Top-Rated BBQ Restaurants in North Carolina’s 10 Largest Cities

(WGHP) — Whether Oriental-style, Lexington-style, or South Carolina-style, barbecuing can help you make friends or foes very quickly.

Carolina residents take no quarter when it comes to ranking their favorite barbecues.

That’s why we took to Trip Advisor to see which barbecue restaurants were the best of the best in North Carolina’s 10 largest cities.


Midwood Smokehouse

Rating: 4.5 stars

Class : #3 of 1,740 restaurants in Charlotte

It’s the top pick in North Carolina’s biggest city, so it must have some weight! While Charlotte is only about an hour’s drive from Lexington, Midwood Smokehouse follows the route from eastern North Carolina. The restaurant’s classic barbecue plates feature hickory-smoked ground pork lightly dressed in their own oriental-style vinegar sauce. You can get a small plate for $11 or a large plate for $14.

If you want to try it for yourself, you don’t necessarily have to drive to Charlotte. In addition to its three locations in Queen City, Midwood can also be found at Birkdale Village in Huntersville and Cross Hill Market in Columbia, South Carolina.


The Authentic Barbecue Pit

Rating: 4 stars

Class : #32 of 973 restaurants in Raleigh

You have your pick at The Pit. One reviewer wrote, “Great for what it is – classic North Carolina barbecue. Both Eastern and Western sauces are available (ie: vinegar and tomato), and the pork is excellent. For beginners, I recommend the Pit Sampler. A plate of chopped barbecue will set you back $13.99. The Pit Sampler, a tour of their most popular appetizers, sells for $14.99 and includes pit-smoked wings, barbecued soul rolls, deviled eggs and chili cheese balls.

To put The Pit to the test, visit the one and only restaurant at 328 W. Davie St.


Mac’s Speed ​​Shop

Rating: 4 stars

Class : #34 of 607 restaurants in Greensboro

If you weren’t hungry yet, Mac’s Speed ​​Shop BBQ Plate description will change that. The restaurant claims its hickory-smoked pulled pork is “dry-rubbed, slow-smoked for 12 hours, and lightly drizzled with Carolina BBQ sauce.” A small is $12 and a large $14. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can get it on a taco. And if you feel really adventurous you can try the “Fatboy Challenge” which is a huge 5 pound sandwich with pork, brisket, burger, applewood smoked bacon, queso blanco, coleslaw, fried pickles and Mac’s Burn Out sauce, plus it comes with a half pound of mac and cheese. If you finish, it’s free, and if you don’t, it’ll cost you $70.

Mac’s has eight locations in North and South Carolina. If you can’t make it to Greensboro, visit them in Fayetteville, Lake Norman, Matthews, Charlotte (2 locations), Wilmington, or Greenville, SC.


The Original Q Hut

Rating: 4.5 stars

Class : #1 of 102 Quick Bites in Durham

The Original Q Shack doesn’t need to seduce you with fancy words. They serve a pork plate with two sides and hushpuppies for $10.95, and it pretty much sells itself. The shop, founded by chef Dan Ferguson and his wife Amanda, claims to have perfected their recipes for more than 20 years. One reviewer said: “One of the first requirements of a good BBQ is tender, moist meat and Original Q knocks it out of the park on that.”

When they say they are “the original”, they really mean it. There’s only one, and you can find it at 2510 University Drive.

Winston Salem

Camel City BBQ Factory

Rating: 4 stars

Class : #21 of 421 restaurants in Winston Salem

A classic dish with an industrial twist, the Camel City BBQ Factory may sound heavy, but they take their time when it comes to pulled pork. The restaurant serves “hand-pulled pork, smoked and slow-cooked for ten hours.” A plate costs $9.85. One reviewer said: ‘We stopped in because it looked interesting and offered al fresco dining. I was charmed by the bright decor and the friendliness of the staff. The food was amazing: large portions of succulent barbecue, my salad was fresh and crispy and topped with a generous portion of brisket.

Drop by the “Factory” at 701 Liberty St.


Mission BBQ

Rating: 4.5 stars

Class : #1 of 52 Quick Bites in Fayetteville

Now, this one is interesting because it’s the only name that appears twice on this list, and that’s because they really spread the love. With 109 locations in multiple states as of 2021+, Mission is the most prevalent brand we have in this top 10, and they don’t specialize in any particular regional style. Mission launched on September 11, 2011, ten years after the attack on the World Trade Center, and this is no coincidence. The patriotic brand is known for supporting the military, including hiring local veterans and offering them free food on certain occasions. Their pulled pork is “slow smoked” and “hand pulled” and a plate sells for $8.19. Under his list of sandwiches they say you can get your BBQ “Traditional or NC Style”.

You can find them at 1932 Skibo Road, but they also have locations in Jacksonville and Wilmington with plans to open in Greenville.


City BBQ

Rating: 4.5

Class : #3 of 58 Quick Bites in Cary

You may be skeptical when you hear that City Barbecue is based in Ohio, but they’re not trying to beat the Carolinas at their own game. They pay homage. “We don’t limit ourselves to any particular region or style, but rather try to showcase the breadth and depth of barbecue found across the country,” the company says on its website. They specialize in “American BBQ – all of it,” Texas-style beef brisket or Carolina pulled pork. And so far, people love it. City Barbecue has grown to 46 locations in six states. But we’re here to talk about real BBQ: City has a pulled pork sandwich for $7.29 or Lolo’s pulled pork sandwich for $7.49.

There are more than a few City Barbecue locations in North Carolina. In Cary you can find them at 1305 Kildaire Farm Road, but you can also find them in Raleigh, Durham, Garner, Greensboro and the Charlotte area.


Mission BBQ

Rating: 4.5 stars

Class : #5 of 81 Quick Bites in Wilmington

Mission BBQ is the only barbecue to appear on this list twice! Check out the details above under Fayetteville or skip the preview and visit them at 351 S. College Road in Wilmington.

high point

BBQ Joe’s

Rating: 4.5 stars

Class : #3 of 176 restaurants in High Point

You can get killer barbecue at the big chains, but can anything top a family restaurant? Not in high point! The idea for BBQ Joe’s originated at a New Year’s Eve church service in 2004. The rest is history. Swipe to Joe’s for a plate of pork with “slow-cooked and smoked minced or pulled” for $9.25. One reviewer said: “Everything we had here was delicious, starting with (of course) the hushpuppies, which are as good as everyone here says they are. The BBQ was better than what we had had a few days earlier at a better known establishment.

The original location is at 2822 S. Main Street. in High Point, but you can also find them in Trinity.


The smoking room

Rating: 4.5 stars

Class : #1 of 209 restaurants in Concorde

You know it’ll be good when it’s slow cooked and smoked for 6 p.m. The Smoke Pit serves hickory-smoked pulled pork as a regular plate for $12.95 or a large for $15.95. But they didn’t stop there. You can actually get your barbecue on what they call a “super spud”, which includes pulled pork, southern sweet sauce, cheddar cheese, chunks of smoked bacon, sour cream and green onions, for $12.95. One reviewer said, “I’ve been smoking a bunch of times and it never fails to be so delicious!!!” Side note: This reviewer and several others also paid tribute to one server in particular that seems to have become something of a local celebrity: AC. They say he’s “hands down the best server”.

Check them out at 796 Concord Parkway North or in Salisbury, Monroe and Gastonia.

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