Food & Drink

Discover North Carolina Barbecue

Five lesser-known favorites in the Tar Heel State

It’s safe to say that diners today know more about barbecue than any previous generation. Once, we ate whatever was nearby. Now, we drive hundreds of miles to visit the likes of Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, Texas, and Scott’s Bar-B-Q in Hemingway, South Carolina. But amid the big names are hundreds of joints that have yet to earn national recognition. Sometimes for good reason, and sometimes only for lack of traffic or promotional funds. Those hole-in-the-wall spots have a friend in Amanda Fisher, who traveled across North Carolina with partner and fellow barbecue enthusiast Paul Bright to find the 434 joints on the Great NC BBQ Map, a guide to regional legends and hidden secrets alike.

Just in time for the road trip season, she shared five of her lesser-known favorites in the Tarheel State.

Bill’s Barbecue & Chicken
3007 Downing Street, Wilson

“This restaurant has two pig farms where they raise their own hogs for their barbecue, and Bill himself designed the cookers.”

CJ’s BBQ, Cleveland
210 Old Amity Hill Road, Cleveland

“On Thursdays from 7-8 p.m., you can get a serving of gospel music with your ’cue. For years, this restaurant has hosted a lineup of groups from around the area.”

Moore’s Old Tyme Barbeque
3711 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, New Bern

“Moore’s made a 1,337 pound barbecue sandwich for New Bern’s 300th anniversary and set a Guinness World Record. The oven they used to cook the bun is out in front of the restaurant.”

Pik-N-Pig, Carthage
194 Gilliam McConnell Road, Carthage

“Since this restaurant is located at the edge of an airstrip, you can fly in for your barbecue dinner or, if you drive, sit and watch the planes come in.”

Sid’s BBQ & Catering
455 S Railroad Ave, Beulaville

“Sid and his wife have a sit-down restaurant behind their house. They’re open Saturdays only, and they serve a crispy piece of pig skin alongside every plate of their whole-hog barbecue.”