North Carolina barbecue has two major styles - Eastern and Western. Eastern is whole-hog meat, with a mostly vinegar sauce. Western is pork shoulder, with a tomato-vinegar sauce. We wanted to try both.
Our first stop was Eastern style at Allen & Son Barbeque in Chapel Hill. We ordered a BBQ and stew plate. No chopped vs sliced options were listed. My research indicated that asking for "outside brown" was the way to go, but when I asked for it I was rebuffed with "it's all mixed together". Not sure if this is a consequence of whole-hog barbecue (this post by Bisquit on RowdyFood would suggest not), or if it is just time-saving on their part.
Anyway, here is the plate:
Although my first impression was lukewarm (the texture was soft and soggy), it began to grow on me after a few bites. The smoke flavor started hitting me - especially when I got the odd crispy edge bit.
The "stew" part of the combo is Brunswick Stew, which I didn't expect to like but was actually pretty decent.
Their hushpuppies were not that great, but then I don't think I've ever had hushpuppies that I would call great...
We also ordered a pork sandwich which was very good. The vinegar mixed in with the meat really accentuated the smoked pork flavor and helped it not get overpowered by the bun - something that I often find a problem with barbecue sandwiches.
Next stop - Western North Carolina Barbecue at Barbecue Center in Lexington.
Allen & Son Barbeque
6203 Millhouse Rd.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina