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Category: Out & About

In Search Of The Best BBQ


If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll already know that in lieu of my summer sojourn to Mykonos, Greece, I decided to keep it local this year and gather my friends Billy and Brent and my brother, Reed,  and took off in his R.V.   We headed South in search of some really good BBQ and/or Southern cooking (we also did Bourbon and Beer – but that’s another post).   What I found was a whole world of BBQ that I never knew existed.  (For instance, did you know that there is a North Carolina BBQ Trail?  See   There are classes, tastings, and competitions; and festivals enough to make your head spin.

I remember the first time I tasted “real” BBQ – It was one of the first weeks of my Freshmen year at Elon College, NC.  Margaret Adams, a classmate, and her husband, Kurt, had semi-adopted me.  Aside from making sure I had food to eat and clothes washed, they pledged to show me what real BBQ was all about.   They took me to a joint outside of Graham, NC – nothing fancy – fluorescent lights, long tables, bustling crowd of locals and ordered for me.  “He’ll have hush puppies, a chopped, and a sweet tea, please!”  Margaret took charge. – and am I ever glad she did.   What followed was perhaps my first encounter with “food rapture.”   I believe, that night, I ended up eating a basket full of hush puppies and an order of chopped and pulled pork (one must compare and contrast, no?).  It was the start of a long-standing love affair with good, authentic, BBQ.

One thing is for sure – and that is almost everyone down South loves BBQ and is resolute on their own favorite (to date, mine is Stamey’s in Greensboro, NC).  So when I started to ask around for suggestions, boy, did I ever get them.  I received more than we could have possibly visited, but it certainly gave us something to strive for!

While I acknowledge that there are many more wonderful BBQ joints out there – I thought I’d share the list of all my friend’s favorites so that should you happen to be traveling down South, you can stop in and “Put some South in your mouth.”



Big Bob Gibson, Decatur

The Brick Pit, Mobile


Old Brick Pit, Chamblee



Split Tree, Alvaton

Red State BBQ, Lexington

Marion Pit BBQ, Marion


Hempen Hill, Hagerstown


North Carolina

12 Bones, Asheville

The Skylight Inn, Ayden

Hursey’s, Burlington

Allen & Son BBQ, Chapel Hill

J&G BBQ, Elon

Fat Buddies Ribs and BBQ, Franklin

Stamey’s, Greensboro

Avery Payne, Lexington

Jimmy’s, Lexington

Honeymonk’s,  Lexington

Smithfields, Mebane

Herlocker’s, Newell

The Pitmaster, Raleigh

Tommy’s, Thomasville

Ralph’s, Weldon

Parker’s, Wilson

Billy’s, Wilson

Bunn’s, Windsor


South Carolina

BBQ Barn, North Augusta

Scott’s BBQ, Hemingway



Helen’s BBQ, Brownsville

A&R, Memphis

Arnold’s, Nashville (not BBQ but amazingly good)

The Bar-B-Q Shop, Memphis

Bozo’s Hot Pit Bar-B-Q, Mason


Franklin BBQ, Austin

Lockhart Smokehouse, Dallas



Galax Smokehouse, Galax

BBQ Exchange, Gordonsville

Log Cabin, McGaheysville

Jeff Jennings, Luray

Triple Crown, Luray

Uncle Buck’s, Luray

Buzz and Ned’s, Richmond

Stony Creek BBQ, Stony Creek

Still Porkin’, Waynesboro

Pierce’s, Williamsburg


One important note – Because of the popularity of BBQ, a lot of Pit Masters have been forced to put limits on the times that they share their talents.   Many of the above restaurants have very limited times that they are open. (For instance, Arnold’s in Nashville is only open from 10:00 – 2:00 Monday – Friday only)  So please plan ahead to avoid disappointment!

 Please feel free to leave suggestions of your favorite BBQ in the comments below.

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  1. Billy Menefee

    Let’s not forget The County Grill in Yorktown, VA – absolutely my favorite!

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