Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge wins Readers' Choice award

Shelby BBQ joint named best in state

The term "barbecue" in North Carolina is nearly synonymous with pork, and it's a big part of the state's history. There are two distinct types of barbecue that have developed over hundreds of years in North Carolina: Eastern and Western. The styles differ in the cut of pork, how that pork is prepared and the type of sauce poured on top. The Lexington or Piedmont style uses only the pork shoulder, slow-cooked and pulled, and a barbecue sauce that includes ketchup, vinegar, pepper and a variety of spices. The Eastern style uses a whole hog cooked low and slow, chopped and topped with a vinegar and pepper based sauce with no ketchup to be found.

  • Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge

    Red and Lyttle Bridges opened a barbecue restaurant called Dedmond's Barbecue in 1946, and when they moved the business to Shelby three years later, it was renamed Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge. The pork here gets slow cooked over hickory all night long, just like it was six decades ago.
    Photo courtesy of Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge / Facebook

  • Willie Brooks BBQ

    Everything at Willie Brooks BBQ is made from scratch each day, including their slow-smoked meats. The pork comes pulled with bread and a choice of two sides. Diners can choose from six different sauces, including a vinegar-based sauce, Carolina mustard sauce and even an Alabama-style white sauce.
    Photo courtesy of Willie Brooks BBQ / Facebook

  • Midwood Smokehouse

    The BBQ offerings from Midwood Smokehouse include hickory-smoked chopped pork, slaw and an Eastern South Carolina-style mustard barbecue sauce. Beef brisket, smoked and pulled chicken, burnt ends and St. Louis-style pork ribs also make an appearance.
    Photo courtesy of Midwood Smokehouse

  • Stamey's Barbecue

    Stamey's cooks their pork shoulders "Lexington-style" over all hardwood coals for eight to 10 hours. Besides mouth-watering barbecue and a secret recipe sauce, or "dip," Stamey's is also famous for introducing the hush puppy to the North Carolina barbecue scene. 
    Photo courtesy of Stamey's Barbecue / Facebook

  • Southern Smoke BBQ

    Founded in 2010 by husband and wife duo Matthew and Jessica Register, Southern Smoke BBQ has quickly gained a following for its pork cooked low and slow over oak wood coals. Diners can choose from two different sauces to dress their pulled pork.
    Photo courtesy of Southern Smoke BBQ

  • City Barbeque and Catering
    Multiple Locations

    The folks at City Barbeque and Catering wake up early to slow smoke their meats with local hickory wood, including classic pulled pork, as well as beef brisket, chicken, sausage and turkey breast.
    Photo courtesy of City Barbeque and Catering

  • The Pit

    True to its name, The Pit cooks their whole hog ‘cue in open pits over charcoal and wood in Durham’s Central Park district. Diners can order it chopped with a spicy vinegar kick or pulled and ready to sauce.
    Photo courtesy of The Pit / Facebook

  • MeMa's Chick'n & Ribs

    While pulled Boston butt does make an appearance on the ‘cue menu at MeMa's Chick'n & Ribs, this local favorite is best known for their slow-smoked chicken and hearty pork ribs. Their mac and cheese and hushpuppies also win rave reviews.
    Photo courtesy of MeMa's Chick'n & Ribs / Facebook

  • Haywood Smokehouse
    Waynesville & Dillsboro

    Hoywood Smokehouse specializes in Texas-style barbecue, but while brisket is a specialty, pork lovers can still order chopped pork, smoked for up to 18 hours, piled high with a choice of two sides.
    Photo courtesy of Haywood Smokehouse / Facebook

  • Buxton Hall Barbecue

    The Eastern-style of 'cue served at Buxton Hall is made by smoking whole local pasture-raised hogs low and slow for 18 hours over hardwood coals. The meat gets mopped with a vinegar sauce throughout. Plates come with slaw, pickles, cornbread and choice of sides.
    Photo courtesy of Andrew Thomas Lee / Buxton Hall Barbecue

The top 10 winners in the category Best BBQ in North Carolina are as follows:

  1. Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge - Shelby
  2. Willie Brooks BBQ - Waynesville
  3. Midwood Smokehouse - Charlotte
  4. Stamey's Barbecue - Greensboro
  5. Southern Smoke BBQ - Garland
  6. City Barbeque and Catering - Multiple Locations
  7. The Pit - Durham
  8. MeMa's Chick'n & Ribs - Burgaw
  9. Haywood Smokehouse - Waynesville & Dillsboro
  10. Buxton Hall Barbecue - Asheville

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning restaurants!

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