One of Chapel Hill’s most venerable fine dining restaurants, Crook’s Corner, may be your new source for authentic North Carolina barbecue. Starting this week, Crook’s begins a series called Carolina ‘Cue Wednesdays. Here’s the announcement from their newsletter:
Inspired by Our State magazine’s monthly BBQ explorations and education, I’m taking off from Chapel Hill each week on a road trip-to pick up BBQ from one of our state’s tastiest BBQ joints. Next Wednesday, October 30, we’re kicking off the Carolina ‘Cue Wednesdays Series with The Skylight Inn BBQ from Ayden. Come to Crook’s to taste, for the first time or revisit, Sam Jones’ family’s unmistakably great hand-chopped BBQ-and the Skylight signature sauce. Choose cornbread or buns, our slaw. Bill Smith has great additional sides & desserts to go with (think collards, seasonal veggies, unusual things too like fried beet pies, and banana pudding for after). If you love all sorts of NC Barbecue, mark your Wednesday nights for Crook’s. You can think: Gene’s doing the driving, so you don’t have to. Please call for reservations.
It’s a great concept and a convenient way for people to experience great North Carolina barbecue without driving too far from home (though, for the record, everyone in the Chapel Hill area should first visit their own great BBQ restaurant, Allen & Son, or I’ll be angry).
Crook’s became famous many years ago when the kitchen was run by the legendary, late Bill Neal, The restaurant continues to be known for classic southern dishes like shrimp and grits as well as the magnificently named “Cheese Pork!” Crook’s has had barbecue on the menu for years, but it’s never been worth eating, in my over-educated opinion. As I understand it, their ‘cue typically came from a nearby purveyor of gas-roasted pork (i.e., not actual barbecue in my wood-centric definition). Let’s hope this new approach of importing their BBQ from far and wide is a success–the more people eating real BBQ the better!