Good News for 2020 — Raleigh Barbecue is Taking Off!

Update:  My peripatetic brother, Jim, alerted me to yet another new barbecue place that will be coming to Raleigh– Lawrence BBQ.  It will be in Boxyard RTP, a still-developing cluster of new food and retail options in the Research Triangle Park.   I’ve thought of Triangle Park as the Sahara of food in North Carolina, and a good place to eat will be welcome there.  The Lawrence people tell me they’ll have a pit for whole hogs, and an offset smoker for brisket, poultry, sausage, and smoked oysters.  I wonder if Lawrence’ll sell raw oysters, too.   And I wonder if I’ll have time to visit family next time I’m in Raleigh.

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The invaluable Barbecue Bros blog does a great job keeping up with things barbecue in North Carolina.  Back in April, they alerted us to an article  in no less than Garden and Gun positing that North Carolina was an “endangered species.”  The mood was all doom and despair with the closing of Allen and Son, Bill’s, and Wilber’s — understandably.

With he New Year, the clouds are parting.  It looks like Wilber’s will reopen in the fullness of time, and in the meantime, the big action seems to be in Raleigh.  Not to be outdone by Charlotte’s entry into the big time with Noble Smoke and Sweet Lew’s, Raleigh has a whole raft of new barbecue places on tap.

The Raleigh news leads with two huge names.  The indestructible Sam Jones

sam jones

of the Skylight Inn in Ayden and Sam Jones BBQ in Winterville (both in Pitt county), will be opening a place in Raleigh, as will Ed Mitchell,

ed mitchell

here profiled by the Southern Foodways Alliance.  Mitchell is opening a new place in tandem with LM restaurants, which has a group of nine varied restaurants in Wilmington and Raleigh.  LM looks like strong backing for the man known as “Mr. Pitmaster”.  The good news continues.  Wyatt Dickson of Picnic in Durham is opening a place in Raleigh.  Picnic is good and would be welcome anywhere.

You can read reviews of all of the parent places by clicking on the links above (the bbq place name link),  There also are a couple of new places in the works with which I’m unfamiliar.  The Longleaf Swine food truck will land a stationary location in Transfer Hall in Raleigh.  Word is that Longleaf Swine, like Jones, Mitchell, and Dickson, cooks whole hog over wood:  True ‘Cue.  Finally, I hear that Prime BBQ, which I gather is a catering business run by a BBQ competition guy, is opening a restaurant in Knightdale.

That’s a lot of activity in a city that used to be pretty weak on barbecue, considering.  Will the trend continue?  Will Wake County join Pitt County and Davidson County as a center of great barbecue?  Will Charlotte counter by luring Rodney Scott into town?  And why can’t some of these places bring some truly great barbecue to Washington?

I hope y’all will post your comments on each of these places — and others — as they open.

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And while you’re at it, click “follow” on our front page to receive blog posts in your email box.  Or bookmark us and check in from time to time.  If you’re planning a trip, you can “Search” the name of the city, state, or country for good restaurants (in Europe, usually close to sites, like the Louvre or the Van Gogh Museum, that you’ll want to visit in any event).  Comments, questions, and suggestions of places to eat or stories to cover are very welcome.  And check out our Instagram page, johntannerbbq.

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