Living in the Washington, DC area you can get good BBQ like at Hill Country. However, you really never had great BBQ until you go down south. #facts. In search of great BBQ, I ended up taking a day trip to North Carolina.
A 6-hour drive later (by the way I hate 95-S, there is always traffic! Why? It is a highway… just ), I ended up at one of the historic North Carolina’s BBQ spots called Skylight Inn located in Ayden, NC. Driving up to Skylight Inn, a distinctive Washington, DC landmark is perched on top of the restaurant. Known as the “Capitol of North Carolina BBQ” was established in 1947, have been cooking pigs or hogs over wood. Being it was the first stops on NC BBQ Summertime Swine, FUCCCCCKKKKK it was sooo good!!! Let’s just talk about the food.
1. Pulled pork BBQ: Skylight Inn gets there pigs at the same place since they have been established. They cook their hogs over wood which gives it a smokey hickory flavor. What I loved was how they incorporated the pig skin aka gristle. That makes it a surprising crispy crunchy delight. The pork wasn’t dry and it literally melted in my mouth. And I can be the judge of that since I had just had double jaw surgery and I was still on a soft mechanical diet. Kinda sorta.
2. BBQ sauce.: they make their own friggin’ BBQ sauce!!! They had two types the East North Carolina, a vinegar based sauce, and the hickory bbq sauce, the traditional thicker sauce.
3. Other food items: BBQ chicken was a bit tough for me. I’m used to the meat falling off the bone. However, it was very flavorful for BBQ chicken. I also order the banana pudding. I had high hopes for the banana pudding but yea did not live up to my hype. Mind you my banana pudding standards is between one of my best friend’s father homemade banana pudding and Magnolia’s Bakery famous banana pudding located in New York. OH SHIT… I forgot about the coleslaw!!
4. Coleslaw. Yes. I had to give it a separate number. Because it was probably the best coleslaw I ever consume. I don’t know about the everyone else. BUT the majority of the people I know, including myself, I. Don’t. Fuck. With. Coleslaw. I never understood why people took the time out to make this horrendous side dish. HOWEVER… this coleslaw… you can give me a whole pan of this stuff and I will FIGHT someone. Don’t touch my Skylight Inn coleslaw.
So overall I give Skylight a bomb dot com. I even bought the two types of BBQ sauce and the pulled pork.
Now that Skylight Inn was a huge win. I was confident about this historical NC BBQ trail. ON TO THE NEXT BBQ spot!!!
About a 10-minute drive down the road is Bum’s restaurant. Bums is not part of the historical NC BBQ trail, however, had pretty good reviews, they use the same method of wood burning and smoking the hogs and it was down the street. Why not? Located in downtown Ayden, NC ( the population is 5,000), exteriorly it is simple and looks like one of those restaurants from the 1980s. Unfortunately…. that is how far I got to assess Bum’s because it closed 5 minutes before. I blame the fucking 95-S traffic.
Determined to have more BBQ, I head to Greenville, NC about 20 minutes West from Ayden to B’s Barbeque. One thing that I noticed immediately heading to B’s Barbeque was how B’s had they own road. Instantly, I knew in my heart this place was lit. BUT again…. SHIT was closed! (Disclaimer: I arrived in North Carolina around 12 pm. If you are wondering) It wasn’t closed like Bum’s like they had operating hours. It was closed because they ran out of food. How does a spot run out of food midday??!
As I walk sadly back to my car and defeated. I decided to go to one more place on the historical trail, Jack Cobb and Son’s BBQ located in Farmville. Jack Cobb and Son’s BBQ is a family run spot and opens only three days out of the week ( Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday) that is because that is when they cook the pigs. Just like the other B’s, it was very simple and did not have sit down area. The exterior of Jack Cobb’s was repainted and it was cute. THANKFULLY!!!! It was still opened when I got there. Let me review:
- Pork: More vinegary than Skylight’s and did not have the gristle included. One thing of I really enjoyed about the pulled pork at Jack Cobb’s was the longer the pork was in the juices… the better it was. It is like that Pepsi/ Coke Challenge. Skylight’s was great and first taste but Jack Cobb’s had that great long-term taste.
- Other food: Jack Cobb’s offers BBQ chicken or turkey and side dishes ( hush puppies, coleslaw, collard greens and etc). I ordered the BBQ chicken, hush puppies, and collard greens. The BBQ chicken was much better here. The meat pulled right off the bone. Hush puppies were moist on the inside but had the crispy hard shell!!
Jack Cobb’s does not have a sit-in area but they do have a couple of picnic tables outside.