RE: Gastonia, NC
Shelby, N.C. is a barbeque destination as it has two first- rate wood burner's of long-standing reputation.
Last spring, en route home from Charleston, I made my first visit to Shelby for dinner at Bridges Barbecue Lodge. I thought that if I had a light dinner around 5, I could drive into town to the other celebrated pit, Alston Bridges Barbecue (no relation), and have their bbq pork sandwich with the requisite slaw and hush puppies.
A light dinner was not to be. I wound up ordering a full bbq pork dinner, had a second order of hush puppies, and then two que sandwiches, loaded with their delicious dip. Bridges Barbecue Lodge has superlative que--slowly cooked over hardwood coals--and their hush puppies are right up there with the best.
The engaging owner, daughter of the founder, told me 40 pork shoulders had been pit roasted for that Saturday's business and would be gone by early evening. I like the couple who own Bridges Barbecue Lodge and can enthusiastically recommend their place to any lover of authentic barbeque. Coming from I 85, the business is on the U.S. 74 Bypass (at the eastern end of Shelby) just across the highway from the Cleveland Mall.
In his book, North Carolina: Flavored by Time, Bob Garner raves about both establishments.
I want to visit Shelby again soon, and will probably do so on an October trip from Kentucky to Charleston (not a bad detour from I 26). I may stay overnight so I can dine at Alston Bridges Barbecue AND reprise my terrific meal at Bridges Barbecue Lodge. Alston Bridges Barbecue is now run by son Kent's 3 grown children. There's a nice photo of the family in Bob Garner's first book.