My wife, Karen and I headed out on the “Pig Pen Trail” on day 8 as we BBQ’d our way to Noble’s Grille in Winston-Salem. There is a lot of potential for “Q School” between Charlotte and Winston-Salem, and I usually go to the Grille once or twice a week.
Our first stop was going to be Richard’s BBQ in Salisbury, but we couldn’t help but take a side journey to Hap’s Grill on Main Street. Man, those hot dogs are really good. I ordered Karen’s with mustard and chili, then I ordered mine with mustard, chili and slaw to which the lady said “we don’t have slaw.” Make it two with mustard and chili, and don’t forget the Cheerwine (which by the way, was founded in Salisbury). There is a stand up counter inside and two stand up wooden tables outside. We ate outside and it was mighty fine! It’s a piece of legend and old NC downtown historic landmark.
Next stop, two blocks down the street was Richard’s BBQ. According to Jim Early from his book The Best Tar Heel Barbecue, Richard’s opened in 1935 under the name of T&F Barbecue on Council Street. It is now owned and operated by Richard Monroe, who I believe was there when we arrived. Richard still hand chops the BBQ for sandwiches to order. They still cook with hardwoods – mostly hickory and oak I presume. I had the coarse chopped which was very good. Karen had the BBQ chicken and as Jim says it was excellent too. Their hushpuppies were large round pups, a little larger than golf balls and we thought they were some of the best we have had in a while. I would go back for the chicken and hushpuppies alone. This is another piece of NC BBQ history and we were glad we had this on our list.
Hill’s Lexington BBQ in Winston-Salem was our last stop for the day. Started in 1951 by Joe Allen Hill, this was the first restaurant to use “Lexington-Style” barbecue in its name. None of the existing BBQ joints in Lexington had called their’s Lexington-style, and at that time, there were only a few. Joe Hill was from Lexington. His wife has been given credit for making the restaurant so successful. They are still in the same location they started in. Their son Gene grew up in Lexington and has been an integral part of the restaurant’s long life. In fact, in the early 50’s, when big Fuzzy Nelson wanted to start a BBQ restaurant in Madison, he came to see Gene. Gene even cooked the pork BBQ for Adam Scott when he came to Winston-Salem to be RJ Reynold’s personal BBQ chef. Adam Scott is a story all to himself, and has my respect – more on Scott on a later post.
We had coarse chopped, chopped and sliced Q at Hill’s and of course the banana pudding. This was, after all, our third lunch. And, by the way, Pam met us there for another restaurant business meeting over BBQ. We applaud the great BBQ history at Hill’s Lexington BBQ in Winston-Salem and enjoyed seeing the outdoor sights of wood and pit cooking.
This is Hill’s woodpile outside of their restaurant. Notice how clean, neat and orderly it is. You know that when a restaurant keeps it’s property clean and organized, on all fronts, the kitchen is clean also. Thank you Hill’s for keeping up the tradition and maintaining high standards, take it from a chef!
See you on the next post – where we head to Cook’s BBQ in Lexington (must be a Postal address only). I can’t believe the BBQ Jew beat me there. We must have crossed paths on the country road in. These guys are funny and you need to check out their blog.