wilson, NC, but was a little let down on my last visit there. Will be spending the night in Raleigh, but have all day Saturday and most of Sunday to eat Q. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance, Wise Ones.

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  1. Parker's is not a destination restaurant. If you're coming down for the sole purpose of driving around eating barbecue, there is no reason to go there.

    If it were me, I would eat at the following places, ordered by priority:

    1. Skylight Inn, Ayden
    2. Blackbeard's, Conetoe
    3. Grady's, Dudley
    4. B's, Greenville
    5. Wilber's, Goldsboro
    6. Jack Cobb's, Farmville

    The only two that are open on Sunday are Wilber's and Blackbeard's. Blackbeard's is only open from 11am-3pm on Sunday. If you want to go to B's, get there very early, because they can and often do run out of barbecue early in the day.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Naco

      Thanks to all of you barbageniuses. The trip was an absolute success for everyone (including my cardiologist, who will probably be able to retire on my medical needs after this weekend). I stuck largely to Naco's suggestions and Jesco's itinerary, starting out early at B's in Greenville, arriving there from DC around 11 to find an already packed out house (much like my favorite BBQ joint in the universe, Craig's in De Valls Bluff, Arkansas, which usually is jammed by 10:45). The chicken there was the best I've ever had- crispy and flavorful outside and a sponge of juice on the interior. We had a second lunch at Skylight, which was also amazing- big chunks of skin and gelatinous goodness in the pork, and that cornbread was something ethereal. Almost tasted like hardened corn pudding. We then went to Grady's, which was good but not on the par of the first two places (it may be that my friend and I were literally about to explode). I did find room for banana pudding there, which was freezing and refreshing (you are in rough shape if pudding is refreshing). We took a few hours off and then went to Wilber's for dinner, were we arrived on the later side, as it was winding down, which meant we got a lot of attention from the folks working there, who were wonderful, as was the Q and the fried chicken livers. My friend was enamored with the chicken, although it was a little too cream of mushroom soupy for me. I stuck with the tangy cue. The next day, on the way back up north, we stopped at Blackbeard's. It looked a little too Key West for me to take seriously, so I scoffed a bit and suspended disbelief to place a big order of cue, mustard greens salad and blueberry cobbler with banana ice cream. I am glad I did, because the blissful memory of it was enough to get me through all the traffic I faced coming home.

      I am about to be deployed overseas and this was in many ways a goodbye meal for the American food I so dearly love. Thanks so much, my friends, for guiding me along the way.

      1. re: barbaglutton

        Glad you had such a terrific bbq frenzy! Stay safe on your journey overseas.

    2. If you're going to Wilson, you may want to scoot on over to Goldsboro to sample the 'cue at Wilber's. Here's a great guide to barbecue in the state. http://www.ncbbqsociety.com/trail_map...

      Lastly, though this is not barbecue, I am intrigued by a place in Kinston called the Chef & the Farmer. http://chefandthefarmer.com/
      Have't been, but I love the concept and people seem to like it

      -----
      Chef & the Farmer
      120 W Gordon St, Kinston, NC 28501

      1. I would make sure you call ahead of time and confirm that places are open on Sunday. Many bbq restaurants are closed on Sundays (and Mondays, for that matter). Of the places on Naco's list, I would enthusiastically second the Skylight Inn and Grady's. B's, by the way, cooks only so much food and they tend to run out around 12:45, so if you plan to go there, go early.

        -----
        Skylight Inn
        4618 S Lee St, Ayden, NC

        1. Unless you are planning on working in any of the Triangle spots (Allen & Sons, The Pit, etc.) I would skip staying in Raleigh and stay around I-95 or further east. Otherwise you will be wasting a lot of eating time just driving back and forth - especially since you have very limited time on Sunday.

          6 Replies
          1. re: meatn3

            I would suggest you get up real early and head straight for B's in Greenville, they sell out and shut down and it is usually before noon on Sat.,make sure you try to get the chicken and ribs as they outshine the BBQ in my opinion. From there go to Skylight in Ayden, then Cobb's in Farmville, go down Hwy 13 to Goldsboro and first hit Grady;s south of town and then swing back through to Wilber's. From Goldsboro go up 117 to Wilson to Parker's and Bill Ellis's. From Wilson you could head into Raleigh but it would not be for the Q. In Raleigh the only three that I suggest are the Pit, Backyard BBQ and Allen and Son;s ( and they are in Durham and Chapel Hill). On way home you could swing out of the way and hit up the place in Conetoe since it is open on Sunday, If Bunn's in Windsor is open on Sunday I would try that but it is out of the way if you are heading to DC.

            1. re: Jesco

              Bunn's was flooded last year. I don't believe it has reopened, and in any case it was not open on Sundays.

              1. re: Naco

                Thanks for update, I knew they had flooding but was not aware they had not reopened and I did not know their schedule.

                1. re: Jesco

                  I checked with someone who lives over that way and it *has* reopened. But they didn't think they were open on Sundays, either.

                  1. re: Naco

                    Thanks, hope they salvaged the pans they made the cornbread in.

              2. re: Jesco

                I second Allen and Son's. But I have to tell you all that I have been waiting for an opportunity to get down to the BBQ Joint on the Airfield in Carthage. We went on a beautiful Saturday morning. Sat outside and watched the plains take off and land. And the Q was as good as Allen and Son's. I even went out back to see the cookers. Delicious. Everything was knock out delicious.

                http://www.pik-n-pig.com/piknpig.html

                Craig

            2. Raleigh is on the far western edge of Eastern NC BBQ.