Gallery: 3 Great Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Joints: Grady's, B's, Wilber's

  • Awesome signage

    No fuss, no muss. They focus on the pork, not the decor.

    Going Mobile

    Grady's does off-site BBQ as well. Just call, and they'll bring the pig to you.

    Where Are We?

    Grady's is quite literally in the middle of nowhere. Not really any other buildings in sight. It can take a bit of finding.

    Lots of Crackling

    Grady's mixes up a ton of crisp, crunchy crackling into its pulled pork, giving it a porky flavor advantage. Its sauce is the only one of the three that had any kind of sweetness to it, though it was still mainly vinegar and spice.

    Grady's Chicken

    Grady's also had the best chicken of the bunch. The skin wasn't crisp, but the meat was plenty juicy (all of the other chicken we tried was dreadfully overcooked) with a nice smoky tinge to it.

    Lotsa Wood

    Want to know how good a BBQ joint is going to be just by looking at it? If you see this, that's a good sign.

    B's Barbecue

    Note that it's 10:30 AM and there's already a line of people ordering full plates of barbecue. Pork starts early in North Carolina.

    Crazy Juicy

    B's was definitely the juiciest of the pork. Not fatty, but juicy, with really nice chunky vinegary potatoes. They don't do hushpuppies, but their fried corn bread sticks are a nice substitute.

    B's Chicken

    It was impressively smoky and crisp, but the meat was hopelessly dry. Chicken isn't really made to be barbecued...

    It's HOT

    There's some indoor seating at B's, but you're better off grabbing a space at one of the picnic tables out back. That is, when it's not 108°F out.

    B's Smokers

    They've got four smokers running every day at B's in a shed out back.

    Wilber's Barbecue

    Certainly the most mainstream of the three I visited (they're located right off the highway, and even have a website!). But that don't mean they ain't serious about their 'cue.

    Pork by the Pound

    Barbecue and sides come by the pint or the quart. Wilber's stuff tends to be very sweet and vinegary (cole slaw and potato salad included) and their pork was definitely the most highly seasoned of the bunch, with a ton of vinegar and pepper, though there's still plenty of pork and a hint of smokiness that shines through.

    Split Wood

    Wander on back behind the fence at the back of Wilber's and you'll find... yep. A big ol' pile of wood.