Mr. Barbecue, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

After my lunch at Hursey’s and a late lunch or early dinner at Real Q, I detoured from the North Carolina Historic Barbecue Trail. M&K Barbecue and Country Cooking, alas, turned out to be “permanently closed.” It was getting on supper time, so I decided to go to Mr. Barbecue. I’d tried to go there a year or two ago when I was on a trip to check out the Our State magazine list of 26 Essential North Carolina Barbecue Places and, of course, more places certified by the Campaign for Real Barbecue.

On that trip, I went to Mr. Barbecue only to find that it had burned down, and things continued downhill right up to the moment I fell asleep that night. It was my overall worst barbecue outing since I got the bill at Blue Smoke. By now Mr. Barbecue had re-opened, and I ventured there to retrieve that earlier lost visit.

The Mr. Barbecue building has been completely rebuilt, but there is nothing slick about the new space. I would call the interior decor Basic Barbecue, welcoming and comfortable. 

Isn’t that pretty? I proceeded to the counter to order, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but vegetables! I don’t suggest for a moment that they were vegetarian-friendly vegetables, but vegetables they were. I ordered a pork plate with green beans and greens. A bouquet of hushpuppies came as a matter of course.

The meat was good, richly flavored and smoky. The sauce, however, was bland and had a consistency that was not just thin, as a sauce should be, but actually…watery, as if someone had spilled an ounce or two of water on the meat. Maybe someone did. It really detracted from the meat. That container of dip in the upper right was much more interesting, and would have been a good accompaniment to the meat.

The vegetables were as good as they were welcome, however, especially the greens. They had been chopped just right and had a rich, smoky flavor. It’s worth a trip to Mr. Barbecue just for the greens. Really. The green beans also were good, as were the hushpuppies. Those with a mathematical bent who have read my posts on Hursey’s and Real Q will note that I was served 20 hushpuppies on this day, but there is no cause for alarm. Rest assured that I did not eat all 20. We’ll just leave it there.

Mr. Barbecue also offers the usual slaw, potato salad, baked apples, baked beans, and fried okra, onions, and potatoes. And, as you can see from the photo of their sign, they also host Miss Fried Chicken. I see that Yelp places Miss Fried Chicken at #5 in Winston-Salem, which I’m confident puts it in the top one percent locally.

I do recommend Mr. Barbecue. I expect to go back. I will order the meat with no sauce, but extra dip on the side. And probably some fried chicken. I certainly will order some vegetables, maybe a double order of greens. You should try some.


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