BBQ Jew’s View: Lexington Barbecue #1

 10 US Hwy 29-70 South (I-85 Business Loop), Lexington, NC
No Website
Hours: Mon – Sat 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
BBQ Jew’s Grade: A+
Porky Says: “This Monk serves heaven on earth.”

The Honeymonk
Whichever name you call it by–Lexington Barbecue #1,Lexington #1, Monk’s place, Monk’s, or The Honeymonk–this joint is absolutely one of the best in the state.  I’ve been here a half dozen times or so over a period of several years and the barbecue and sides have been superb every time.  Wayne Monk, his family, and the other employees who work at Lexington #1 run an amazingly efficient restaurant.  They crank out ‘cue and all the fixings in high volume without sacrificing quality one bit.  Whether you show up when the line is out the door, such as during the annual Barbecue Festival, or on a slow day at an off hour, Monk & company will dish you out some of the best ‘cue known to man, woman, or child.

 In lieu of a full review of Lexington #1, I am going to defer to the Michael Stern of Roadfood fame on this one.   See Stern’s recent review of Lexington #1 from his website.  Stern is one of the nation’s premier food writers and his website and books are well worth reading if you’ve yet to discover them.  All I’ll add to Stern’s recent review of Lexington #1 is that some reason the draft Cheerwine tastes extra good there… especially when served to you by Wayne Monk himself at one of the counter stools.  Add it to your bucket list today.  And then get off your duff and check it off the list tomorrow.

12 Responses

  1. Ah, my favorite spot. I was just there last week for my birthday. Truly, the apotheosis of pork.

    And you are absolutely right about the Cheerwine on tap tasting extra good at HoneyMonks.

    My standard order is coarse chopped tray with hushpuppies, plus chopped sandwich with slaw on the side, Cheerwine to drink. That meal scratches all my ‘cue-related itches and leaves me stuffed and extremely happy to be living within a couple hours of such a place.

  2. Happy birthday, BBQ Dave, that’s a nice way to celebrate.

    I should also add that ordering a small tray of “outside brown” is a nice way to supplement whatever else one orders at The Honeymonk. Mix it into another tray or add it to your sandwich, things are always up and never down with Mr. Brown.

  3. I had the best plate of BBQ I have ever had at #1 on a recent trip to Charlotte. On a return a few days later it was good, but not of the same greatness the piro trip, so Q can change from day to day. I will keep returning in hopes of getting that next great plate of Q. Until something remarkable happens .Lextington #1 is at the top of my NC list.

  4. Jesco, thanks for the comment. I always feel like the (usually) subtle variation in traditional BBQ from one day to the next is one of its charms. If you want food to taste the same day in and day out, go to Applebees, right?

  5. I grew up just outside Lexington and have been going to Honeymonk’s for as long as I can remember. Hands down the best ‘cue in the state. I won’t touch Eastern style (*shudder*), and since i live in Durham I have to drive back home to get my pig on. Being unemployed since graduation allows me to make trips back home for lunch dates with my parents on a pretty regular basis…trying to look on the bright side. Next time you’re in Lexington, try the BBQ Center. My family is split on which is better. My dad, husband and I much prefer Honeymonk’s, while my mom, brother in law, and sister like the Center better. My husband and I think the BBQ Center’s slaw is pretty terrible…too much ketchup, not enough black pepper, while Honeymonk’s is perfect. My husband is a bbq slaw hound. When I order ‘que to take back home the guy taking my order always says the same thing: “miss, are you sure you want a QUART of slaw with that pint of bbq? A quart of slaw is a lot of slaw.” To which I patiently reply “my husband really, really likes bbq slaw.” My husband will stand over the sink, hunched over, fork in hand, shoveling slaw into his craw. If you admonish him for it he will make a grunting/squealing sound and return to the shoveling. It is AWESOME. Oh, and the best lab I had while I was getting my degree in Food Science at State was when I took Muscle Foods and Eggs (aka “Meat Class”). One entire lab was devoted to a pig pickin’. Literally…we learned about the different styles of bbq throughout the country, then we sat around and ate an entire hog. Man, I loved meat class.

  6. Thanks for sharing, halfbakedcake (and nice name). I’ve been to BBQ Center and think it’s very good, but I do prefer Lexington #1. I’ll review BBQ Center on this site one of these days. As for your husband’s love of slaw, that’s fantastic… but not as fantastic as meat class, wow!

  7. […] comparing my pork barbecue to, has to be Keith Allen’s at Allen & Son in Chapel Hill and Honey Monk’s in Lexington, North Carolina. To my taste they represent the best of the best. When I taste the […]

  8. […] Gretsky is arguably the greatest player in hockey history. Wayne Monk is arguably the greatest pitmaster in NC barbecue […]

  9. […] pulled into Lexington and stopped at, of course, Lexington #1. We ordered two “large” pork platters, one in the standard chop style and one in a […]

  10. Lexington Barbecue in Lexington, NC is the place to go for barbecue. I live in Raleigh and have been going there for over 25 years and have never been disappointed. Wayne Monk has done an outstanding job of running making and running the restaurant, is now retired, but still comes-in some. The restaurant continues to be run as good as always by his son Rick Monk and some of the family members. The wait staff is great, very friendly, and most have been there many years. Order the sliced or coarse barbecue (not the minced). Ask for extra dip and they will bring it out in a cup so you can add it as you like, it is the best sauce/dip anywhere. Day-in and day-out Lexington Barbecue is the best barbecue place in North Carolina, certainly for western/Piedmont/Lexington style barbecue.

  11. Although I like Lexington #1 well enough, I just don’t see how it can be constantly praised as “the best” or even “one of the best” in Lexington. They aren’t bad, but I just find their chopped barbecue is too fine (almost minced) and too wet/runny for my tastes. I also think the taste, while not bad, is just not up there with places like The Barbecue Center or Speedy Lohr’s. Overall, Lexington #1 is OK barbecue, but there are other places in Lexington that I would consider “the best” as far as serving up the quintessential style. I’ve been 3 times, though, and each time was kind of later in the evening, so maybe I wasn’t getting the best of the batch, but of course, to each his own, I suppose. I won’t be going back, though.

  12. The Lexington Barbecue Restaurant is still the best. Do not get the minced. Get the coarse chopped or the sliced with extra dip. They do have a website now:

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