The Pit Authentic Barbecue in Durham serves traditional barbecue fare — pork, corn bread, black-eyed peas — along with modern extras such as quinoa salad. (April Greer/For The Washington Post)

Unless otherwise noted, all restaurants cook over hardwood embers.

Sam Jones BBQ (opening this fall)

715 W. Firetower Rd., Winterville

(currently no phone)

Old-school goes uptown, from Skylight Inn’s Sam Jones. Whole hog. Also, pork spare ribs, chicken and standard sides (mac and cheese, baked beans, etc.)

Bum’s Restaurant

566 Third St., Ayden


Cafeteria-style diner. Get the mild-flavored chopped whole-hog sandwich and banana pudding.

Skylight Inn BBQ

4618 S. Lee St., Ayden


A James Beard American Classic. Get the tray: cabbage-only coleslaw, dense corn bread and lightly dressed, finely chopped whole hog with crispy skin mixed in; also get a slaw-topped sandwich on a hamburger bun.

Wilber’s Barbecue

4172 Hwy. 70 E., Goldsboro


Visited by presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Get the plate: moist, coarsely chopped whole hog, coleslaw, hush puppies, Brunswick stew.

Grady’s BBQ

3096 Arrington Bridge Rd., Dudley


Tiny legend in the eastern countryside. Get the zesty, skin-studded, chopped whole hog, fried chicken, house-made collards, butter beans and sweet potato pie.

Picnic (opening later this year)

1647 Cole Mill Rd., Durham


Heritage modernized. Menu is a work in progress. Pasture-raised whole hog is definite. Regional-based sides, such as sweet potato and pear soup and smoked trout dip.

The Pit Authentic Barbecue

321 W. Geer St., Durham


328 W. Davie St., Raleigh


Modern. Whole hog, sauce-glazed baby back ribs, beef brisket. Crispy chicken livers, kale salad and more. Get the pit-smoked wings and chopped pork.

Allen & Son Barbeque

6201 Millhouse Rd., Chapel Hill


East meets West. Get the coarsely chopped, mocha-colored Piedmont-style shoulder doused with a spirited version of eastern-style vinegar-pepper sauce; and the house-made ice cream.

The Pig

630 Weaver Dairy Rd., Chapel Hill 919-942-1133.

Post-modern. Country-fried tofu, barbecued tempeh, shiitake po’ boy; and pan-regional: beef brisket (Texas) and gumbo (New Orleans). The barbecue? Whole hog.

Hillsborough BBQ Company

236 S. Nash St., Hillsborough


Ecumenical. Three slaws — eastern (creamy), Lexington (red) and mustard-based (yellow) — along with catfish, pork ribs and beef brisket. Get the chopped pork shoulder, smoky from smoldering hardwood.


2206 W. Gate City Blvd.,


2812 Battleground Ave.



Piedmont institution going back to 1930. Get the sliced shoulder, a flavorful mound of crispy-skinned slabs of juicy meat. Don’t pass up the blackberry cobbler.

Lexington Barbecue

100 Smokehouse Lane, Lexington


Classic Piedmont style. Get the coarse and sliced pork shoulder (yes, both) and the top-notch hush puppies.

Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge

2000 E. Dixon Blvd., Shelby


Three generations of family operation. Get the piled-high chopped pork sandwich (with slaw, of course), and don’t miss the pimento cheese sandwich.

12 Bones Smokehouse

5 Riverside Dr., Asheville


3678 Sweeten Creek Rd., Arden


Anything goes. Get an Obama fave, the don’t-knock-it-till-you’ve-tried-it blueberry-chipotle-sauced pork ribs. Also, the jalapeño cheese grits, corn pudding and smoked potato salad. Uses a wood-enhanced oven.

Buxton Hall

32 Banks Ave., Asheville


Neo-traditional. Pasture-raised whole hog. Sides from the chef’s South Carolina childhood: hash and rice, chicken bog.

— J.S.