3096 Arrington Bridge Road, Dudley, NC
BBQ Jew’s Grade: A+
Porky Says: “I can now die happy.”
I thought about leaving my review at this: go to Grady’s. That would have been enough said, but the folks at Grady’s deserve a little more good (albeit virtual) ink. As far as I am concerned, Grady’s is among an elite few of the best barbecue joints in the state. Unfortunately, their off the beaten path location has kept them in relative obscurity, even though they’ve dished out terrific barbecue for more than 20 years and many well known joints can’t hold a pig’s wax candle to Grady’s pork.
To say Grady’s is unassuming at first glance is an understatement. Let’s start with the location. Grady’s is in the tiny town of Dudley, about 15 minutes south of downtown Goldsboro–a town featuring the well-known joints Wilber’s, Scott’s and McCall’s–and just a few hundred yards north of a road called Squirrel Ridge Drive. The building itself (pictured above) could easily be missed were it not standing all by itself on a quiet stretch of windy road, and were it not for the prominent woodpile and barbecue pit out back. The hand-written menu features chicken and barbecue, with only a few other main courses available for those confused enough to not be contended with ‘cue. And then there’s the name itself: Grady is actually pronounced “Graddy” (rhymes with “daddy”), which is the last name of owners Steve and Gerri. Oh, and Grady’s is closed on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, and only open until 3 p.m. Wednesday thru Friday (they’re open till 6 p.m. on Saturdays). But all of these traits only add to Grady’s charm. The joint is the real deal and its focus is where it should be: on making outstanding barbecue.
Grady’s Eastern-style, whole hog barbecue is moist, rich, oh-so-smokey, flecked with outside brown and bits of skin, and hand chopped to perfection. Divine swine for sure. Jim Early of the NC BBQ Society sums it up by writing, “This ’cue is so good you don’t want to swallow it. It is one of the best eastern style ’cues one will ever taste – pure ’cue heaven on earth.” I couldn’t agree more. And the sauce, which one could do without given the quality of the pork, is among the best I’ve ever tasted. It’s a fiery hot vinegar and pepper concoction that has a surprising depth of flavor.
The sides I sampled were great too. The slaw is a fairly sweet, moderately mayonaissed and coarsely chopped mixture that is flecked with sweet pickle and complements the ‘cue well. The hush puppies were fluffy and fried just right. The blackeyed peas I ordered to round out my barbecue plate were delicious (cabbage, rice, boiled potatoes and potato salad were the other vegetable options on the day I visited, so it was a tough choice). My only regret about my lunchtime trip to Grady’s is that I was unable to return later that day for dinner. Like I said at the beginning, go to Grady’s.