These could be fighting words.  People around here are passionate about their barbecue. Here are the seven best barbecue places in North Carolina.   I am from Shelby, North Carolina originally and we pride ourselves on some pretty good barbecue in the area.  When we say barbecue around these parts, we do not mean grilling out.  We mean that slow-cooked pork, chicken, or beef that could take days to perfect.  Add some slaw please and don’t forget the hushpuppies. Barbecue places get extra points for the perfect sweet tea.

Before deciding to make this list, I  had to check in to see if one of my favorites is on here.  And it is.  Only in Your State poured over countless reviews and scores to come up with the best barbecue places in North Carolina.  There is always the Eastern versus Western North Carolina factor.  It is a matter of taste between vinegar-based and tomato-based barbecue. What makes a good barbecue? I asked for a definition and this is what Google told me, ‘What makes good BBQ? I consider successful barbecue to be the combination of seven basic characteristics happening at once: tenderness, juiciness, smokiness, proper fat rendering, enhanced rub, good exterior bark, all with a firm texture.”

For more information on the best BBQ places in North Carolina, check out the full list in Only In Your State right here.



  • Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge - Shelby, North Carolina

    If you don’t mind I will start with one of my personal favorites and it is also on the list from Only In Your State.  Here is what they had to say about what many people around here say is one of the best.  The nation thinks so too. “Voted Best BBQ in the NATION by Garden & Gun, you can guarantee a great BBQ platter with a side of hushpuppies. With 70 years in the BBQ biz plus fresh-cooked and smoked daily…you get the best here.”

  • 12 Bones Smokehouse Asheville, North Carolina

    Here is how Only In Your State describes this place, “Get here early and grab your spot in line…trust me though, you won’t mind waiting. Everything is made from scratch and prepared daily.”

  • Little Richard's Winston Salem, North Carolina

    Only In Your State has some nice things about this place. “Little Richard’s has both a great atmosphere and great food. Dine beneath original tobacco advertisements and regalia (it is Camel city) while eating some delicious, tangy, vinegar-based BBQ. ”

  • Kyle Fletcher's BBQ and Catering Lowell, North Carolina

    I added this in on a personal note.  I discovered this little building in Gastonia by accident.  I lived near there at the time and stumbled in one day for lunch.  Let’s put it this way, I have had this BBQ catered to every event I have had a part in organizing including my own daughter’s wedding reception.  The bbq is good and the sides!! Oh my! The beans, the mac and cheese.  Try it all!

  • Stamey's Barbecue, Greensboro, North Carolina

    Here is what Only In Your State has to say about Stamey’s. “Although Stamey’s has grown to two locations…the BBQ is still authentic and delicious. It’s smoked for 8-10 hours over hardwood hickory coals. Not to mention the hush puppies and slaw.”

  • Black's Barbecue Gastonia, North Carolina (Bonus personal favorite:)

    I needed to add this personal favorite to the list as well.  I discovered this place in South Gastonia when I lived there and I think all of Gaston County would call me to task if I did not include this on the list.  Out of all the barbecue places I have been to in North Carolina this is one of the best.  And that special slaw/sauce.  If you are in the area, I highly recommend it!

  • The Skylight Inn Ayden, North Carolina

    This is a family that means business about barbecue.  They have been creating some of the best eastern North Carolina style vinegar-based barbecue since 1811! The Skylight Inn has been serving up the deliciousness since 1947.

  • Lexington BBQ (formerly called the 'Honemonk') Lexington, North Carolina

    In Your State says this is the best Lexington Style BBQ in the state!  Whoa!  That is a big statement.  The ‘Honeymonk’ claims to be the birthplace of Lexington style BBQ. So much so that the name has changed to simply Lexington Barbecue.


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