Clark’s has been around since 1993, since a Davison County (Lexington) family decided to set up shop in Kernersville. They cook Lexington-style True ‘Cue, pork shoulders over wood. And they offer vegetables. Clark’s is unusual among traditional barbecue places in that they offer lots of vegetables (all, I presume, flavored with pork.)
How I miss the vegetables of my youth, the great meals cooked by Dear, and the Meat and Threes that sparkle across the Deep South. Vegetables are rare in traditional barbecue North Carolina places. Richard’s and Bum’s are the only other places that come to mind. Richard’s, one of the world’s great, too-often-overlooked barbecue places, also has turnip greens, while Bum’s (best in Eastern North Carolina?) beautifully seasoned heirloom collards are within shouting distance of turnip greens (and they have corn sticks! But I digress.)
I sat down knowing that I would order a pork plate with two sides, and I was thrilled with the prospect of turnip greens. They have so much more flavor than the ubiquitous collard greens, but they’re hard to find. When I glanced to my right, however, I was crushed to see that the wall menu by my seat indicated that Clark’s was out of turnip greens. Discerning my distress the server hustled back to check and returned to reassure me that they did in fact have turnip greens. Beaming, I ordered a pork plate with turnip greens and lima beans.
Oh, what a plate! And oh, what barbecue. Oh, what pork. The pork had good smoky flavor and a good bit of outside bark to accent the richness of the pork. The meat was not at all dry, and it had been touched lightly with a very good Piedmont sauce, with more on the side.
The vegetables were beautifully cooked, and the server thoughtfully brought some vinegar, just what you want to kick vegetables up a notch. This was a meal to remember. As if that weren’t enough, behold their hushpuppies:
Hmm. One seems to be missing. And you are correct, the hushpuppies were doughnut shaped! And delicious, with great texture and great flavor, and excellent at soaking up the delicious, nutritious pot likker from the greens. I will add that corn meal doughnuts beat potato doughnuts like a red headed stepchild.
Each serving was more than generous, easily enough for two people. It cost $9.99 plus $2.09 for tea and 85 cents for the governor, who is much less rapacious than our mayor in Washington. Plus a well-deserved tip. My server was friendly and beyond helpful, and capped off great service by offering a “go cup” for my tea. What a great place for my final meal on this North Carolina trip. Well, I did have some salty snacks and liquid hops while I watched the Alabama-Florida game, but that wasn’t a meal.
The course of your life may take you along I-40 between Greensboro and Winston-Salem. See that it does. Clark’s is just off the interstate, and it’s well worth the minor detour if you’re headed up or down I-85 or I-77. Get yourself a great meal at Clark’s.
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