NORTH CAROLINA - If you're looking for the Best BBQ Joints in North Carolina, you're not alone. The state has many excellent BBQ joints, and there's something for every taste. Here are a few of our favorites: Red Bridges BBQ Lodge in Shelby, Skylight Inn BBQ in Ayden, Buxton Hall Barbecue in Asheville, and more.
Red Bridges BBQ Lodge in Shelby
Red Bridges BBQ Lodge has been serving barbecue for over 50 years. The quaint building sits off U.S. Highway 74 Bypass and is immaculately maintained. The exterior of the building features a white picket fence and a pink pig mailbox. The smoke from the hogs cooks up in the chimney during the day, drawing new customers and changing perceptions of the establishment.
Founded in 1946, the restaurant is considered one of the oldest barbecue joints in North Carolina. Lyttle Bridges, the matriarch of Shelby's barbecue tradition, crafted her barbecue sauce and created hushpuppies. She also made her slaw and baked beans. Today, her recipes are known across the country. Her secret recipes are kept in a safe behind the counter. Natalie Ramsey, who runs the restaurant with her brother Chase Webb, grew up helping her father run the barbecue lodge. She employs 30 people, many of whom have worked there for decades.
Skylight Inn BBQ in Ayden
If you're looking for a place to enjoy some great barbecue in Ayden, NC, you've come to the right place. This Carolina BBQ Joint was established in 1947 and served traditional Carolina favorites. You can enjoy ribs, sausage, pulled pork, and many other southern favorites.
In 1978, National Geographic mentioned Skylight Inn, making their list of best barbecue joints in America. In the same year, Sam Jones, the owner, was featured in the Southern Living Magazine and recognized as one of the top 10 pitmasters in southern North Carolina. In addition, the Skylight Inn was featured in People Magazine in 1991.
Located in Ayden, North Carolina, Skylight Inn BBQ is a family tradition that's been around for decades. The hogs are splayed and smoked on massive fireplaces. After the hogs have smoked, they're placed on the pits. This allows the meat to cook overnight without burning. Slaw and hushpuppies, and sweet tea accompany the smoked meats.
Grady’s BBQ in Dudley
Grady's is an excellent choice if you are looking for a barbecue restaurant in the Dudley, North Carolina area. This restaurant is family owned and operated and features a classic barbecue menu. The smoked meats are tender, juicy, and smoky, with the perfect combination of skin, fat, and outside brown bits. The smoked meats have a rich caramelization that is hard to beat.
The original Grady's BBQ opened on July 4, 1986. It is about 65 miles southeast of Raleigh, 55 miles northeast of Fayetteville, and has become a roadside landmark. It is among the many North Carolina BBQ restaurants you must try, so make sure to visit this roadside gem.
Buxton Hall Barbecue in Asheville
Whole-hog East Carolina BBQ and Southern sides are served in a grand industrial space. A view of the downtown skyline is available from the lofty patio. This restaurant is a must-visit for locals and visitors alike. The service is exemplary, and the food is incredibly tasty.
The 'cue is outstanding, and the menu is extensive. Some popular dishes include the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, and Eastern Carolina pulled pork. The place has become so popular that the owners were opening a second location in downtown Asheville in 2021. Desserts are also worth trying.
The restaurant is located in an old Standard Paper Sales Company building and has retro 1960s decor. The kitchen serves traditional Southern barbecue and has a small in-house bakery. The restaurant also features a gift shop.
Clyde Cooper’s BBQ in Raleigh
Time-tested BBQ joint has been serving Carolina BBQ since 1938. Its smoky sauce is made with Carolina pork and brisket. The smoked meats have a distinct tang that is perfect for any occasion. Clyde Cooper's is the place to go whether you're craving a hefty slab of ribs or a tender chicken wing.
The menu embodies the true spirit of the barbecue genre. You'll find chopped, sliced, smoked barbecue, pork ribs, fried chicken, and potato salad. You can also get crispy pork skins to go along with your meal.
Clyde Cooper's BBQ in Raleigh has been serving barbecue since 1938. The restaurant has been serving delicious brisket and pork shoulders for generations. Their famous sliced 'cue and thick, tangy Brunswick stew are among the classics. They are only open on Saturdays, as they close on Mondays.