Also, does anyone have an opinion on the listings on the Historic NC Barbecue Society Map? Are these more or less the best in the state? http://www.ncbbqsociety.com/trail_map.html
, please excuse my tardiness, but I just read your post. Amy & I were in NC over T-giving and took one full day to visit 7 of the 24 NC BBQ Trail restaurants (roughly, between Statesville and Lexington). All were fabulous in their own way, similar but subtly different. I have a 7-chapter RFDigest series in the works to exhibit our findings (coming soon!). In the meantime, the NC BBQ Society was founded by lawyer/author/BBQ chef Jim Early, and I just bought his 2002 book, The Best Tarheel BBQ: Manteo to Murphy
. It's a wonderful encyclopedic look at 140 BBQ shacks around the state, many of which are featured stops on the BBQ Trail. I hope to do an interview with Jim as part of a RFDigest story, but we'll see.
"More or less the best"? In a word, YES! But as you know, everyone has his own opinion on this site. I grew up in the Carolinas and fortunately was exposed to great BBQ during my formative years. The 7 places we visited were beyond fabulous, and now I'm going to obsess over the Trail (much to Amy's chagrin) and visit them all. As for opinions, you'll have to try them for yourself and make the call. The BBQ Trail is indeed a great roadmap for finding indie shacks with great food, great service, and great people to talk to about BBQ. Thanks for asking!