We recently took a trip south to visit family. Our route took us through one of my favorite BBQ areas – North Carolina. I always make a point of trying out different Q restaurants along the way. Out of all of the different styles of barbeque I am partial to North Carolina style. It’s probably because my family is originally from the Lumberton, N.C. area and I spent alot of time there as a kid. I’m retired from the U.S. Army which also meant that I had to spend a fair amount of time at Ft. Bragg, N.C. Bottomline, I’m pretty familiar with NC Q.
One of my favorite places to stop and have a good southern meal is Ralph’s Barbeque just off of I-95 in Weldon, NC (exit 173). North Carolina style barbecue is usually chopped and mixed with a little sugar and a tangy vinegar sauce. When you move a little to the west in NC they add tomato in (ketchup or sauce). Both sauces are good but I prefer the sauce without tomato. Ralph’s serves a barbeque with a plain vinegar sauce which allows you to get the full flavor of the pork. His barbecue is very good and highly recommended.
Now you also get the usual assortment of southern style side dishes which include some very good hush puppies, slaw, field peas, greens, and macaroni/cheese.
We stopped at another BBQ place named Jimmy’s Barbecue just outside of Lexington, NC. Most of you Q afficiandos know that Lexington is home to one of the biggest barbeque festivals in the world and some of the best NC style barbeque restaurants. We had a meal at Jimmy’s and I have to say that Q was not very good. I had a chopped barbeque sandwich and my wife had the ribs. The barbeque was sorely lacking in smoked Q flavor and just very bland. The sides were ok but in my opinion also very plain. They could take a lesson or two from Ralph’s. This restarant is not recommeded.
We will review other restaurants in the coming months so stay tuned.