How do you spell it? Barbeque or Barbecue?
If you live in either of the Carolinas, you spell it with a “c” rather than a “q.” In fact, after doing some reading on which spelling is correct, I’ve learned, assuming it’s reliable information, the ‘q’ came about, basically, because of the abbreviations including BBQ, bar-b-q, etc. I even read somewhere, online, that according to folks in the Carolinas, barbecue is a noun. Period. It’s not an adjective, describing the method of cooking (ex: “Them, there barbecued ribs is tasty!”), nor is it a verb describing the act of cooking (ex: “JimBob is barbecuing a big slab o’ meat, today.”).
And, in the Carolinas, barbecue is strictly pork. Never, ever beef.
You’d think for this Texas girl, who also happens to be the daughter of a cattle rancher, not using beef would be hard to swallow. But, to tell you the truth, I happen to prefer pork ribs over beef ribs any day.
Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy a heaping helping of beef, slathered in some slightly sweet, thick BBQ sauce. Depending on my mood, it may be chopped with a dill pickle or two on a fresh white bun, or sliced on a plate next to beans and potato salad. Either way, there’s got to be extra sauce.
Even though this girl likes her beef ‘cue, after spending a few days in North Carolina, I think I’ve discovered a very close second. The barbecue there is different…very, different from what I’ve grown up with, and to be honest, I think I’m in love.
After my husband and I landed in Raleigh, NC, we picked up our rental car and headed toward Greensboro, where we were to be staying the next few days. We realized as we drove the hour or so from Raleigh that we were fairly hungry; it was past time for lunch. So, I pulled out the handy iphone and did a search for local eats.
(My husband and I love to eat at locally owned restaurants; we’ll avoid chains, if at all possible. Honestly, you should try it. Ditch the chain and give a local dive a chance. Nine times out of ten, you won’t be disappointed.)
We drove past our hotel in Greensboro and found ourselves in High Point, NC (which also happens to the furniture capital of the world), where we ate at Kepley’s Barbeque. We had no idea what to expect, other than we knew we wanted to try the barbecue in this area.
We were not disappointed in the least!
I didn’t carry my camera into this little diner, so the next few pictures are from my phone camera, which I must say, takes decent pictures, in a pinch! The key is to make sure there’s good lighting and to hold your phone as still as possible.
In the picture above, you see that the cole slaw has a red tint to it, and it’s not drowning in mayo. Both the barbecue sauce and the slaw are vinegar-based, versus mayonaise-based slaw and tomato-based sauce. It is delightful. (Can you can use that word to describe barbecue? Delightful? I’m not sure it fits, but I’m going with it.)
You can’t tell by the picture below, but the sauce is runny, not thick at all.
The meal is light, yet very, very filling.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that I ate my weight in hush puppies!
Isn’t that the cutest little piggy on their bottled sauce?
You’ll notice above, my sandwich is coarsely chopped, while ThrillCam’s “tray” (ThrillCam is an old college nickname I gave him after David Letterman used the Thrill Cam for a season or two in the late 80’s…it just fits, trust me) is finely chopped pork. Both the sandwich and the tray come with plenty of that glorious non-mayonaise, red slaw. (More on the fabulous hush puppies, later.)
Kepley’s was such find for us! It’s not fancy. It’s small. It’s a cash only joint. The sandwiches are brought out to you wrapped in white paper, no plate. Sweet tea is a given. In fact, you must specify if you want UNsweet tea! (As it should be, y’all.)
Kepley’s Barbecue is simple, but oh-so-very-good.
We, of course, had to finish it off with some homemade Blackberry Cobbler with vanilla ice cream, a la mode.
It just doesn’t get much better than that….
P.S. In a couple days, I’ll post about another very well known barbecue joint in North Carolina, as well as a few other tidbits from our trip. (I promise I did more than just eat!)