Stamey’s Barbecue, Greensboro, North Carolina

We speak of Stamey’s in hushed whispers. Warner Stamey was present at the creation of the Lexington or Piedmont style of barbecue. He spent his high school years learning barbecue from legends Jess Swicegood and Sid Weaver, who sold it from tents outside the courthouse in Lexington, North Carolina. After graduation, Stamey opened a place in Cleveland, North Carolina, in 1930, and eventually wound up in Greensboro. Along the way he tutored future barbecue legends Red Bridges of his Barbecue Lodge and Wayne Monk of Lexington #1.

Stamey’s, now in its fourth generation, has two locations. The main location is on Gate City and there’s a satellite on Battleground. They cook all of the meat at Gate City. Always go where the meat is cooked.

I got to Stamey’s about 3:00 pm, the restaurant doldrums. Following the theme of this trip, I ordered a combination pork-chicken plate with slaw and collard greens. I ordered without bothering to look at the menu except to note that the price was a measly $10.50.

The pork, and there was a lot underneath the chicken, was wonderful. It had a nice fine chop and that good hickory flavor enhanced by a very good sauce. If you can find better Piedmont style barbecue than this you’re probably at Red Bridges or Lexington #1.

The chicken was cooked in the oven, much to my surprise. I really should ask. Catering to a debased age, they only serve breast quarters. I really, really should ask. Stamey’s does about as good a job as you’ll find on a roasted chicken breast. The wing tip and flapper were tasty, and the skin was nicely crisped. The breast wasn’t dried out unavoidably, but still, I rank chicken meat in order of its flavor as (1) back (2) flapper (3) thigh (4) neck (5) heart (6) gizzard (7) liver and (8) breast, with (9) drumette bringing up the rear. Your views may vary. They probably do.

The large serving of greens tasted great. The slaw, another large serving, was delicious, crisp and peppery with a wonderful tang. “Red slaw” is tossed with a Piedmont barbecue sauce, and gets its color from the ketchup in the sauce. It had a slightly rougher chop than you usually find in North Carolina. The slaw comes on their sandwiches unless you kick up a fuss.

You will think that something is missing, and you will be right. There were no hushpuppies. The absence of hushpuppies irritated me. It’s not the money, it’s the principle. I hate being charged for chips and salsa in a Mexican restaurant. Hushpuppies are a birthright in North Carolina. Chalking another loss for Western Civilization, I sighed and asked for an order of hushpuppies ($1.99). Behold.

Well, behold all but one. Stamey’s hushpuppies are pearls of great price, much greater than $1.99. They’re sensational, other-worldly, almost as good as corn sticks, hot and flavorful with a great crunch. And there were a whole bunch of them, more than you ever should give a lone diner. I made a point of not eating every last one, but my abstemiousness came a-cropper at checkout when I saw a sign for peach cobbler to go. Satan always seems to stay a step ahead of me.

Next time I’ll get a sandwich with that slaw and try their Brunswick stew. And an order of hushpuppies. Go to Stamey’s and get some great barbecue, excellent slaw, and superb hushpuppies.


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4 thoughts on “Stamey’s Barbecue, Greensboro, North Carolina

  1. I was here only once, and (for me) it didn’t compare to either Real Q or Lexington BBQ, so I haven’t been back. If I lived in the area I might occasionally go, but on my trips, I will always go back to the other two.
    I most of the time order bbq sandwiches, and not plates, so I (almost) always have to order sides of hushpuppies. I like that at Real Q you can get 1/2 orders of sides.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No, I don’t know Clark’s, although I’ll have to look through my notes to see if I already got it from you. I think it’s one of those outliers, that I will never have time to explore. And then there’s the FOMO of Lexington No. 1 and Real Q.

    Liked by 1 person

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