Thursday, April 1, 2010

Barbecue Capital of the WORLD!

Lexington, North Carolina aka the 'Barbecue Capital of the World' is located a mere 20 minutes from my apartment and it took me almost a year of living here before I ventured out to this town (which I will now refer to as heaven).  Pulled Pork Barbecue is a serious thing in North Carolina--especially in Lexington where many claim to be the best.  There are probably 10 or 15 family-owned barbecue joints in this town alone, all of which have their dedicated fan base of clientele who have been eating at the restaurants for generations. 

To give you an idea...
Lexington-style barbecue is made with pork shoulder cooked slowly over a hardwood fire, usually hickory wood. It is basted in a sauce (called "dip" locally) made with vinegar, ketchup, water, salt, pepper and other spices. The actual ingredients will vary from restaurant to restaurant, with each restaurant's recipe being a closely guarded secret. While each is vinegar based, the taste varies widely from tangy to slightly sweet or spicy.

The most distinguishing feature of the "Lexington Barbecue Sandwich" is the inclusion of red slaw (sometimes called barbecue slaw). Red slaw is a combination of cabbage, vinegar, ketchup and crushed/ground black pepper. Red slaw is distinguishable from coleslaw because red slaw contains no mayonnaise. Many Lexingtonians (and visitors) consider red slaw a staple for a quality barbecue experience. Red slaw is commonly served as a side dish with barbecue, grilled poultry and other meats, and on hotdogs as a relish.

I am now on a mission to decide for myself which Lexington Barbecue Joint reigns supreme.  I am happy to report that my first Lexington Barbecue Restaurant, Barbecue Center, was a it was actually euphoric.  The pork had such a deliciously smoky taste that no extra sauce was needed.  The onion rings. OHHH the onion rings.  A lot of times, hand-battered onions tend to flake, but the batter on these onion rings was nice and thick and did not flake off of the onion.  The sweet tea had so much sugar in it, I am still feeling a sugar buzz (and I'm not complaining!).  The desserts. OMG.  They had banana pudding, chocolate pie, and ice cream.  Although the ice cream was not homemade, the things they do with the stuff is no joke.  I didn't order one but many patrons ordered a banana split and I kid you not, each scoop of ice cream was at least the size of a softball, if not bigger.  I just got a single scoop on a cone and Barbecue Center's single scoop was about the size of a large at Baskin Robbins.  ahhhhhhh I am still dreaming about the meal I consumed last night.  I only wish I would have ordered some hush puppies.

Here is a picture of part of my meal.  Unfortunately the picture does not even do the taste justice.


Barbecue Recipe said...

I love barbecues cooked in wood, really great smokey flavor. Although the picture you provided isn't as appetizing as you would describe it, I think I'll still try this if I happen to cross your town since I love pulled pork bbq.

emily said...

Make sure to check out 'the Monk' whos actual name is "Lexington Barbecue" They are my favorite!