North Carolina Barbecue

Native Americans in what is today North Carolina are the first chapter in one of the longest continuous barbecue traditions anywhere. In fact, Native Americans, African slaves, and German and Scotch-Irish settlers have all had a hand in the evolution of two distinct styles of barbecue.

East vs. West

Vinegar and pepper sauces in the east highlight the flavor of the meat itself, while western barbecue mixes sweet sauces and smoky flavors in immense variety. Expect more of an eastern influence from Raleigh to the coast. From Charlotte to the mountains, the western style dominates. If you find yourself in between these two "barbecue boundaries," treat yourself to a blend of east and west in the form of North Carolina’s third barbecue variety: Lexington Style, which adds ketchup to the vinegar-based sauce. However you slice, chop, or pull it, the barbecue debate has produced great meals and brought friends and family together for generations.

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