BBQ Jew’s View: Little Richard’s

4885 Country Club Road, Winston-Salem, NC
Hours: Mon – Sat 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
BBQ Jew’s Grade: A-
Porky Says: “Really smoking.”

Good Golly, Miss Molly
From the vintage metal advertising signs on the walls to the traditional wood-cooked pork to the location just down the street from Vinegar Hill Road (too good to be true but it is!), Little Richard’s feels like it has been around as long as the “other” Little Richard.  But the joint, named after owner Richard Berrier, wasn’t around in the early years of rock ‘n’ roll.  In fact, the joint only opened in 1991, making it a young’un by barbecue standards.  Still, over the past 18 years, Little Richard’s has established a well-deserved reputation as a purveyor of authentic Lexington-style pork.

I call this picture "barbekudzu."

I call this picture "barbekudzu."

No Tutti Frutti, Just Tobaccy
It’s fitting that in Winston-Salem, one of North Carolina’s proudest tobacco towns and inspiration for two of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company’s flagship cigaratte lines, cooking pork over smoky wood remains in style.  And on the day I visited Little Richard’s, the pork wasn’t the only thing smoking.  At a table next to a wall covered with vintage tobacco advertisements sat three generations of men from one family, and all three generations were pulling steadily on cigarettes.  Leaving the public health issues of this kind of family bonding aside, it seemed fitting to see a family smoking RJR products while waiting for their barbecue meal.  After all, the connection between barbecue and tobacco dates back a long time.  But I digress.

Provided you can handle a side of cigarette smoke, Little Richard’s is well worth a visit.  (Or you can wait until next year, when like it or not smoking will be banned in NC restaurants, even in Winston-Salem.)  The pork, which is available chopped, sliced or coarse-chopped, has a rich smoke-laced flavor and is denture-tender, almost too tender for my taste.  The barbecue is rooted firmly in the Lexington-style tradition, as it is made of pork shoulders and served with great BBQ slaw and a lightly-ketchuped dip (the dip bottle is emblazoned with the phrase, “Eat Mo’ Pig”).  As is typical for Lexington-style joinys, trays are served with BBQ slaw or creamy coleslaw, as well as your choice of rolls or hush puppies.  Plates add french fries, but the trays offer a generous serving even by always-generous BBQ joint standards.  As usual, I chose the puppies to accompany my tray and found them good, though just a bit sweet for me. 

The tray with barbecue slaw and hush puppies

The tray with barbecue slaw and hush puppies

Though the menu, available online, features BBQ offerings that stick pretty closely to the Lexington-style paradigm, there are some nods to the Eastern style.  The pork was generously flecked with skin, which reminded me of some of the places I’ve visited down east.  Also, Brunswick Stew, potato salad and baked beans were offered on the menu, though I did not try them.  The rest of the menu includes standard grill fare like burgers, chicken, hot dogs, and BLTs.  Barbecue Chicken is served on Fridays and Saturdays only.

Next time you find yourself in Winstom-Salem, stop at Little Richard’s and breath in the smoke.  Just be sure to bring cash, as it’s the only payment accepted.

7 Responses

  1. Little Richard’s is the one thing that I have missed since moving from W-S in 2001. I lived up the hill from the place. When the wind was blowing in the right direction you can smell some great stuff. Great place for lunch as long as you go early and do not plan to do any thing strenuous in the afternoon.

  2. As a “connoisseur of fine swine,” I can attest to the fact that Little Richard’s is one of best “Q” joints anywhere. Richard Berrier and his excellent crew have been preparing Lexington-style pork shoulders since 1991 the old fashioned way… slowly pit cooked over wood… none of that electric or gas junk here. His “Q” is always tender and moist without a bucket of grease and dip at the bottom of the tray. The portions served are very generous with enough in a small tray to build three thick sandwiches (they give you two buns or an order of fresh homemade hushpuppies). The “pups” are excellent by the way.

    I eat there so often I’ve considered applying for a job as maître d’ at Little Richard’s. Recently, because of an ever expanding waistline, I’ve been on a self-imposed “barbecue intervention.” It’s been been tough but I’m almost back down to my “Q” eating weight.

    If you’re ever traveling down I-40 near Winston-Salem, please do yourself and your taste buds a HUGE favor and make a pit-stop at LR’s. Tell them “Bob-B-Que” sent you. It won’t get you anything but a smile from the fantastic waitresses and cooks. Ohhhhh…. and just so you don’t look like a “newbie,” when you are first in line, please take a seat as soon as someone vacates a table. The Little R’s protocol is that when the joint is busy (like most times), the waitresses do not clean the table until after the new customers are seated. Also, leave the plastic and check books at home, good old American green is all that’s accepted there.

    “Eating no swine before it’s time.”

    PS I almost forgot, after months of my harassing Little Richard, he finally added ribs to the menu. They are cooked only on Wednesdays and the quantity is limited so get there early if you want some. They’re goooooood!!

  3. Thanks for the comment Bob-B-Que.

  4. Can someone tell me the deal between these two Little Richards BBQ joint?

  5. Yo Brother “D”… The difference in the two Little Richard’s is simple. One is the ORIGINAL ( owned by Richard Berrier located on Country Club Road in Winston-Salem and has fantastic pit-cooked barbecue and the other is NOT!!! They are totally unrelated now. It’s a long convoluted story that’s been told to me twice by “Little R” himself and I still don’t quite understand it. Basically, at one time, they were operating the same way and now they are two separate entities. The only similarity of these two restaurants is their name. Trust me, if you want the real stuff, go to Little Richard’s on Country Club Road or his joint in Wallburg, not Clemmons.

    “A Connoisseur of Fine Swine”

  6. D,

    You can get a better understanding of the deal between all of the Little Richard’s at the Founder’s of Little Richard’s website…It was orginally opened by Nick and Gary. Richard was brought on later to be a partner and for undisclosed reasons(the mystery which has yet to be anwsered by Nick or Richard) they split. I assume there is some legal injuntion blocking this to protect the values of the Little Richard’s Name. However, with no disrespect to Bob-B-Que I would say try both and you will find alot of the items are the Exact same including their Famous Dip. The cooking process does differ at their locations. I personally prefer clemmons which as explained by Nick is a lower temp cooking method to keep the pork more moist and give it a great smoke taste. However, the winston location is good aswell. By the way Little Richard’s name orginated from the Logo..Look at it, Black Hair, A Mic, and singing…..Get it… Hope that helped alittle. But I am afraid we will never figure out that mystery part.

  7. […] BBQ Jew (Sep. 14 2009) Chopped Onion (2010) Barbecue Bros (Oct. 3 2013) From Ballparks to BBQ (Dec. 28 2013) Food and Brew Review (Jan. 16 2014) […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: