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Apr 27, 2012 07:37 AM


Now I realize that the question I am about to pose will be answered with some very strong opinions, but here it goes: Which NC BBQ restaurants are a must on a trip to the region? Hopefully my second question will not engender too many heated discussions, what other restaurants (besides BBQ) are worth going to in the Chapel Hill/Raleigh area? I've read about Lantern and it sounds pretty good, as does J. Betski's, but I leave it up to the Chowhound Community to guide me in the right direction.


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  1. NC is a big state, where are you planning on being and how far are you willing to drive. This is a good place to start.
    But both of you questions, especially the BBQ one are covered constantly in this forum

    3 Replies
    1. re: chazzer

      We will be staying in Chapel Hill and we are probably willing to drive at least 50 miles for good BBQ. I've visited that website, but I wasn't sure on the quality of the places they had listed.

      1. re: jpdanart

        Most of whats listed is good, the top ones to try would be
        Allan & Son's (the one listed and not the one near pittsboro)
        Lexington #1 for western carolina style (not on the list but should be)
        Skylight in Ayden, a bit of a drive for you.
        While Hursey's is close they are not one of the best.

        1. re: chazzer

          Lexington #1 isn't on the list because the owner opted out (he used to be but didn't need the publicity). Even if a NC best of list were limited to top 5, Lexington #1 should be on there.

          That said, I think I like Bridges Barbecue Lodge in Shelby more for Lexington-style. You just can't beat that outside brown anywhere in the entire state.

    2. If in Raleigh, you cannot go wrong with J. Betskis. Great food and service, as well as an incredible choice of European beers. It is a pretty small place, so if you are going on a weekend night, I recommend calling ahead for reservations.

      1. Chazzer's right - these questions are covered pretty well already. Try this link for a lot of the non-bbq suggestions.

        Definitely go to Allen & Son's for BBQ. My second favorite in the triangle area is The Pig (in Chapel Hill), but it's not one of those "legendary" places on the NC bbq trail.

        1. I'd say the answer to your question depends greatly on your goals and how deep you want to get into this. First off, barbecue is eastern NC barbecue and nothing else. And for some of the best of that you need go no farther than Allen & Son right there in Chapel Hill. If your goals are loftier, you might take the 2+ hour trip into eastern NC to hit some of the better places like Wilbur's, Skylight Inn, Grady's, etc. So there's that.

          Then, if you want, and purely for research purposes (because culinarily there's really no reason to go there), you might want to try some Lexington (sometimes called western NC) style barbecue just to see how warped those people are. If you are that brave, then you might drive over to Lexington #1. Some would say it's the best example--I'm suggesting it mostly because it's relatively easy to get to from the interstate. But as far as that stuff goes, it's as good as any. Be sure to ask for "outside brown".

          So what are you up for? ;)

          8 Replies
          1. re: arbyunc

            Not the Eastern v Western thing again, you sound just like the ex NYC folk who complain about bad bagels.

            1. re: chazzer

              Who's complaining? I'm just telling the truth. ;)

            2. re: arbyunc

              I have never heard Lexington-style BBQ called "Western Style." In these parts, it is referred to as Lexington-style. Western style is served up in the mountains, where the sauce thickens with the cooler temperatures found at elevation.

                1. re: brentk

                  People in eastern NC(who aren't barbecue aficionados) tend to call it "Western style".

                  1. re: brentk

                    Wow, surprised the temperature would matter - most BBQ is eaten inside in this area.

                    1. re: fredb2548

                      I think brentk is suggesting correlation, not causation.

                    2. re: brentk

                      Do you mean mountains of WNC?