A bewildering North Carolina BBQ experience

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While visiting a friend in North Carolina, I had to stop in to a real BBQ restaurant to experience authentic southern BBQ. We drove through Raleigh and ended up at The Pit, a restaurant with overwhelmingly positive reviews on Yelp.

This place was apparently featured on the Travel Channel. Their claim to fame is that they slow roast the entire hog until the meat is falling apart, and then they serve it to their customers.

the pit raleigh

Now, I’m no barbecue aficionado or culinary expert, but when I think of BBQ, I think of something that looks like this, which I got in Kansas City:

gates barbq chicken

Instead, the pulled pork we received at The Pit in Raleigh looked like this:

pulled pork sandwich

the pit bbq raleigh

I sat there dumbfounded. No sauce whatsoever! Evidently that’s a thing down here. I suppose it makes sense on some level – you want to highlight the meat and not drown with other flavors. But I was taken aback because I’ve certainly never ordered BBQ and received a platter of boring, dry meat.

I gave the plain pork a shot, but it wasn’t tasty enough on its own, so I ended up having to add my own sauce anyway. Talk about a weird feeling. Here I was at an upscale BBQ establishment, and all of the flavor in my dinner came from the jar of BBQ sauce on the table. That’s just bizarre.

pit bbq interior

The Pit was the only North Carolina BBQ place I visited, so I won’t write off the entire state’s BBQ industry based on one questionable experience. However, it’s telling that the Pit was one of the only places I could find that was open on a Sunday. This being the south, most other BBQ joints were closed on the holy day.

I’ll give North Carolina BBQ another try the next time I’m back in the state – provided it’s on a weekday.

Which kind of barbecue do you prefer?

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About Scott Shetler

Scott is a Chicago-based journalist and blogger who seeks out quirky sights and awesome destinations throughout North America and beyond.

3 comments on “A bewildering North Carolina BBQ experience

  1. I’ve lived in NC my entire life and never had “dry” BBQ except at an actual pig picking where you pick your meat off of the pig on the grill. Then you would add your sauce. Usually there are different sauces to pick from. Sorry you missed the experience of real NC BBQ.

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