This past weekend Greg and I rented a car (as our POS can’t go on the highway for fear of losing it’s back axle and killing us spectacularly) and went on a BBQ mission: to attempt to compare the Eastern and Western styles of North Carolina BBQ. On Friday night we stayed local and had what Adam said was the best eastern style BBQ around – Bullock’s BBQ. We had tried to go to Bullock’s the week before, but were detered by the long line-up at 7 pm on a Friday night. So, this time we were prepared. We went at 5 pm and even beat most of the older people in the door. We had the family platter, which was BBQ (chopped pork), fried chicken, green beans, coleslaw, fries, hushpuppies and brunswick stew (shredded chicken and pork in a light tomato-basted stew). It came family-style. There was a ton of food. I must say though, I wasn’t totally impressed. The BBQ was okay, but not really all that tangy for Eastern style, the chicken was bland despite being deep fried (no 7 secret herbs and spices there) and the green beans were soft and mushy even though we think they weren’t canned. Now, to remind everyone, Adam is from Lexington, the capital of Western-style NC BBQ. So, maybe he doesn’t like the tanginess that’s supposed to accompany Eastern-style BBQ, and therefore this place is his favorite of Eastern-style places. It was okay, but not great.
On Saturday we headed to Lexington, which is about 2 hours west of Chapel Hill and hosts a yearly BBQ festival. After getting a little lost trying to find it, we started off with lunch at Lexington Barbecue, another recommendation by Adam. We each had the BBQ sandwich, and shared an order of hushpuppies. I got an order of skins to go. Oh, and I tried Cheerwine, a NC cherry-flavored soda, which is sweet and pretty good. We finished off lunch with a slice of lemon meringue pie and a slice of chocolate pie. Everything at Lexington BBQ was good. It was also the place I got my first BBQ souvenir shirt. I’ve decided to get shirts from some of the places I go in NC and then afterwards make them into a souvenir quilt. We’ll see if that actually happens!
We did a litte sightseeing in Lexington (drove down Main St.) where we took some pictures of the decorated pigs they have on the street (thing whales in Vancouver). Then it was off to Winston-Salem, the home of the first Krispy Kreme. We went to the only Krispy Kreme in town, and got 4 doughnuts. Upon looking around the store, we realized that they didn’t have any historic plaque or anything saying that this was the first store. Sadly, I don’t think it was. Oh well…
In attempting to do a little local sightseeing we found a part of town that is a preserved (read touristy) Moravian village, complete with people in period costume. The Moravians were apparently the local settlers from Czechoslovakia (I think) via Germany. We walked around the town (only a few buildings – most of which you have to pay to get into and see re-enacted displays) and went to the bakery where we bought crispy-thin Moravian cookies.
Then it was back to Chapel Hill via Greensboro, where we stopped to pick up dinner to go (more Western-style BBQ). This time is was back to Stamey’s BBQ, where we had already gone with Greg’s parents. We got a sliced BBQ plate with beans and hushpuppies and a chopped BBQ plate with fries and hushpuppies to go.
On our way home with stopped at JR ‘something’ (‘outlet’, ‘liquidators’, something like that). On our way to Lexington we kept seeing billboards for JR. Greg figured this place was probably crappy, but may be interesting. It was. This was the first place I’ve been where you could get miscellaneous crap (the liquidation part), cigarettes, discount books, collectible dolls (the whole back of the place was dolls), or cigars (a room-sized humidor) all under one roof! Needless to say, we didn’t buy anything, but it was worth the stop just to see it all.
Once we got home we had our BBQ plates, and then later that night Greg didn’t feel so good. I think having that much meat in 2 days didn’t really sit well with his stomach, and he thought he was going to throw up. But luckily, that didn’t happen. So, Meatfest 2006 was a success.
So far, Western-style NC BBQ seems to be our favorite, but we’re going to give Allen and Sons BBQ another shot. This time we’re going to order the BBQ sandwich to make it more comparable to what we had a Lexington BBQ and Stamey’s BBQ.