BBQ off I-77
My girlfriend and I are taking a road trip from Ohio to Orlando and we are planning on heading down I-77 for the trip. We'll be in NC about when we'll be wanting to eat dinner and I'm a HUGE fan of real BBQ.
I've never had any authentic BBQ in NC, and I was wondering what people would advise that wouldn't be too far out of the way of my intended route (which will pretty much take us on I-77 through the entire state of NC).
I'm not adverse to driving a little ways off the route, if need be, but I don't want to add hours and hours to the trip either. Right now I'm leaning towards Lexington #1 in Lexington which wouldn't be too far off the course. But Bridges BBQ Lodge would be close enough as well.
Any Chowhounders have suggestions for other places within reason of my route? Preferences between the two I mentioned? I'm excited to get some good 'que!
Bridges is about 45 minutes from I-77, Lexington is more like an hour, so you're looking at a 1 and 1/2 to 2 hour detour. They are both excellent. Bridges is closed on Monday and Tuesday, and Lexington is closed on Sundays (and maybe Mondays, can't remember) if that helps ake your decision easier.
Another option is Keatons BBQ, which despite the name, is actually known for its bbq chicken, which is fried and then dipped in bbq sauce. Its much closer to I-77 (near the intersection of I-40 and I-77). Check their website for days and hours of operation before attempting to go.
In Charlotte, there is Old Hickory House and Midwood Smokehouse. Both are closer to your route than Bridges or Lexington. Old Hickory is more of an old school "joint" and the meat is great, they just use a sauce that isn't typical NC style. Midwood is a new , somewhat yuppie place, but they cook with wood (as does Old Hickory) and that is the key to good bbq. While neither is a good as Bridges or Lex, they are very good.
The Surry County Diner in Dobson is a unique greasy spoon. It has Prime Rib Friday and Saturday night. Really thin and really cheap. I can't comment on their BBQ but it is a gem in the ruf. I know many a trucker that has this on their map as an option to McD's
I hope you do find your barbeque.
Here's a few in Statesville.
Carolina Bar B Que @ 213 Sailibury Rd., Statesville, NC. 704 - 873 - 5589.
Ole Bob's BBQ @ 1737 Wilkesboro Hwy., Statesville, NC 704 - 871 - 1998.
Port A Pit BBQ @ 119 Marshall Forest Lane, Statesville, NC. 704 - 872 - 9778. *
Aunt Bea's has several locations..Hillsdale Va, Mt Airy NC, Pilot Mtn NC etc...pretty good meat and three small town diners, good breakfast although the barbeque doesn't wow me, BUT, Aunt Bea's barbeque sauce Does! I buy it by the case...hard to describe but similar to Tenn. style sauce sauce...not really NC style, but not SC mustard either. Spicy, not sweet, thick with vinegary overtones.
You know something has to be good when one of the ingredients is turnips!
I'm picking up a case next week.
Please note that Lexington #1 is closed from July 1-9 for vacation. Noticed a sign on the door last week.
I second the above recommendation for both Bridges BBQ Lodge in Shelby and Keaton's BBQ (not really BBQ, but bbq-dipped fried chicken) near Statesville. Keaton's will likely be the best chicken you've ever had. It's mindblowing, but be prepared to carry food smell on your clothes after you leave.