I have the answer to the long, ongoing and controversial issue of who has the best barbecue in the state of North Carolina.
It is an ages-old issue, particularly who has the best cooked pig in the eastern or western areas of this great state. Folks have been arguing about it for years. I am sure there has been a lot of fussin’ and cussin’, and even cuttin’ and shootin’ over the issue.
First up, I have no choice except to go with the eastern style, vinegar-based ‘cue.
The western style goes with the ketchup-based sauce.
It is your choice on the sauce end of it.
Recently, issues about well-known and long-established barbecue restaurants that have closed after generations of providing culinary delights still leaves the question of who has the best unanswered.
Well-known Goldsboro ‘cue restaurants no longer around are Scott’s, Griffin’s, Holloway’s, and most recently, Wilber’s.
Probably, the best ‘cue restaurant in Wayne County still putting the pig and all the trimmings on the table is Grady’s out in the Sleepy Creek area.
Parker’s in Wilson still packs them in, as does others in Ayden, and Farmville, and in the Kinston ‘cue joints.
Still, I contend, none of them have the best barbecue, or the bragging rights to it.
The best barbecue in the great state of North Carolina, east or west, will not be found in a restaurant.
I dare not take anything away from the barbecue houses in our state, but none of them have the best. All are good, but not the best.
What about the ‘cue that is laid out on the table at the church or fire department or rescue squad fundraisers?
Those sites have traditionally been big, big deals, because even the ladies get to show off their kitchen talents with those tabletop traditional sides, or trimmings.
Ever tried it at an American Legion post of Veterans of Foreign Wars function?
How about that ‘cue put out at the local hunting or fishing club weekend, “come on, y’all?”
Every neighborhood has, or used to have the best pig ever eaten, or at least the participants said so.
That is where you will find the best barbecue ever put on a table in the state of North Carolina.
It comes from the backyard, and from folks doing the cooking that has been handed down from generation to generation. These are the folks who get the job done and don’t sit around bragging about it.
How many times have y’all been to a pig pickin’ and heard it time after time, “I have eaten a lot of barbecue in my life, but I think this is the best I have ever had?” This is where you will find the best barbecue.
Now, get to know your neighbors, join the VFW or American Legion, get active in a church, support your fire or rescue operations, or get involved in a hunting or fishing club. Now you know.
William Holloman is a staff writer for the Mount Olive Tribune.