Grab a straw fedora and pick a country road this weekend, pointed toward your favorite BBQ joint. To help your get started, here are the top recommended BBQ places for your "“Honey, let’s do some ‘cue this weekend” from the North Carolina Barbecue Company:
B's Barbecue in Greenville
Classic BBQ joint. Flavor profile is close to BBQ perfection. Charcoal pit. Sweet fine white slaw. Whole hogs.
Lexington Barbecue in Lexington
The beacon of this style for many. True Lexington-style hickory pit and they serve a ton with great smoky flavor. Red BBQ slaw.
Short Sugar's BBQ in Reidsville
Old school Drive In with a wood pit that is right behind the counter. Very unique Worcestershire and brown sugar sauce. I love how different the flavor is, while staying true to the craft. Brownish sauce based law.
Barbecue Center in Lexington
Smaller local favorite of Lexingtonians. Wood pile and pit are right on the road as you drive up. The dip is served warm on the side, and it is a little thicker and richer than Lexington #1. Re BBQ slaw.
Backyard BBQ Pit in Durham
Wood pit out back. They have a great selection of soul foodie sides. Also has nice ribs and beef brisket. The only one of this list that does serve these two options. Fine white slaw. Whole hog.
Ken's Grill in LaGrange
Gas cooked and with Scott's BBQ sauce in Goldsboro, but it is expertly cooked, cleaned and chopped with a fried skin atop the plate, it rivals B's as the best of the East. BBQ served on Wed. and Sat. only. Sweet fine white slaw. Whole hog.
Jack Cobb and Son's in Farmville
Great old school joint with a screen porch dining room. Wood pit out back. Spicy vinegar sauce and yellow slaw. Whole hog.
College BBQ in Salisbury
Almost Eastern in style, it is a Lexington style BBQ with an Eastern flavor profile. More vinegary with a slaw that leans toward a light Eastern white.
Allen and Son's in Chapel Hill Classic wood pit with a great smoky flavor. The flavors are eastern with a vinegary sauce and a fine white slaw. Great joint not too far off of I-40.
Grady's BBQ in Dudley
Old school joint with a wood pit out back. Bits of skin chopped up into the meat. Fine white slaw with bits of pickle diced up in it. A true jewel of the Eastern style. Only ten minutes off of I-40.
Can't make the trip?
Order in for next weekend from the North Carolina Barbecue Company. We ship authentic NC-style BBQ anywhere in the US.
Recently came across this article, thought it was great...
A History of Pigs in America
At Queen Isabella's insistence, Christopher Columbus took eight pigs on his voyage to Cuba in 1493. They were tough and could survive the voyage with minimal care, they supplied an emergency food source if needed, and those that escaped provided meat for hunting on return trips. But Hernando de Soto was the true "father of the American pork industry." He brought America's first 13 pigs to Tampa Bay, Fla., in 1539. As the herds grew, explorers used the pigs not only for eating as fresh meat but for salt pork and preserved pork. American Indians were reportedly so fond of the taste of pork that attacks to acquire it resulted in some of the worst assaults on the expedition. By the time de Soto died three years later, his original herd of 13 pigs had grown to 700 – a very conservative estimate. This number doesn't include the pigs eaten by his troops, those that escaped and became wild pigs (the ancestors of today's feral pigs), and those given to the American Indians to keep the peace. The pork industry in America had begun.
As an interesting tidbit, the feared buccaneers of the Caribbean derived their name from the Arawak Indian word buccan, referring to a wooden frame used for smoking meats. The French changed this to boucan and called the French hunters who used these frames to cook and preserve feral cattle and the offspring of Columbus' pigs on the island of Hispaniola boucanier. English colonists anglicized the word to buccaneers.
Pig production spread rapidly through the new colonies. Cortés introduced hogs to New Mexico in 1600 while Sir Walter Raleigh brought sows to Jamestown colony in 1607. Semiwild pigs ravaged New York colonists' grain fields to the extent that every pig 14 inches in height that was owned by a colonist was required to have a ring in its nose to make it easier to control. On Manhattan Island, a long solid wall to exclude rampaging pigs was constructed on the northern edge of the colony; it created the name for the area now known as Wall Street. By 1660 the pig population of Pennsylvania Colony numbered in the thousands. By the end of the 1600s, the typical farmer owned four or five pigs, supplying salt pork, ham, and bacon for his table; any surplus was sold as "barreled pork" (pork meat preserved in salted brine, contained in wooden barrels). Finishing pigs before slaughter on American Indian corn became popular in Pennsylvania, setting the new standard for fattening before the late fall pork harvest.
At the end of the 1700s, pioneers started heading west, taking their utilitarian pigs with them. Wooden crates filled with young pigs often hung from the axles of prairie schooner wagons. As western herds increased, processing and packing facilities began to spring up in major cities. Pigs were first commercially slaughtered in Cincinnati, which became known as "Porkopolis"; by the mid 1800s Cincinnati led the nation in pig processing. Getting the pigs to market in the 1850s was no small task. Drovers herded their pigs along trails, with the aid of drivers who handled up to 100 pigs each. It is estimated that between 40,000 and 70,000 pigs were driven from Ohio to eastern markets in any given year. A herd could travel 5-8 miles a day and covered total distances up to 700 miles.
In 1887 Swift & Co. introduced the refrigerated railroad car, chilled by a solution of ice and salt (mechanical refrigeration wouldn't appear until 1947). It created a revolution in pig farming: Slaughterhouses could be centralized near production centers since processed pork meat could be shipped instead of live hogs. Large terminal markets developed in Chicago; Kansas City, Mo; St. Joseph, Mo.; and Sioux City, Iowa. Centralized packing plants were located adjacent to the stockyards. The natural progression was for the pork industry to relocate to the Upper Midwest, where the majority of the grain was raised; Corn Belt morphed into Hog Belt. Today Iowa is still the top pork producer in the States.
The trend was for developing herds that produced higher numbers of offspring and pigs that were leaner (resulting in better feed efficiency). Husbandry methods emphasized control of diseases caused by huge factory pig-raising techniques, introducing the use of prophylactic antibiotics. Pork had become "the Other White Meat", and although production was more efficient and cost-effective, the taste was steadily being bred away.
Now the trend is toward a return to the older, fattier, tastier heritage breeds such as the Berkshire, the Red Wattle, the Tamworth, the Large Black, the Mule Foot, the Old Spot, and the Ossabaw (a direct descendent of the original Iberico black-footed hogs imported by the Spaniards to Savannah, Ga., some 400 years ago). Their meat has superior taste and texture, with marbling that retains the moisture of the meat. There is also a greatly increased demand for small farm, pasture-raised, organically grown pigs, and rejection of methods such as water-injection for finished pork. A happier pig is a tastier pig!