BBQ Jew’s View: The Skylight Inn

4618 Lee Street, Ayden, NC
252.746.4113
No Website
Hours: Mon-Sat 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
BBQ Jew’s Grade: A+
Porky Says: “Capitol Q indeed, Jones’ place lives up to the hype.”
 
Do A Few Things But Do Them Well

The Ayden skyline. Photo by Conor "Swine Factor" Keeney.

The Skylight Inn is not the type of restaurant that tries to be everything to everyone.  Far from it. Instead, the folks at The Skylight  do just a few things but do them as well as any barbecue joint anywhere.  The Skylight Inn is still referred to as “Jones’ Barbecue” by many old timers in deference to Pete Jones, who started the place, and the Joneses who have followed in his footsteps.  The menu that Pete Jones established when he opened The Skylight in 1947 remains nearly unchanged today.  When you set foot in The Skylight Inn your only choices are whether you want a BBQ sandwich or a tray (small, medium or large) and where to sit.  The options are limited to barbecue, slaw and skillet cornbread from a 180 year old recipe!  You might think it’d be disappointing to not have some variety on the menu, but I think I could make do with Jones’ pork-slaw-cornbread holy trinity most every day and die happy (and probably several years before I otherwise would).

“If I told you the recipe for the slaw, I’d have to shoot you in the head.”
When you visit barbecue joints and talk to the owners and cooks, you get used to the line, “I could tell you the recipe for [insert menu item], but I’d have to kill you.”  This is practically a motto for barbecue folks.  That said, The Skylight Inn was the first place I heard that line delivered by someone who was prepared to follow through on the statement.  I asked Samuel Jones how they cook their hogs and he told me he’d be happy to share, as it’s simply hard work and sticking to tradition rather than any secret.  On the other hand, he said, “If I told you the recipe for the slaw, I’d have to shoot you in the head.” Since Samuel had a handgun in his back Continue reading

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