North Carolina Barbecue

(Disclaimer: I am not a food blogger/reviewer. I just love eating good food and sharing pictures and my impressions.)

To this California girl, barbecue was barbecue – ribs basted with a tomato-based sauce. Since marrying Bob (14 years ago), I’ve learned that this is not so at all. There are regional differences when it comes to barbeque. Tennessee barbecue is dry rub pork.  Texas barbecue is tomato-based sauce on beef ribs. South Carolina barbecue is mustard-based pulled pork. And finally, North Carolina barbecue is vinegar based pulled pork and Oh! I do love it! We’ve tried many barbecue joints in the Wilmington area. This time we tried a new place that Bob’s dad recommended – Jackson’s Big Oak Barbecue in Wilmington, NC.

The first thing we ordered were drinks, and as I learned during my first visit to NC in 1998, if I ask for iced tea, it’s going to be very very VERY sweet. I prefer my tea unsweetened, and so I ordered “unsweetened iced tea.” Mmmmm! The South definitely makes the best iced tea! The kind and very friendly waitress brought us a basket of hush puppies, which I absolutely love! What are hush puppies? Deep fried corn meal “fingers”. Mmmmmm!

Slathered with honey butter, they are amazingly delicious. Crisp on the outside, soft and corn-bready on the inside.

Next, the waitress brought us something I’d never had before: corn sticks. Bob’s dad doesn’t love them and I could understand why, because Bob’s dad loves sweets. Corn sticks are a much blander version of hush puppies and much crunchier. They were okay.

Next came our meals. This is what I ordered:

A small plate of barbecue, collard greens and fries. I loved the barbecue. I do love vinegar. While in NC, I was on a hot sauce kick and ended up slathering the barbecue with hot sauce, too. The collard greens were fabulous – tender and flavorful and I’m sure, cooked in pork fat. Mmmmm! The fries were fine, but I ended up saving my tummy room for the barbecue and collard greens. I also ate more than my share of hush puppies.

Bob ordered this:

The barbecue with fried chicken and sides of baked beans and potato salad. He thoroughly enjoyed all of it, but as we discovered with potato salad in NC, it tends to be on the sweet side, which neither of us greatly cared for. The fried chicken (I was able to sneak a little nibble) was perfectly crisp on the outside and tender and moist on the inside, with no overly greasy residue. Outstanding!

All in all a fantastic barbecue lunch!

Here’s Bob with his Tasty Salted Pig Parts Boccalone shirt (Chris Cosentino and Mark Pastore’s Oakland-based company).  Interesting factoid about Bob – he has a very large collection of pork-related t-shirts. 😉

Here I am standing in front of the “big oak” from the name of the restaurant.

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Categories: Good Eats, North Carolina | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “North Carolina Barbecue

  1. Susan Taylor Brown

    I love your food posts! And mmmm, hush puppies. Yummy!

    There’s a BBQ place near us that specializes in a white BBQ sauce from some other place in the south. I don’t like it because it’s mayo based (mayonnaise, a major food group in the south) but it’s a huge hit with many.

    • Interesting! I wonder from what part of the South that kind of BBQ is? I’m not a huge fan of mayo, myself. Glad you’re enjoying the food posts! 🙂

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