BBQ Jew’s View: Adam’s Roadside Bar-B-Q

Highway 70 West of the Wal-Mart, Goldsboro, NC
(919) 739.3859
Website
BBQ Jew’s Grade: C+
Porky Says: “Hold the sauce!”

Drive By Barbecue
Adam's Goldsboro (9)
I had high hopes for Adam’s Roadside Bar-B-Q, in part because of the phrase “hickory smoked” on the sign outside and in part because there is another barbecue joint on Highway 70 in Goldsboro by the name of Wilber’s.  I figured Adam’s must be doing something right to compete in Wilber’s country.   Unfortunately, my sense is that what Adam’s is doing to compete is not to serve superior barbecue.  While Wilber’s focuses on the fundamentalist wood-fired, whole hog barbecue native to Eastern NC, Adam’s has gone whole hog into the new age of barbecue.  Need some “Texas-style” brisket? Adam’s has it.  Pork ribs?  Sure.  Chicken? Why not?  Turkey? Yes! NC-style chopped pork BBQ?  Oh yeah, that too.

As frequent visitors of this site know, when I review a barbecue joint I focus primarily on the Holy Trinity of North Carolina barbecue, namely chopped pork, slaw, and hush puppies/corn bread/corn sticks.  The rest of the menu, with some exceptions, is just noise.  Sometimes it’s delicious noise, sometimes it’s not, but it is not how I judge a North Carolina BBQ joint.

My experience at Adam’s was less than perfect from the start.  The folks who work there were nice but communication between the kitchen and the front counter was poor.  Below is what came out the 2nd time around after I tried to get my order of barbecue and brisket with sides of BBQ potatoes and slaw corrected. (They got the brisket right but struck out on the other three both times.)

Adam's Goldsboro (7)

Such things happen from time to time, and the owner resolved it to my satisfaction by apologizing and throwing in a free BBQ & slaw tray.  I appreciated that, though I still am curious how those BBQ boiled potatoes taste…

Less pleasant was the outdoor dining area, where I tried not to be bothered by the swarms of flies that hovered around my plate; honestly the most flies I’ve ever witnessed except on the Discovery Channel.  The flies combined with the distinct smell of sewage to send me running for my car after a few minutes.  (For the record, it had been pouring down rain and I suspect a septic system at the restaurant or nearby was struggling … sh*t happens!)

Neither the flies nor the distinct odor were appealing, but it was the pool of sticky, sweet sauce that drenched the ribs Continue reading

BBQ Jew’s View: Carolina BBQ

2307 N College Road, Wilmington, NC
910.392.1955
No Website
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
BBQ Jew’s Grade: C-
Porky Says: “The biggest (not best) BBQ joint in the state.”

Big Enough to Swallow a Lion
Carolina BBQ has a couple of locations in Wilmington, one in Kenansville, and one somewhere in Virginia, if my waitress was telling me the truth.  I stopped at the N. College Street location, which is a mile or so from Interstate 40 at exit 420.  Speaking of 420, one would need to be mighty stoned to think the barbecue is good here, but I still enjoyed parts of my meal despite being stone cold sober.

The best part about a visit to Carolina BBQ at N. College Road is the atmosphere.  It must be the largest barbecue restaurant in the state in gross square footage (the picture at left does not do the vastness of the space justice).  It feels like you could fit an entire grocery store inside the restaurant, which is quite true given it inhabits a former Food Lion.  As the hermit crab-like replacement for Food Lion, Carolina BBQ is the de facto anchor tenant in a strip mall that features a nail salon, Subway, and a few other non-descript businesses (I would describe them were they not so resolutely non-descript).  I was sincerely impressed with the interior decorating job, which managed to make a grocery store feel almost homey.  Sure, the seating capacity is enough to house probably 10 times the number of people ever likely to enter Carolina BBQ at one time, but it is a creative and attractive reuse of a difficult to fill space.  The large historical BBQ photos printed on the far right wall are particularly interesting.

All You Care to Eat (and Then Some)
Carolina BBQ features “buffet style” dining.  This means it is a buffet.  I am not sure where the style comes in. Continue reading

BBQ Jew’s View: Huey’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar

7601 Highway 70 East, Mebane, NC
919.563.6731
Website
Hours: Tu-Th 4 – 8:30, Fr-Sa 4-9, Sun 12-8:30
BBQ Jew’s Grade: C-
Porky Says: “This barbecue is fishy.”

Beware Inland Seafood & Coastal Barbecue
I’ve always been wary of seafood restaurants that are located far from the coast, and even more wary of beachside barbecue joints.  Huey’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar is located in Mebane, a long ways from the beach but on the edge of Lexington-style barbecue country.  The family-owned business has been around for well over 50 years and has a menu sure to please anyone.  (Don’t take my word for it, listen to the woman who magically teleports herself onto the restaurant’s website.)  Well, almost anyone.

Huey’s features a large array of dishes, with an emphasis on steak and seafood, as well as barbecue.  You can get everything from $26 filet mignon with lobster to $17 snow crab legs to a $6 BBQ tray.  Huey’s also offers flounder, shrimp, clams, oysters, scallops, chicken, jalapeno poppers and much more.  Guess what I had? Yeah, well that comes as no surprise.  What is surprising is that the barbecue at this 54 year old dining institution tastes institutional.

Unfortunately, especially for those of us still mourning the loss of the A&M Grill, Mebane’s recently shuttered barbecue temple, Huey’s fails to deliver on its promise of “tempting” barbecue.  As with all restaurants that serve raw shellfish in North Carolina, the restaurant displays a warning from the NC Department of Environmental & Natural Resources warning patrons that, “Eating raw oysters, clams or mussels may cause severe illness.”  I wonder why no such warning appears in places serving lousy barbecue? “Caution,” the sign could say, “the barbecue you are about to ingest may cause severe emotional distress.” Continue reading

BBQ Jew’s View: Brushy Mountain Smokehouse & Creamery

201 Wilkesboro Blvd., North Wilkesboro, NC
336-667-9464
Website
Hours: Mon & Wed-Sat 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday Buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
BBQ Jew’s Grade: C
Porky Says: “A pitless pit stop.” 

Bobby Flay’s Kiss of Death
Few self-respecting Carolina barbecue joints have websites.  Fewer still would be proud of an appearance on a TV show featuring the Food Network’s brash yankee know-it-all Bobby Flay.  The Brushy Mountain Smokehouse and Creamery has a website that touts its 2005 appearance on “BBQ with Bobby Flay.” Leaving those sins aside, the Brushy Mtn. Smokehouse has its advantages: namely the combination of homemade ice cream and a large menu sure to please a variety of tastes.

No Pit Stop
The relatively wide range of offerings available at Brushy Mtn. Smokehouse make the restaurant a nice pit stop for family road trips in the heart of stock car racing country. (North Wilkesboro, where Brushy Mtn. Smokehouse is located, is famous for its legendary speedway and its prominent role in the history of stock car racing, which was tied closely to moonshining, another local tradition.) Alas, this barbecue pit stop features no traditional wood pit, as the barbecue at Brushy Mtn. Smokehouse is cooked over gas.

Brushy Mtn. Smokehouse offers a sizeable menu that includes barbecued ribs, chicken and pulled pork, all dishes that are “on track” for a barbecue joint (pardon the pathetic attempt at a car racing pun).  Alongside these legitimate dishes, the Smokehouse offers a few items that raise a caution flag for me, most notably the Barbecue Crunchers (“Our famous Smokehouse Barbeque nestled inside a crunchy tortilla shell flavored with our homemade sweet Barbeque Sauce”). Did they just say “nestled” and “tortilla”? Oh dear.

With items like catfish and potroast on the menu, it is safe to say that the Brushy Mtn. Smokehouse does not consider itself a traditional Carolina barbecue joint, and thus it is probably unfair for me to judge it in that context.  But that is what I do on this site. Suffice it to say that the chopped/pulled barbecue is standard, middle of the road fare, neither particularly good nor particularly bad. I’ll spare you the details and leave it at that. The good news is that after your meal, you can head into the attached Creamery, where many varieties of homemade ice cream are available. My family enjoyed the ice cream and we had a good time, even if the barbecue isn’t nearly good enough to take a checkered flag.

BBQ Jew’s View: Blue Note Grill

4125 Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard, Durham, NC
919.401.1979
Website
Hours: Mon-Thu 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
BBQ Jew’s Grade: C-
Porky Says: “Nobody loves their Q but my mother, and she could be jivin’ too.”

Singing the Low Down, So-So Barbecue Blues
If you’ve been reading this site for more than a couple of weeks, you’re probably aware that I get a bit cranky about places that serve so-called North Carolina barbecue but don’t know seem to know the difference between a ham and a shoulder.  The folks at Blue Note Grill are trying to learn the art of NC ‘cue but they have a long way to go.  The Blue Note Grill does many things right, but barbecue is not among them. 

Butter My Toast, Not My Bun
The Blue Note is a classic bar and grill that serves up pretty good food, frequent live music, and a variety of adult beverages to wash down the workaday blues.  Their menu includes quesadillas, hand-ground burgers, pork chop sandwiches, fried pickles and banana peppers, onion rings, sweet potato fries, chili, salads and a whole lot more.   As far as I can tell its a place Continue reading

BBQ Jew’s View: Smokey’s BBQ Shack

 
10800 Chapel Hill Road, Morrisville, NC
919.469.1724
Website
Hours: Mon-Wed 11-2, Thu-Fri 11-7:30, Sat 11-7
BBQ Jew’s Grade: C
Porky Says: “Smokey’s is just okie dokie.”

Authentically Inauthentic (or Vice Versa)
Smokey’s feels like what people who didn’t grow up in barbecue country expect a barbecue joint to feel like.  From the joking “Entrance Only – Do Not Enter” sign on the front door to the joint’s a bit too cutesy motto (“The BBQ Rocks and So Do Most of the Tables!”), it has a tongue-in-cheek hillbilly vibe that is both endearing and a little bit grating.  (Judging from the large lunchtime crowd, which was diverse but leaned toward white collar RTPers easily identified by their ID badges, most people find the hillbilly vibe more endearing than I do.)  Similarly, the joint looks like it has occupied the modest white cinder block building on a still-rural stretch of Highway 54 for many years.  Of course, it hasn’t, as The Deli Box occupied the spot just a few years ago.  Still, it’s impossible to deny that the look of the building and location are perfect for a barbecue joint–close enough to RTP to pack in the customers but rural enough to look the part of a 50-year old BBQ joint.

Careful What You Promise
On their website, Smokey’s says it is “the best North Carolina ‘Q’ in Raleigh.”  That is a dubious claim for a couple of Continue reading

BBQ Jew’s View: Dillard’s Bar-B-Q

3921 Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC
919.544.1587
Website
Hours: Uh, I forgot to write ‘em down, I’ll find out soon…
BBQ Jew’s Grade: C
Porky Says: “Man shall not dine on pork alone (at least not here).”

Man Does Not Live by Bread Alone
While most barbecue joints use their marquee signs to boast or advertise weekly specials, the sign outside of Dillard’s has read “Deuteronomy 8:3″ for as long as I can remember.  Indeed, man cannot live on bread alone. Sometimes he craves pork. 

Dillard’s has been providing Durham residents and visitors with much more than bread since 1952, when its late founder Sam Dillard first started selling barbecue.  Mr. Dillard was a devout Christian, so the Deuteronomy 8:3 reference is not some tongue-in-cheek statement that a younger pitmaster might put on a sign to lure in the hipsters.  At Dillard’s the sign is sincere and heartfelt.  Unfortunately, while the fellowship at Dillard’s remains intact the quality of their cooking has suffered over the years.

Soul Food Aplenty
Dillard’s offers a large buffet of “southern style soul food,” as the restaurant’s website puts it.  (I have yet to experience northern style soul food, and hope to maintain this spotless record but I digress… .)  The buffet is served cafeteria style by friendly staff, some of them direct descendants of Sam Continue reading

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