The Ultimate BBQ Road Trip

With 60 spots over 5,120 miles, we're bringing you the barbecue joint essentials in 3 customizable road trip plans

This year's road trip is broken down into three customizable plans.

BBQ Road Trip List: Part 1

Our comprehensive road trip begins in Virginia and the Carolinas where whole-hog pulled pork reigns. As you count down the miles from start to finish, expect the meat (for the most part, except for several creative variations developed by some of the newcomers) to be dressed in either a vinegar-, tomato-, or mustard-based sauce. If not served on a simple white bun, then it's probably on a platter with baked beans, mayonnaise-based coleslaw, the occasional hushpuppy, and a tall cold glass of iced tea.

Start: Cowling’s BBQ (Waverly, Va.)
North Carolina-style pulled pork smoked with white oak and served with a tomato-based sauce

1. Checkered Pig BBQ and Ribs (Danville, Va.)
The signature menu items are the ribs and roasted pork sandwiches

2. Short Sugar’s Pit Bar-B-Q (Reidsville, N.C.)
Carolina-style pulled pork topped with a house recipe brown sauce

3. Stamey’s BBQ (Greensboro, N.C.)
Hickory-smoked pork shoulders served with a ketchup-based sauce and hushpuppies

4. Lexington Barbeque (Lexington, N.C.)
Hickory-smoked pork shoulder served with a "Lexington style" tomato-based sauce, tangy slaw, and hushpuppies

5. 12 Bones Smokehouse (Asheville, N.C.)
Signature ribs include blueberry chipotle alongside made-from-scratch sides like jalapeño cheese grits, corn pudding, and mashed sweet potatoes

6. Bridge’s Barbecue Lodge (Shelby, N.C.)
North Carolina-style barbecue served alongside sides like red vinegar-based slaw and beans

7. Allen & Son’s (Pittsboro, N.C.)
Eastern North Carolina-style chopped pork with a vinegar and pepper-based sauce served with hand-cut french fries

8. The Pit (Raleigh, N.C)
Restaurant with full bar that serves free-range whole hog meat that has been smoked with hickory and oak before being seasoned with a vinegar sauce

9. Parker’s Barbeque (Wilson, N.C.)
Eastern North Carolina-style whole hog barbecue served in a vinegar-based sauce and with sides like mustard-dressed slaw

10. Skylight Inn (Ayden, N.C.)
Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue served as a sandwich or on a tray with slaw, cornbread, and sweet tea

11. King’s Restaurant (Kinston, N.C.)
Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue served in a buffet alongside homemade collard greens

12. Grady’s Barbeque (Dudley, N.C.)
Eastern North Carolina-style pulled pork smoked over hickory coals and dressed in a vinegar-based sauce

13. Scott’s Bar-B-Que (Hemingway, S.C.)
Known for its pulled pork plate served with crispy skin and vinegar-based sauce on the side

14. Melvin’s (Charleston, S.C.)
St. Louis-style pork ribs, chicken, brisket, and "All Ham" barbecue

15. Sweatman’s BBQ (Holy Hill, S.C.) 
Whole hog smoked with oak and pecan wood and served with a mustard-based sauce

16. Maurice’s Pig Park (West Columbia, S.C.)
South Carolina-style pork sourced from the restaurant's organic farm, smoked on hickory coals for 24 hours, and served with a mustard-based sauce


End: Hite’s Bar-B-Q (West Columbia, S.C.)
South Carolina-style barbecue and spareribs with special seasonal menu items like pig's feet