Every year for the last 10 years, my wife and I load up the jeep and the dogs and head down to Corolla for a week or more in the fall. Well after Labor Day but usually between late September and late October is what we shoot for. By this time of year, the mass of humanity and their need to be right on top of one another have vacated the area. For us this means long, quiet walks on the beach, a well discounted house on the ocean front and much more tolerable temperatures and weather. Surprisingly, we also find that a lot of shops and restaurants remain open. Not to mention, the locals are a bit more relaxed as this is also their "vacation" as well. Here in below are a few of our favorite BBQ spots to check out. Please note that they are not ranked in any particular order, but merely as I think of them.
Being self a proclaimed expert of Eastern NC BBQ (as smoking is one of my hobbies). I will have to say that you cannot go wrong with the que that's put out at Fat Crabs in Corolla. Quality meats, smoked to perfection in a traditional eastern Carolina manner. Combined with homemade sauces and sides, it doesn't get any better. Now you ask, "a crab shack for ribs? ". Oh now, one thing the locals know as well as I, is how to steam blue crabs and mark BBQ. FYI, this also my goto place for crabs and other steamed shellfish that is consistently fresh and good. It's like eating in my grandaddy's barn on a Saturday afternoon in West Point (Virginia that is).
Now for my return trip home I always stop at High Cotton in Kill Devil Hills and pack a cooler with a few pints of pulled pork and brisket for dinner that night. They're both equally good and the folks at both are genuinely nice. If happen to miss this establishment I hit Currituck BBQ on the main road north into Virginny. Some of the best sides I've ever had in a BBQ joint have come from this establishment.
Another real treat and a place that I one day wish to model my own business on, is the little BBQ joint at the original Corolla Village. I don't know its name and not sure that it has one " officially" but it is what I remember of yesteryear when I'd go ridin' in the county with my PaPa (which included anything south of Virginia Beach and into this area back before all the development). Served in little shacks and gas stations and eaten on car hoods or picnic tables along side old men who referred to little kids like me as Cap'n, this what I hope to one day recreate. You might not want to fart around all day before going by to get some as they close up when they run out .
As for places further south n the banks, I don't know much about them, though I'm told you can't go wrong with joints like Pigman's and such. I just think that the further south you go, the busier and more annoying it gets until you cross Oregon Inlet.
Notice I didn't mention anything about ribs. That's because as a rule I don't eat ribs away from home unless I'm in TN or Alabama. Ribs in restaurants are way too expensive and not worth it. And I can make them better and a lot cheaper.
That's all I got on the topic of BBQ in the Outer Banks.