Jim’s Famous BBQ – Pork, North Carolina Style

If you walk into a parking lot and there is a portable pig smoker in the lot, go directly into the establishment to which the smoker belongs.
Even if it looks like a run down Applebees.
Jim’s Famous BBQ hasn’t received any James Beard Awards. It hasn’t been touted on any blogs, and even the Yelp reviews are middling. Yet, something about the pig smoker outside mixed with the senior citizens and men with trucker hats eating inside told me that this was some serious BBQ. People here don’t come out to eat for no reason…they can get this food anywhere. For them to come here, the BBQ might be sort of great…
 Chopped BBQ Pork with Baked Beans, Coleslaw and Hush Puppies
Next to Allen and Sons, the best pork of the trip. Though chopped a bit too fine (I prefer pork with a bit more chew), there is a full, rich flavor. It has that wonderful smoky taste – pleasantly bitter, like great espresso.
When pork is that fresh and pure, a bit of a harsh note is a good thing to mix up the tastes. The coleslaw is vinegary and the beans are outstanding – thick, sweet, and spicy with hunks of green pepper and caramelized onions. It is not too thick or goopy as baked beans can often be. The hush puppies are a little hard and dry, but the (unpictured) potato salad might have been the best side of my trip. Thick quarters of tender red potatoes in a very peppery, slightly mayonnaise-y dressing. It is just great with that tender, hot sauce laced pork. 
Full Rack of BBQ Ribs (Wet)
My mom and sister split this…
Guess they liked it. 
Plain old BBQ, served with a smile and (for North Carolina) quickly. Inexpensive but so satisfying. So glad I followed my own rule about seeing mobile pig cookers. 
One more fast rule: if someone gives you fries loaded with bacon and fried eggs…eat them.


  1. You hit on something I tell people a lot: when pork has been smoked (especially with a fruity apple or peach wood) it is already sweet. It doesn't need a sugary tomato-based sauce. That's something people do when they want to cover up the taste of the meat. A little vinegar spiked with chili flakes is the perfect complement.

  2. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @Justin-YES! Exactly! There are a few good places in CA, but really, nothing like I have ever had in the South

  3. "I have spent a good part of my life looking for the perfect barbecue. There is no point in looking in places like Texas, where they put some kind of ketchup on beef and call it barbecue. Barbecue is pork, which narrows the search to the South, and if it's really good pork barbecue you are looking for, to North Carolina." – Charles Kuralt, "Charles Kuralt's America"