The Fayetteville area might not have the same barbecue reputation enjoyed by the likes of Lexington, Goldsboro and other spots, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of quality ‘cue to go around.
Here’s a look at some of our top spots for barbecue in the Fayetteville area:
Fowler’s Southern Gourmet
Address: 723 W. Rowan St., Fayetteville
While many places stick to the time-tested traditions of North Carolina-style barbecue, Fowler’s isn’t afraid to push the envelope. The pulled pork is served both classic with coleslaw and vinegar sauce, or as a specialty sandwich, like the Angry Hawaiian, which comes topped with bacon, grilled pineapple, pickled jalapenos and teriyaki sauce.
But it’s not just pork. The brisket burnt ends, typically available on Saturdays, are a favorite. The only thing: it’s lunch only, so don’t wait.
Fuller’s Old Fashion BBQ
Addresses: 113 N. Eastern Blvd., Fayetteville; 7735 Raeford Road, Fayetteville; 100 E. 3rd St., Pembroke
Fuller’s has been an institution of Eastern North Carolina-style whole hog barbecue for around 35 years. The hogs are smoked over hickory coals for 12 hours before being shredded and served atop a bun, or put out on the buffet alongside fried chicken, fried fish, ribs, deviled crab, fried gizzards, chicken and pastry and so much more, all capped off with their housemade desserts.
When it comes to quantity versus quality, Fuller’s has both.
Cape Fear BBQ & Chicken
Address: 523 Grove St., Fayetteville
Once a Smithfield’s restaurant, Cape Fear BBQ & Chicken has called Fayetteville home since 1999. As the name implies, pork barbecue — served either as a plate or as a sandwich on a bun with finely chopped coleslaw — and fried chicken are the main attractions.
Then-candidate Barack Obama stopped here while campaigning in 2008. According to accounts of his visit, he ordered fried chicken, collard greens, baked beans, coleslaw and chicken wings.
Note: The restaurant is currently drive-thru only.
Address: 821 Person St., Fayetteville
It’s easy to miss from the street and there’s little in the way of parking, but all sins are forgiven at the first bite of food from Smoked Fresh. The menu is limited and changes daily, but expect to find ribs — smoked or fried — roasted turkey wings, brisket and barbecue fried chicken that’s grilled before being fried and slathered in sauce.
If you have room, get some pound cake for dessert. Multiple readers have written in to say it’s “to die for.”
Address: 3319 Raeford Road, Fayetteville
What started as a food truck blossomed into a brick-and-mortar restaurant a little more than three years ago. The offerings are expansive, from brisket and ribs to smoked chicken, sausage and wings. Pitmaster and co-owner Jason Hairr told the Observer that the brisket smokes for nine hours, while the pork shoulders for the pork barbecue spend 12 hours in the smoker.
Dining Out:Southern Coals features smoked barbecue and more
Southern Coals also has a full bar and stays open until 10 p.m. on weekends, making this an ideal spot for those late-night barbecue cravings.
Redneck BBQ Lab
The restaurant in Benson is absolutely worth the drive, but lucky for us, their food truck has become a regular fixture at Dirtbag Ales in Hope Mills every weekend. The folks at Redneck BBQ Lab got their start in competition barbecue, racking up 24 Grand Championships and 20 Reserve Grand Championships on the Kansas City Barbeque Society circuit.
Because they’re mobile, check Street Food Finder online to find out where and when they’re setting up shop.
Mac’s Speed Shop
Address: 482 N. McPherson Church Road, Fayetteville
With eight locations across the Carolinas and another dozen planned for across the Southeast, the Charlotte-based barbecue spot is clearly doing something right. Could it be the beer can chicken, or the ribs, which get smoked for six hours before a brush of a lightly sweet tomato-based sauce?
Maybe it’s the Fat Boy Challenge, the comically large, five-pound sandwich of pulled pork, brisket, burger, bacon, pimento cheese, queso, slaw, fried pickles, onion rings and Mac’s spicy burn out sauce, plus a half-pound of mac and cheese on the side.
Address: 2965 Owen Drive and 2802 Fort Bragg Road, Fayetteville
The epitome of no-frills, classic North Carolina barbecue, the Barbeque Hut has been serving Fayetteville since 1965. Its menu board reads “quality food at family prices,” and if you’re looking to feed a large family, this is your spot. A large pork barbecue sandwich and drink will set you back just $6, and a family meal, which includes a pound of pork, a pint of coleslaw and 16 hushpuppies, is $15.
Like many other drive-thru barbecue spots, there’s fried chicken on the menu, too. Good thing they offer combo plates.
Address: 2469 Lillington Highway (NC 210), Spring Lake
Noble Meats has been around Spring Lake since 1987, but it wasn’t until owner Jason Isbanoly took over the meat market from his father that the barbecue side of the business really take off. The pulled pork, ribs and brisket are standouts, but don’t sleep on the housemade sausage, and make sure you try their Texas caviar salad.
When you’re done, take home a dry-aged steak or some of their housemade bacon, sourced from locally raised pigs.
Fayetteville Hidden Gems:Noble Meats feeding the people, from Spring Lake to South Pole
Pik N Pig
Address: 194 Gilliam McConnell Road, Carthage
File this one away for later. After a devastating fire over Memorial Day weekend destroyed this much-heralded restaurant, the Pik N Pig is slowly, but surely, working its way back.
The pork barbecue, which borrows influence from the Eastern North Carolina -style owner Ashley Sheppard grew up with and the Lexington style he’s adopted over the years, is an apt representation of this Moore County restaurant’s spot smack dab in the middle.
Sheppard said he’s shooting for a 2022 reopening. In the meantime, he’ll be one of the featured cooks in the upcoming Pinehurst Barbecue Festival this Labor Day weekend.
Jacob Pucci writes on food, restaurants and business. Contact him by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @jacobpucci or on Facebook. Like talking food? Join our Fayetteville Foodies Facebook group.
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