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Barbecue Wars: Regional Finals for the Pulled Pork and Specialty Brackets

The Pit survives to the third round, and now it’s time to pick the other side of the bracket.

North Carolina Barbecue Photo by April Greer For The Washington Post via Getty Images

We’re almost there.

By this time tomorrow we will have our Final Four of North Carolina barbecue. The last two brackets are down to their final two contenders, and today’s voting will determine the best pulled pork in North Carolina, plus the top specialty barbecue restaurant in the state.

As with the two regional variations, the remaining contenders are top seeds, although they did not escape without a scare, particularly The Pit and NC BBQ, which both trailed for a time before late runs pulled them through to the next round.

A formatting note: tomorrow and Wednesday, instead of running them as separate stories, we’ll run the semifinals and finals in Storm Advisory so that more people have a chance to vote in the final polls. (If you have yet to vote on the East and West finals, let’s rectify that right now, eh?) Also, we will seed the final four by total votes for each finalist.

And with that, let’s move onto the two votes on the board for today!

Pulled Pork: (1) N.C. BBQ Company vs. (2) Pik ‘n Pig

N.C. BBQ Company (def. Big Al’s 36-33 in R2)

From Jamie: They slow-roast their pork on site in smokers located on the arena level of PNC Arena, and if you’ve been to a Canes game in person you’ve probably been lured by the aroma at their carts on the concourse. The pork is lean, tender, and full of flavor, and the cole slaw is just right: neither sweet nor sour and with plenty of crunch. Add a punch of sauce based on your mood, and it’s a perfect option for a sandwich at a hockey game.

Pik ‘n Pig (def. Smokey’s 43-37 in R2)

The barbecue is as moist as you’ll find pulled pork just about anywhere. You may not even need the extra sauce, because the smoky taste of the pork is good enough on its own, and the sides are quite good too (don’t miss the Co-Cola cake). But the real attraction is the location: the restaurant is located on the side of a fairly busy landing strip. It’s not unusual at all for pilots to land, park their plane, and walk right into the restaurant.


What is the best pulled pork barbecue?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    (1) N.C. BBQ Company
    (21 votes)
  • 63%
    (2) Pik ‘n Pig
    (36 votes)
57 votes total Vote Now

Specialty Barbecue: (1) Brew ‘n Cue vs. (2) The Pit

Brew ‘n Cue (def. Southern Charred 49-18 in R2)

If it wasn’t for the fact that you were in a restaurant with 300 taps - anathema to many parts of the state where barbecue and booze never mix - you could be forgiven for thinking you’d been transported east of I-95 when you dive into a plate of chopped barbecue.Brew ‘n Que’s pork is firmly in the eastern style, but they have enough other options - chopped chicken, ribs, and a brisket that I’ve yet to try but I’ve heard nothing but good things about - to make just about anyone happy.

The Pit (def. Picnic 44-39 in R2)

From Jamie: As far as their barbecue is concerned, it’s just okay. The texture is good and it’s tender and lean, but I wish it had a bit more smoke flavor or seasoning, though I can remedy that well enough by adding sauce (I mix eastern and western sauces, yes, I’m a barbecue heathen). But I really like their chopped barbecue, it has a good eastern NC tang to it and doesn’t require extra sauce to season further and I like the texture (not a fan of cue that looks like it’s been run through a food processor). Same with their cole slaw, it’s hearty and coarsely chopped, not too sour and not too sweet. It’s a very good restaurant that serves barbecue and a whole lot more in a great atmosphere where you can enjoy an evening out, so just go do it when the occasion warrants.


What is the best specialty barbecue restaurant?

This poll is closed

  • 61%
    (1) Brew ‘n Cue
    (38 votes)
  • 38%
    (2) The Pit
    (24 votes)
62 votes total Vote Now