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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

BBQ battle: east versus west

Posted August 4, 2008 10:04 a.m. EDT

As we continue to take your nominations for Best of Carolina Barbecue let’s talk a little bit about the difference between East and West. Both products are seasoned with salty vinegar and pepper. Western or Lexington barbecue recipes also contain ketchup which is conspicuously shunned down east. Both pork products are slow cooked for 9 or 10 hours and sometimes longer. However, the meat itself is different. They cook the whole hog down east while the Lexington chefs only use the pork shoulder. The western or Lexington meat is dark. It has more fat and moisture.

Some barbecue aficionados will only dine at restaurants that cook their meat in a pit over coals of hickory and oak. Hursey’s in Burlington still cooks its BBQ the old fashioned way over hickory coals. It’s mighty good. I had some on my way to the mountains a few weeks back. Another one of my favorite restaurants is Wilber’s in Goldsboro. What about you? Keep the nominations coming and we’ll start the official vote with a poll on Wednesday.

Also, please share your humorous stories about North Carolina barbecue. Do you prefer East over West and why?  Yes, barbecue is a noun in North Carolina.  It is not an adjective. 

Some of the best barbecue can be found at family gatherings.  Would any of the better cooks out there be willing to share their recipes?  What does it take to make a good product?  How much does it cost?  What all do you need to buy?