You know you’re doing something right in the barbecue department when Wikipedia devotes an entire page to BBQ in North Carolina.
According to Wikipedia:
“Barbecue is a huge part of the heritage and history of North Carolina. It has resulted in a series of bills and laws that relate to the subject, and at times has been a politically charged subject.”
Whether you spell it “barbecue” or “barbeque,” in North Carolina B-B-Q is a noun, not a verb, replete with rich tradition and secret family recipes. Many consider North Carolina to be the Barbecue Capital of the World. Of course, we realize folks in Memphis, Alabama, Texas and Kansas City would say them’s fightin words.
Still, North Carolina won serious bragging rights a few years back when chef Anthony Bourdain proclaimed North Carolina the BBQ rivalry winner when pitted against an admirable foe – Kansas City!
Same State, Different Tastes
Even within North Carolina there are feverish debates between the Lexington-style and the Eastern-style. While both agree that the meat (almost always pork) should be brushed with a vinegar and spice mix during the cooking process, there are ongoing and heated discussions as to whether ketchup should be in the serving sauce. People do indeed have strong feelings about these distinctions.
Our suggestion — taste-test your way across the state and let us know if you can pick an absolute favorite. One solid way to hit the classic pits is to follow the NC BBQ Trail. Yes, there is an official trail map with stops at the twenty-four historic barbecue pits selected by the NC Barbeque Society. Be sure to click on the map below or here to take full advantage of the interactive qualities of the NC BBQ Trail map. It’s the easiest way to spot which ones are closest to the bed and breakfast where you’ll be staying.
The Trail begins in eastern NC in Ayden (about 12 miles south of Greenville) at the Skylight Inn. To get an insider’s peek of the Skylight Inn, read the blog post written by one of our NCBBI member innkeepers, Chloe Tuttle of Big Mill B&B.
The BBQ Trail ends in the western tip at Herb’s Pit BBQ in Murphy, NC. You’ll find detailed directions from one NC barbeque pit to the next, from one end of the state to the other, on the NC Barbecue Society’s website.
Many of you will want to do a little homework before mapping your culinary itinerary. For that, we did a quick search on Amazon and found plenty of good pickins. From the classic The Best Tar Heel Barbecue – from Manteo to Murphy by BBQ connoisseur, Jim Early, to the more recently published Bob Garner’s Book of Barbecue : North Carolina’s Favorite Food, where menu consultant and pitmaster Garner describes NC’s 100 best BBQ restaurants from the mountains to the sea.
Ask the True “Local Experts”
Of course, your innkeepers will know all the best BBQ eateries closest to their Bed and Breakfast. It all depends on how far you’re willing to drive and how many lunches and dinners you can squeeze into your visit.
We’d love to know your favorite North Carolina BBQ spots. Leave your picks (and pics) on our Facebook page. And search the online directory of member NC Bed and Breakfast Inns to find where you’d like to stay.