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Barbecue Wars: Specialty Round 2, East/West Regional Finals

We’re getting down to crunch time in our quest to determine North Carolina’s best barbecue.

Exploring North Carolina’s Asheville Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

At the beginning of the week, we started with 32 restaurants in our quest to determine the best barbecue in North Carolina. Now we are down to ten, with another four leaving the contest after this round of voting. Below you’ll find capsules for the two finalists in each of the regional variations of barbecue, as well as the voting for the second round of the specialty barbecue restaurants. Today’s voting will help determine the final four of North Carolina barbecue, with the other two contenders to be determined next Monday. If your favorite restaurant didn’t make it, feel free to (politely) air your grievances in the comments.

First up we’ll have the voting for the specialty restaurants, and then below that some real heavyweights duke it out for a spot in the final four. Here we go!

Specialty Round 2

Man...the first round of this bracket was divisive. Southern Charred topped Queen City by two votes, and that wasn’t even the closest one: Picnic squeezed out a win over the Bar-B-Q House by just one vote. (Much to my everlasting dismay, it should be noted.) Click here to see the writeups for the first round!


Who wins this matchup?

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    (1) Brew ‘n Cue
    (49 votes)
  • 26%
    (4) Southern Charred
    (18 votes)
67 votes total Vote Now


Who wins this matchup?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    (2) The Pit
    (44 votes)
  • 46%
    (6) Picnic
    (39 votes)
83 votes total Vote Now

Regional Finals

Western: (1) Lexington Barbecue vs. (2) Stamey’s Barbecue

Lexington (def. Bridges 72-20 in R2)

Lexington is the gold standard for barbecue in North Carolina, as far as I’m concerned. Perfectly cooked every time, melt-in-your-mouth good, and with a few drops of their dip on top of the ‘cue it gets even better.

Stamey’s (def. Woodlands 50-35 in R2)

As you’d expect from the godfather of western barbecue, Stamey’s is a real delight. The differences between Stamey’s and Lexington are negligible, and the misses are rare indeed. Which one you’re partial to is a matter of personal preference, and little else; to me, the sides at Lexington are just a hair above those at Stamey’s, but it’s like critiquing a diamond for not being 100% flawless.


What is the best Western N.C. Barbecue?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    (1) Lexington Barbecue
    (59 votes)
  • 30%
    (2) Stamey’s Barbecue
    (26 votes)
85 votes total Vote Now

Eastern: (1) Skylight Inn/Sam Jones BBQ vs. (2) B’s Barbecue

Skylight Inn (def. Ole Time 69-27 in R2)

Skylight Inn is the very definition of Eastern NC BBQ. Sam Jones has put his own spin on things but the Jones family recipe has never changed. People all across the country make their way to Ayden just to get a taste of true Eastern NC BBQ and who could blame them. It truly is a BBQ lovers dream.

B’s (def. Clyde Cooper’s 57-31 in R2)

The thing to know with B’s is they aren’t fancy and you need to completely understand and expect that before going there. You park on the side of the road, you walk inside a literal shack that looks one good gust of wind away from collapsing, and you order from an extremely limited menu. There is a sanitation rating posted but don’t bother looking.

The other main thing to know with B’s is once they sell out, they close down for the day. Locals know if you want their BBQ you better get there before 1pm or you take a major risk at there being none left. There is none better than B’s in my humble opinion. The flavor created in the old smokehouse (excuse me, carport), is above and beyond better than anywhere else. The slaw is very sweet and pairs perfectly with the BBQ. The sauce is of course the key, and you can find that conveniently located on one of the few tables usually in an old whiskey bottle. If you have never visited B’s before, do it now.


What is the best Eastern N.C. Barbecue?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    (1) Skylight Inn/Sam Jones BBQ
    (46 votes)
  • 52%
    (2) B’s Barbecue
    (51 votes)
97 votes total Vote Now