April 22, 2016
Starting Mileage: 1896.7
When I poked my head out around the curtain I saw that the forecast had not been wrong: it was pouring outside. We were able to get in a quick walk around the parking lot without getting too soaked and soon back on the road.
First stop of the day: Short Sugar’s Bar-B-Q in Reidsville. I sat at the counter chatting with the locals and left holding a container of chop pork, coleslaw, and a whack of hushpuppies. I was tempted to order breakfast but since I had come for the barbecue, that was what I had to have.After polishing off the contents of the container, we headed to Fuzzy’s Barbecue in Madison. I was a bit confused because there were two addresses given for Fuzzy’s. Turns out, one is the restaurant and the other is where they do wholesale barbecue. I was talking to some of the staff and one of the cooks asked if I was a bounty hunter. I looked around: was he talking to me? Then he asked if I was an undercover cop because it looked like I had brass knuckles in my back pocket. I started laughing and told him it was a pocket full of change and did a bit of a booty shake. I left with my chop sandwich and sat outside on a bench with the dogs. When I went back in to tell them how much I enjoyed the food, the same cook apologized for embarrassing me and asked if I wanted a tour of the kitchen since he heard me say I was doing the trail. A tour? Oh YAAAAAAAAAA.
I tried telling him that I wasn’t embarrassed but he insisted. Who was I to turn down a tour? As he was showing me around, I had a chance to meet the owner, Nelson. I picked for as much information as I could get. I’ll share some of the tidbits in a later post He also told me about Lexington being the pinnacle of North Carolina barbecue. I was heading that way. I could hardly wait. I left with knowledge, and hushpuppies, and was back on the road.
Fortunately there was a bit of road to navigate, which gave me the opportunity to digest. We passed by Creekside Supply and when I saw the sasquatch statue, I had to stop for some quick photos.Hill’s Lexington BBQ in Winston-Salem was the first of a cluster of pits that we came to. As I was waiting for my order, I heard someone order banana pudding. I had never had banana pudding and was somewhat hesitant to try it. I like bananas but banana-flavoured things, well they bring up memories of amoxicillin which was a gross imitation of banana. The gentleman behind the counter gave me a small sample. One bite and I was sold. As I waiting for my sandwich and warm cup of happiness in a warm cup of banana pudding love, I mentioned that I was doing the trail and that I was hitting Lexington soon. When I mentioned that Fuzzy’s had been building up Lexington barbecue and had given me a tour, the gentleman waved me forward and took me into his kitchen. Turns out I was talking to J.R. Hill. I was practically bouncing in excitement as I had a chance to plumb the depths of his barbecue knowhow. I sat back outside and we devoured the sandwich but I didn’t share any of the pudding. OK who are we kidding? They had little tiny bits.
The next pit seemed to spring up out of nowhere and in less than half an hour we were pulling into the lot at Little Richard’s Lexington B.B.Q. in Winston-Salem. If I had to describe the decor, it would be kitchy and the restaurant was busy. But let’s face it, I didn’t drive for the ambiance; I came for the barbecue. And barbecue I had: a massive portion of chop and red slaw with hushpuppies. I found the meat to be a bit dry and it lacked sauce but that was quickly corrected.As we were making our way to the next pit, I saw signs for Childress Vineyards. Now I enjoy wine and we had driven by several other wineries so normally I would not have stopped but I had seen an article about Childress Vineyards making barbecue wines. I stopped and made my way into the tasting room and that was when I found (yet again) that my tendency to skim over articles backfired slightly. The barbecue wines are only made for The Barbecue Festival in Lexington which is being held this October. I still left with a couple of bottles as souvenirs then took the dogs for a walk amongst the vines. I had learned that with the tobacco industry in decline, former tobacco fields were being turned into vineyards. Maybe next I’m in North Carol a wine trail will be in order. Now that some time had passed, I was ready for the next pit and we were soon at Smiley’s Lexington BBQ in Lexington where we dove into a heaping scoop of wonderfully moist chop pork and red slaw with corn sticks. Not quite sure how I felt about a statue of a pig holding cleavers out front. And here was where I realized I had made a bit of an error. On the trail there is a pit called Speedy Lohr’s but I had been told by the locals to go to Speedy’s. Well I had thought they were the same; they were not. So a little bit of backtracking was required.
It really wasn’t much in the way of backtracking because it was less than 30 minutes before we were parking the car at Speedy Lohr’s. Quickly I had my now standard container of chop and red slaw. The odd thing was that the dogs seemed to be getting a greater share of the meat with each pit we visited. They didn’t seem to mind.The last pit of the day was The Barbecue Center, Inc. Lexington. There was a long roof covering a drive-up lot. We parked there as we devoured another helping of chop and coleslaw as I sat in my open trunk since the rain had started up again.
Studying the map for hotels, my options were pretty limited so we ended up going back to the Red Roof Inn in Greensboro and were put in the same room that we had stayed in the night before. Thankfully it was a king-sized bed so plenty of space for everyone. Especially since Leo has a tendency to hog the pillows.
Pits of the day:
Short Sugar’s Bar-B-Q
Hill’s Lexington BBQ
Little Richard’s Lexington B.B.Q.
Smiley’s Lexington BBQ
The Barbecue Center, Inc.