After a memorable breakfast at Breakfastime Anytime, I continued Day 2 of the Ride through Hell Recovery Tour with a drive over to Albemarle, home of Whispering Pines B-B-Q.
You may recall my earlier trip to Albemarle to eat at Log Cabin Bar-B-Que. That post will tell you all about the town of Albemarle and the surprising side dish I really enjoyed at Log Cabin. For now, let’s stick to Whispering Pines, which announces itself with a sign that is a treat to see, and that made me happy.
Whispering Pines spawned a remarkable barbecue family. Lonnie Dobie opened Whispering Pines in 1945. He married Lavada Galloway in 1953, and Lavada, her sister Edith, and her brother Darrell worked there. Darrell went on to open his own place, Darrell’s, and Edith opened another, Wink’s. Then Edith and her son opened Log Cabin. It goes on and on, but I can’t keep track any further. It reminds me of Mona Lisa Vito reciting her family’s auto mechanic pedigree in My Cousin Vinnie.
The interior of Whispering Pines reflects its age and tradition.
I sat on a stool in the other half of the dining area and ordered a barbecue tray and a bag of Lay’s classic potato chips. That ran me $9.95, including tax. (Whispering Pines is cash only.) Here’s my tray.
The pork had a fine chop and a good flavor, as pork cooked directly over a pit generally does, and the mix of inside and outside meat was just right. Part of the meat was just a tad dry, so I added a splash of their very good vinegar-pepper sauce, and all was right with the world.
The hushpuppies were delicious, with a noble crust and a light cornmeal interior. The slaw, too, was excellent. I was taken aback by the sight of some pickle in the slaw, something I’d never seen in a red slaw before. The slaw was tossed, however, in a dressing that blended and balanced sweet and tart flavors. I liked it.
I especially liked the service and the atmosphere. Whispering Pines has that Third Space element, a place where people gather and talk, something that I cherish in old school barbecue places. People seem to come very early for carryout orders just so they can shoot the breeze with whoever’s there. I chatted with a retired firefighter who’d lived in Albemarle all his life, and found that he often visits kin in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, outside Washington. We, too, spend a time in St. Mary’s County, mainly eating delicious seafood and other culinary delights. (Just search “St. Mary’s County” in the Blog.) It was a fun connection, one I’ll remember.
I enjoyed every aspect of my visit to Whispering Pines. Such a good setting, good food, and good conversation are a rich prize indeed. I highly recommend that you give it a try.
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 destination city, state, or country for good restaurants (in Europe, often close to sites, like the Louvre or the Van Gogh Museum, that you’ll want to visit in any event). And stick around for news, all manner of recipes, hotel reviews, the odd book or movie review, and occasional fine arts and architecture commentary. Comments, questions, and suggestions of places to eat or stories to cover are very welcome. And check out our Instagram page, johntannerbbq.