Slideshow: Notes from the South: North Carolina Barbecue

Outside of Wilber's Barbecue
Outside of Wilber's Barbecue
First up on our trip was Wilber's Barbecue in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Wilber's uses the whole hog for their pulled pork mixture. While the gizzards can be a bit too done here, the barbecue is always spot-on.
Chopped Barbecue at Wilber's
Chopped Barbecue at Wilber's
The chopped barbecue mixture at Wilber's was the spiciest, fattiest barbecue I ate down South. The meat was tender and juicy with a smokey depth that pervaded not only the meat, but the entire interior of the restaurant.
Hush Puppies at Wilber's
Hush Puppies at Wilber's
These were nicely sweet and crunchy, though not nearly as crispy as the round ones at Allen and Son (which I'll get to in a second).
Pork Shoulders Smoking at Lexington
Pork Shoulders Smoking at Lexington
Here the shoulders are smoked overnight with hickory wood. The man handling the pit that night lifted the cardboard to show me the crispy, burnished skins of the new batch underneath.
Pork Shoulder Slices at Lexington
Pork Shoulder Slices at Lexington
This was my favorite preparation at Lexington. Moist and juicy, the pork was dressed minimally with just a bit of the chili, vinegar, and tomato-based sauce.
Pork Shoulder Chunks at Lexington
Pork Shoulder Chunks at Lexington
The chunks were considerably drier than the larger, sliced sections of pork. Still, the smokiness of the meat came through. And the coleslaw served with all the pork platters was sweet and full of tomato flavor.
Hush Puppies at Lexington
Hush Puppies at Lexington
Though crisp, they lacked the sweetness and crunch of their Wilber's counterparts.
Allen and Son Barbecue
Allen and Son Barbecue
Allen and Son, located in Chapel Hill, has characteristics of both Western and Eastern-style barbecue. The establishment uses only the shoulder meat for its chopped mixture (a Western custom), yet the sauce is a chili and vinegar-based concoction that reflects more of the Eastern style.
Chopped Barbecue at Allen and Son
Chopped Barbecue at Allen and Son
Though I found it to be on the dry side, others at the table appreciated the bits of chewy, exterior pork mixed with the more tender interior sections. The barbecue was intensely smoky and moistened just slightly with vinegar and flecks of chili.