See why this barbecue restaurant was our top readers' pick for North Carolina.

We asked for your favorite joints in North and South Carolina, and the answers poured in like warm hickory smoke. Here’s a look at your top choice in each state.


North Carolina
Lexington Barbecue

South Carolina
Little Pigs Barbecue

Photo by Gary Clark

The Meat:
Shoulders smoked over hickory for nine hours (7,000 pounds per week!), chopped, and served without a drop of sauce. The only condiment this meat sees before it hits your plate is a little salt.

The Sauce:
Vinegar-based and tinged red with tomato ketchup―a bona fide example of the Western
North Carolina style.

The Sides:
Red “barbecue slaw” that gets its color by mixing ketchup with the vinegar, instead of mayonnaise―a Lexington tradition that’s rare to find across the county lines.

Special Order:
Ask for “the brown.” Also known as “the bark.” This part of the shoulder sits closest to the coals, giving it a deeply smoky flavor and a slightly crisp texture.

Sound Bite:
“Everyone has a different style of barbecue―it all depends on what you’re used to. But I think we make the best Western North Carolina style there is.” ―Keith Wright, manager (and part of the family) at Lexington Barbecue

10 U.S. 29/70 South, Lexington, NC 27295; 336-249-9814