Hog farmer Paul Stephenson opened this treasured barbecue joint in 1958 and it’s been serving some of the most juicy, slow-cooked barbecue in the area ever since. Not to be missed is Stephenson’s fried chicken, which is so popular you need to order it ahead of time, and the Brunswick Stew, a scratch-made classic consisting of a flavorful tomato base, hearty vegetables and pulled meat.
Although it’s a bit off the beaten path, Grady’s down-home barbecue joint is not one to pass on. Grady’s is known for its chopped pork (not pulled), which has a smokey flavor and somewhat crunchy texture, as well as golden fried chicken and perfectly crispy hushpuppies. Be sure to bring cash.
The hour-and-a-half trek is worth it for Skylight Inn’s old-fashioned whole hog, wood smoked barbecue, a tradition in the Jones family passed down for three generations. Since 1947, the Inn has been serving up barbecue in its “purest form,” with sides of buttery cornbread and coleslaw.
Established in the 1960s, Bum’s Restaurant is still one of the only barbecue places in Eastern North Carolina to feature a buffet table of freshly made vegetable sides, including classics such as stewed rutabaga, black-eyed peas and finely chopped collard greens, all of which are grown in owner Latham “Bum” Dennis’s personal garden. Don’t miss out on the perfectly moist barbecue or warm banana pudding, either.
B’s Barbecue and Grill
B’s is about as no-frills as it gets when it comes to barbecue, as it’s been perfected since the family-owned business opened in the 1970s. Staying close to it’s Eastern North Carolina roots, the barbecue comes with a tangy vinegar sauce, great for dipping the signature crispy cornbread sticks in. Get there early (B’s closes when the hog runs out) and bring cash.