DTR Barbecue Thread

So I know this is a DTR-focused site, and there aren’t many Q options downtown, but I gotta poll the crowd to see if there’s any news on Sam Jones’ new spot. I’m dying to try it—huge Skylight fan here.

Plus, I just love to talk barbecue in general. It’s one of the things that makes NC special and unique. I even had Coopers cater my wedding (and all of our kids’ birthday parties since then).

@dtraleigh feel free to roll into another thread, but I think there’s potential for Raleigh—with Coopers, The Pit, Southern Charred (which I haven’t tried yet), Sam Jones, and hopefully others soon—to claim pork barbecue as its “destination food”, like Nashville’s hot chicken, Philly’s steaks, etc.


I never understood why Eastern NC BBQ is rarely promoted or marketed nationwide. That stuff is awesome. It would be a great idea to make Raleigh one of the known BBQ centers, but you need a lot of people to eat/purchase. I love both the shredded Q from a restaurant and the Pig Pickin.


Because vinegar isn’t a great flavor and it gives decent Americans heartburn

I agree. All it needs is the marketing. I’ve always wondered why Raleigh doesn’t push this more.

I was never into the typical southern food, but eastern NC whole hog is one of my favorite foods. Whether it’s authentic or a sandwich from Smithfield’s, I love it.

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I also had Cooper’s cater my rehearsal dinner, showed it off to a lot of out-of-towners. Loved it!

A little perspective from me personally though is that barbecue in North Carolina seems to work well in the “dive diner” setting but, and this is my opinion, it’s a little out of place in a nice restaurant. Also, how do you make it hip at all?

The Pit just seems to nice for the food it serves but they seem to do well and we always consider it when we have a large group. No offense to barbecue but it also seems to work well with picky eaters.

At my office, I have not once been able to convince anyone to walk over to Cooper’s for lunch with me. (anyone want to go?) I work with a variety of picky eaters who either have dietary restrictions or prefer spices (Asian) or salads. (Happy and Hale, etc)

How can one elevate NC barbecue to kind of give it new life? It’s tried and true but it could use a little marketing to be honest. (no offense to the purists)


I’m an eastern NC product and can cook a whole hog personally. ENC BBQ doesn’t need “marketing”…never has…

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@GucciLittlePig and I find ground that we disagree upon.

Happy to meet you at Coopers for lunch one Friday. Others?

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I was mostly joking. It’s definitely good once in awhile but not my personal favorite.

My wife and I fantasize about moving abroad and opening up an Eastern NC BBQ joint wherever we go.
Tokyo? Portugal? The south of France?


Longleaf Swine will (maybe? Someday?) be opening @ Transfer, too! More BBQ downtown!

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It’s a great question. How did Nashville hot chicken get to be their thing? Charleston shrimp and grits? Philly steaks? Chicago deep dish? Was it just having some iconic restaurant develop a cult following in that niche and suddenly its city decided to ride with it? Or was it something else? I’m honestly not sure.

But, we always talk about “what is Raleigh’s ‘thing,’” and I’ve gotta say there’s potential—if Raleigh really embraced it and ran with it—for pork BBQ to be a legit attraction that people come for, or at least make sure they get while they’re here for business, etc.

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Oh, and @dtraleigh if I worked with you, I’d never say no to a Coopers run!! Cracklins FTW!!

I wrote a whole other post and posed to questions, only then to answer them in myself. I don’t think you can elevate the ingredients much, not like you can shrimp & grits or a philly, but you can up up grade the decor of the classic shack or 50s lodge that many of us hold so dear. Peacn Lodge in Dallas, Deep Elum if you know Dallas, does a great job at this. Great texas b-b-q, long lines, good bar, out door seating in a old great warehouse/commercial area. This style place, with real barbeque, would be a great addition to the WarHoDi, City Mrkt or GlenSou.

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So basically The Pit? :wink:

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well because good shrimp and grits are objectively amazing. :smiley:
deep dish pizza and philly cheesesteaks are disgusting, so honestly no idea…

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Ha I guess we know where @GucciLittlePig stands on the subject :laughing:

The Pit did a lot for Raleigh when they were written up in Southern Living.


This topic is near and dear to my heart. Sam Jones and Longleaf Swine seem to be the most likely to open up next.

I know downtown Nashville is bigger and has more tourism, but does anyone know how many hot chicken places it has? Also, does anyone know the closest Lexington-style BBQ place? Since Raleigh’s the state capital, it would be great to feature both.