North Carolina’s BBQ sucks

When it comes to Beef.
They have the Pork BBQ Down.  I don’t think anywhere else is Pork BBQ on point with NC.  You can go anywhere  and get good BBQ Pork, but in NC, you can go anywhere and get great BBQ Pork.

Now, when it comes to Beef BBQ, I just gotta say NC falls short.  I’ve gone around Coastal Carolina and have sampled beef BBQ… and you know there the best I’ve found was?


Dickey’s a chain of fast food BBQ joints that all tastes the same wherever you go… And it’s good BBQ in the sense that a Big Mac is a good Burger.  Good when you’ve not had a burger of any sort in a long time.   But compared to others – it’s weak.  That’s Dickey’s.   I had a rather small Brisket Sandwich the other day at the Dickey’s in Raleigh, NC.  Man, it was the best Brisket I’ve had in NC.  Honestly.  The meat was tender and the Sauce  was tangy and spicy… it was good.   Compared to everywhere else I’ve tried Brisket at in NC.  The meat was flavorless… Didn’t taste like Beef.  It tasted like it was boiled or something.   Tasted like dishwater.   Actually, on it’s own, and anywhere else in the country, it would have been freaking disgusting.  But in the context of NC Beef BBQ, it was good.

That right there should enlighten you as to the state of Beef BBQ in NC.

Dickey’s does a good Pork BBQ too… I’ve not had any bad in NC.  Even at a chain like Dickey’s, which is over priced, mediocre and stingy on the portions.    Now, don’t be offended if you like Dickey’s Beef BBQ.  You just don’t know how good real BBQ can really be, and it’s probably not your fault either.  Because in NC when you say BBQ – that just means Pork BBQ.  Specifically pulled pork.  BBQ = Pulled Pork in NC.   It just does.   And that’s fine… for NC.  But really NC needs to learn to take Beef BBQ seriously.

And Dickey’s Ribs?  3 Ribs for 7.50?  That’s an insult.   Ribs should be served in 2 sizes.  Half Rack or Full Rack…. okay, 3 sizes – All the Racks.   Because when you eat Ribs and are 99% done, you should be thinking “OMG, I’m going to die from Stomach Rupturing Rib Over Dose.”  And the next thought should be, “But I got one more rib left, can’t let it go to waste.”


30 thoughts on “North Carolina’s BBQ sucks”

    1. Pork is real BBQ. Anything else is, charitably, the best you can do with inferior local ingredients.

  1. NC BBQ = pork and if you expect anything different then all you are getting is an interpretation of beef BBQ because in NC they don’t equate it to anything other than pork. In fact if you see a store front with just a picture of a pig or a cartoon of a smiling pig’s face then everyone knows it’s a BBQ joint. Now to say that you just can’t get beef BBQ ANYWHERE in NC is completely false. If you ever make it to the Fayetteville area then I challenge you to stop by Noble Meats in Spring Lake. I guarantee you will get great beef BBQ there. They do meats right, but don’t pigeon-hole the rest of the state.

    1. Because in NC when you say BBQ – that just means Pork BBQ. Specifically pulled pork. BBQ = Pulled Pork in NC. It just does.

      1. Well, pork, anyway. Very often it is chopped fine in NC, but many content themselves with just pulling it. The restaurants that chop it usually do so with a cleaver in each hand on top of a butcher’s block table, and some long-lived restaurants have had to replace the butcher’s blocks more than once.

  2. Can’t disagree with you about the brisket. It’s not something that Carolinians – – or southerners in general – – are familiar with, although they give it a good try just to make transplants from other parts of the country happy. One of my local BBQ restaurants, Q Shack, makes brisket, and it’s hit-or-miss whether you’ll get a good plate; about 60/40% ratio of bad to good brisket.

    Only place in eastern NC I personally can recommend for brisket is the Poor Piggy’s food truck in Wilmington. I haven’t yet sampled the Southport Smokehouse, but they have brisket on their menu:

  3. Agree that the Carolina’s got the pork BBQ down pat, no question about that. As for beef BBQ, stick with the midwest/Texas region, ya can’t go wrong. On my recent vacation outing I stumbled upon a little place in Cortez Colorado on Main Street called Jimmer’s Back Country BBQ. I must say it’s the best damn beef brisket I’ve ever had thus far. Deep smokey flavor with light earthy overtones, not to mention incredibly moist and tender. ZERO sauce is needed, it’s that savory. But thats my opinion.

  4. NC also has the best sauce. Vinegar based which makes it really tangy. You can keep that super sweet crap.

  5. Try McCall’s Seafood and BBQ. They have two locations, Goldsboro and Clayton.

    Their pork BBQ is some of the best in the state and they make a red-sauced beef BBQ a couple of times a week too and it’s pretty good. Their ribs are okay, nothing to write home about, but the best part is that it’s a buffet. Eat all you want, they’ll make more.

    Plus they are very firearm friendly. The Clayton location hosts Triangle Open Carry the first Saturday of the month. Next meeting is July 5th. Drop by and say hi. We’ll be the 20 or so tastefully armed citizens eating and having a good time.

    And wear your BBQ gun.

          1. Let me know when you go. I’ll drive down the 10 miles to Clayton for some good BBQ. I really like Dickey’s brisket, so better brisket would be awesome.

            My wife says that OK City has good beef BBQ.

      1. Meh. My bad. TOC meetings are the 4th Saturday of the month, not the 1st. Last one was on the first for some unremembered reason and that confused me.

  6. Dead on, Face it, the Carolinas just ‘don’t’ get BBQ beef… I don’t even waste my time ordering anything beef BBQ east of the Mississippi… Now if you want real BBQ, County Line in Austin or Coopers in Llano will serve you real BBQ across ALL the meats… And their ribs are HUGE!

  7. Did you move to NC or just visiting. If you ever come to Winston-Salem, I’ll be happy to take you to Bib’s downtown BBQ, which has some pretty good beef brisket.

  8. If you are ever in Durham, try The Original Q Shack.

    They have a location in Raleigh, but I don’t think it is as good.

    – It is Durham so make sure you are packing.
    – Get there early or plan on not being able to park and having to wait in a long line.

  9. I forgot to add a note…

    If you go to the Q-Shack, the BBQ is great, but be sure to add some of the smoked turkey breast to your order. I love pulled pork and brisket, but always save a little room for their turkey. Plus it is even better cold with mustard the next day!

  10. Well being from North Carolina originally I tend to agree. Although I’m actually from the far western mountans of the state. And in many ways it’s kind of like night and day from the rest of the state. And back before I moved to Mississippi there were a few decent places for BBQ. Can’t say how it is now though.

  11. While I’ve had good pork in NC, it wasn’t near Fayettenam. The standard there is apparently bland and soggy.

  12. I agree that NC is pork bbq central. No one else does it better especially ribs. Thats probably why I hate beef bbq because no one here in NC does it like Texas brisket. And beef ribs are just big and clumsy and weird compared to delicate, tender pork ribs and heavenly pulled pork.

  13. If you ever pass through Kansas City MO. check out a a bbq original, Arthur Bryants. The bristek is fantastic. and the burnt ends? I could live on them! KC has a great bbq joint every where you look!

  14. As a person who spent the majority of his life growing up in Durham, I have to wade in here.

    Even after spending the majority of what might be called my “formative years” (entirety of my school years) I can only Just bring myself to call chopped pork in vinegar “Barbecue”. though my family came to NC from Memphis and Memphis is famous for their own style of pork bbq, and now I live in texas where these crazy jokers think bbq=beef and are good at it. So i’m kinda biased.

    in all my time in NC I never found decent commercial bbq east of Lexington. PIg Pickings where someone was dishing out actual pulled pork (not chopped) and homemade sauce, typically with much more body to it than that found in restaurants, were and are different. But “commercial” bbq in NC just aint right.

    I still remember the first Carolina bbq I had, was something like my 2nd week of 1st grade. Bbq sandwich was on the available menu, I asked for it thinking of the nice Memphis style pulled pork i’d always known by that name before, imagine my surprise when the lunch lady hands over that scoop of chopped pork soaked in vinegar! stuff looked like it’d already been eaten and rejected by someone else.

    I learned to eat it eventually, but no. no such thing as “Good East NC bbq”

  15. If it tastes boiled, it’s probably because it is boiled. Some morons think that’s how you do meat for a Q.

    Best Beef Q is found in Texas. No comparison. KC and Memphis style is smothered in sickly sweet-ass sauce. Texas style is meat, seasoning and smoke. If you want sauce, it’s on the side but it’s unnecessary if you get the meat, seasoning and smoke right. And the sauce is never sweet in Texas style Q–it’s spicy.

    As for Pork Q, it’s pretty damn easy if you can light a fire and avoid burning it. Pork, like Beef, is better when it’s not smothered in sugar and tomato sauce. Pork is easy. You ever had a bad slice of bacon?

    And, can you believe it, some people actually think there’s such a thing as BBQ tofu?! That’s proof the world’s goin’ to hell.

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