BBQ in Lexington, NC

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Rapunzll
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2004/02/27 20:08:30 (permalink)

BBQ in Lexington, NC

I stopped here when I was in NC last March and I read in one of my guidebooks that the area was well known for a different type of BBQ. Vinegar based sauce I think it is. Anyway, there are supposed to be a ton of BBQ places there, and I expected I would have no problem finding one. I didn't see a single one however, and was getting frustrated until I saw a policeman parked in a parking lot. I pulled up next to him and asked him where I could find some of the bbq I had read about. He laughed and gave me a police escort to one of the bbq places! It was great, but of course, I don't remember the name of the place. It was white and was up a slight hill if I remember right. I will admit, I didn't care for it at first, but when I ate some of the leftovers, I found myself craving the stuff!

Anyway, I'm looking for some thoughts about who has the best bbq in Lexington, NC. I plan on driving through when I go on vacation and want to pick up some to take along with me to a cottage I'll be renting. Thanks!
#1

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    Art Deco
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/02/27 22:26:45 (permalink)
    The place that has been traditionally held up as the leading example is Lexington #1, formerly (and still occasionally) known as "Honey Monk's". Could not say whether it is currently the best or not...
    #2
    Rapunzll
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/02/27 22:36:50 (permalink)
    You said formerly known as. What is it's current name?
    #3
    Art Deco
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/02/27 22:47:09 (permalink)
    I'll quote JimInKy from another thread in answer to your question:

    JimInKy wrote: "Incidentally, the locals never knew who I was talking about several years back when I asked directions to Lexington Number 1; they all know it as Lexington Barbecue or "Honey Monk's", after the owner's nickname."

    It is named "Lexington #1", but referred to as "Lexington Barbecue" or "Honey Monk's" locally...
    #4
    Rapunzll
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/02/27 23:51:36 (permalink)
    Oh, that helps! I will check that one out then. Thanks so much!
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    Howard Baratz
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/02/28 10:11:55 (permalink)
    Lexington #1 (aka Lexington Barbecue and Honey Monk's) is the white restaurant on a slight hill that you describe. Obviously, the policeman who escorted you there knew what he was doing. You are right that this stuff is downright addictive.
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    Rapunzll
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/02/29 00:04:53 (permalink)
    Oh great! The policeman told me that that one always was crowded. He acted like he wasn't familiar with the different places didn't know which ones were good, he must have been putting me on!
    #7
    brentk
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/02/29 07:14:07 (permalink)
    Here's a link to a complete list of the Lexington BBQ joints:

    http://www.ibiblio.org/lineback/bbq/jnts-il.htm

    I've been to about half of them.

    My favorites are Lexington BBQ, The BBQ Center and Cooks.

    A lot of folks like Speedy's and Smokey Joes but I don't care for them as much.
    #8
    Rapunzll
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/02/29 09:04:33 (permalink)
    Thanks! I guess what I should do is get a supply of bbq from Lexingtons #1 and then get a small order elsewhere just to compare!
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    Hillbilly
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/03/01 09:22:16 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Rapunzll

    Thanks! I guess what I should do is get a supply of bbq from Lexingtons #1 and then get a small order elsewhere just to compare!

    Ask for a small sampling of "lean brown" chopped Q at Lexington # 1. They cook over wood coals, and the lean brown is the outside meat, VERY heavily smoked. It is an acquired taste, is not listed on the menu, and you won't be served that meat unless you ask for it specifically.

    "Honey Monk" is Wayne Monk's nickname, and the restaurant is locally and regionally known as "Honey Monk's" or "Lexington Barbecue". It is the standard by which all other Lexington style Q is judged. The Monk's got their start in BBQ working at "Stamey's" in Greensboro.

    We always load up on their sauce (not sold anywhere except at the restaurant, and they won't ship it) when we are by. They will also pack a supply of Q in ice for you if you are traveling by.
    #10
    JimInKy
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/03/03 05:20:36 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Rapunzll

    Oh great! The policeman told me that that one always was crowded. He acted like he wasn't familiar with the different places didn't know which ones were good, he must have been putting me on!

    Lexington, N.C. has more barbecue restaurants per capita than any city anywhere. In any given year, there will be 16 to 19 barbeque establishments open and serving. And several are quite good. Lexington folk are loyal to their favorite, to the point some won't allow that any of the others are particularly good. I do believe the police officer was putting you on.

    I met a young, up and coming writer last summer who hails from Lexington. All afternoon I tried to wheedle him into telling me his 2nd or 3rd favorite Lexington barbeque joint. He wouldn't budge. It was Honey Monk, period! With each new effort, he just stubbornly offered up another Honey Monk testament.

    I've seen Wayne Monk busy in the kitchen on a Saturday night but have never had the pleasure of meeting him. The place has huge lines on Friday and Saturday evenings; diners don't relax long after finishing their meals, knowing others are waiting in that long line.

    Besides cooking great que, I think Mister Monk is very well liked in Lexington. His que is a bit more to my liking than some of the others. I've eaten at 3 Lexington pits, but given a choice when passing nearby next time, I would just as soon revisit Lexington Barbecue as try another one.

    I love Lexington Barbecue's sauce, or Lexington Dip, as its called. It is quite spicy and complements the chopped pork perfectly. The Dip at one of the other Lexington places tasted like diluted ketchup to me; it had little flavor and added nothing to the meat.
    #11
    JimInKy
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/03/03 05:29:05 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Howard Baratz

    Lexington #1 (aka Lexington Barbecue and Honey Monk's) is the white restaurant on a slight hill that you describe. Obviously, the policeman who escorted you there knew what he was doing. You are right that this stuff is downright addictive.

    Howard is absolutely correct. Lexington Barbecue does sit up on a slight hill and is housed in a sprawling white building. Lexington Barbecue is the only place around that fits Rapunsll's story.

    Hillbilly knows his North Carolina que and is right on about Lexington Barbecue setting the standard for Lexington-style barbecued pork (barbecued shoulders and a sauce that is vinegar based, but laced with ketchup or tomato product).
    #12
    JimInKy
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/03/03 05:42:02 (permalink)
    Rapunzll, You might also want to pick up some barbecued slaw at Lexington Barbecue. I wasn't crazy for this style slaw the first time I had it (which was at another Lexington barbecue shop), but have since grown to love it. It's very good at Honey Monk's. Had I first eaten it there, I think I would have enjoyed it.

    Many of the great North Carolina barbecue establishments make stunningly delicous hush puppies (Stamey's and Bridges Barbecue Lodge are favorites), but I am not fond of the ones made at Honey Monk's. They are fried dark brown and are very crusty. If you like a crusty, crunchy, thinner hush puppy, you might prefer this version. They are okay, just not what I most enjoy.
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    Sundancer7
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/03/03 07:29:38 (permalink)
    JimInKy: I will be in a meeting in Charlotte in a few weeks and I plan on making a stop in Lexington. Please advise of the three best que places and I will stop there. Lexington BBQ will be my first stop.

    Thanks
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    Jim in NC
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/03/03 10:31:27 (permalink)
    Actually, Wayne Monk learned the art of barbecue from a man named Warner Stamey who was well known in Davidson County for his pig cookin' abilities. Warner Stamey founded Stamey's Barbecue in Greensboro which is now operated by his family. Stamey also taught Red Bridges who opened Bridges Barbecue Lodge in Shelby. Stamey himself learned from Jess Swicegood. Swicegood and Sid Weaver sold barbecue from competing tents across from the courthouse in the 1910s.

    Other good joints in Lexington include Bar-B-Que Center, Jimmy's, Smokey Joe's, Cook's, Smiley's and Whitley's. Among places that no longer cook traditional Lexington barbecue are Speedy's, Lexington-Style Trimmings, John Wayne's and Henry James. Avoid 'em and support the folks who still practice the difficult and costly art of real wood-cooked barbecue.
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    Rapunzll
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/03/03 10:57:42 (permalink)
    Y'all are making me so hungry for this stuff and I won't be down there till the end of April! JimInKy, thanks for the tip about the hush puppies. I'll see if I can find one of the places you recommended and pick some up! I'll also make sure I get some of their coleslaw at Lexington BBQ.

    I'm going to have to print all this info up so I can take it along with me!

    #16
    JimInKy
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/03/04 23:36:48 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Rapunzll

    Y'all are making me so hungry for this stuff and I won't be down there till the end of April! JimInKy, thanks for the tip about the hush puppies. I'll see if I can find one of the places you recommended and pick some up! I'll also make sure I get some of their coleslaw at Lexington BBQ.

    I'm going to have to print all this info up so I can take it along with me!

    Rapunzll, one day after our exchange about hush puppies at premier North Carolina barbecue restaurants, Michael Stern posted a new review of Stamey's in Greensboro. The review has a great picture of a typical barbecue plate with fresh, hot hush puppies. It's a terrific review with several good photos. That's the main Stamey's, across the street from the Greensboro Colliseum (an easy on-off from Interstate 40). I've eaten at that que palace at least a dozen times. Everything is fresh and delicious. His barbecue slaw is my favorite in the state - quite spicy like the Lexington Dip served with the que.

    I don't recall who first did it, but one of the state's leading barbecue operators decided to try a new approach to making hush puppies. Thinking an electric donut making machine could be used, he modified a fitting so the machine would squirt out the cornmeal batter in a usuable shape. Ergo, the half moon shape of hush puppies in barbecue parlors all across the state.
    #17
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/03/04 23:47:57 (permalink)
    Dearfolk,
    When I lose some more weight, I plan a roadtrip to Lexington to eat in EVERY barbecue place there and in the surrounding territory - Thomasville, Asheboro, wherever. This takes in 25 to 30 places, all in all, and when my weight approaches 220, I will be up for the task.
    It's amazing to me that people in that area actually have a LESS THAN NORMAL occurrance of heart trouble. It's not uncommon there to talk to people who eat barbecue seven days a week, which is not at all difficult to do in Lexington.
    Thanks to you, JimInNC, for mentioning who uses a real pit and who uses smokers. The late, lamented City Barbecue used a pit: I wonder if it's been recycled, as it were.
    Singing Lexingtonally, Ort. Carlton in Melodic Athens, GA.
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    Rapunzll
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/03/05 00:03:19 (permalink)
    Where is Greensboro? I don't have much time to travel through NC this time, as my actual destination is GA, but if it's not too far away, I might be able to swing by!
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    JimInKy
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/03/05 01:05:02 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Rapunzll

    Where is Greensboro? I don't have much time to travel through NC this time, as my actual destination is GA, but if it's not too far away, I might be able to swing by!

    Greensboro is about 35 miles NNE of Lexington. There's no need to visit Greensboro for barbecue on this trip if you're going to Lexington. Stamey's will be there for another time; they are well established and likely to be around for a long, long time.
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    Rapunzll
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/03/05 11:36:02 (permalink)
    I'll make a point of checking out Stamey's at a later date. I'm planning on moving south in a couple of years, so I'll have plenty of time to check out BBQ places then.
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    Rapunzll
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/04/18 11:25:33 (permalink)
    I on my trip in a week and a half. Any last thoughts?
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    Jim in NC
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/04/18 13:45:42 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Ort. Carlton.


    The late, lamented City Barbecue used a pit: I wonder if it's been recycled, as it were.



    City Barbecue was absolutely terrific. I guess they've been gone for ten years or so. The building is vacant and the name is still on the door. I can just taste the chopped tray (with outside brown, of course) and those great hushpuppies. Lack of parking and the hidden location (behind the courthouse) likely did 'em in.

    Jim
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    Sundancer7
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/04/23 18:46:57 (permalink)
    The Sundancer will be doing Stameys and Lexington BBQ #1 in just a few days. I will enjoy both.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    Rapunzll
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/04/23 18:52:08 (permalink)
    Hi Paul! When will you be there? I'll be at L#1 sometime on Thursday. I can hardly wait, it's gonna be a great way to start my vacation!
    #25
    Sundancer7
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/04/23 18:58:13 (permalink)
    The Sundancer is gonna be there sometime on 5/9/04 which I think is on a Saturday.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/04/23 19:18:58 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sundancer7

    The Sundancer is gonna be there sometime on 5/9/04 which I think is on a Saturday.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN


    Sundancer,
    We will be h-u-n-g-r-i-l-y awaiting your report. This is one thread that we need to keep reasonably active... so, as that band from N. C. named it so well, Let's Active.
    Thinking Porcine Wishes (I'm Not That Fat; I Just Want A Plate Of Pig For Later, And There Isn't Any Within Walking Distance), Ort. Carlton in Piteously-Lacking, Smoker-Filled Athens, Georgia.
    P. S. I'll have to check out Jot-'Em-Down Store & BBQ, a new place on Whitehall Road here in Athens that reportedly cooks on a newly-built pit. How the health folks let them do it is anyone's guess... maybe they make do with a 76 health rating because of it or something. I'll post elsewhere on this one.
    P. P. S. Hillbilly, thanks for the tip about the "lean brown" outside meat at The Honey Monk! I can't wait for a plateful... or two... or three!
    P. P. P. S. JiminNC, thanks for the remembrance of City Barbecue. I think the proprietor died is what happened (I was told and have forgotten), and his family just kept the building intact. It does have an adjacent pit, by the way.
    #27
    Sundancer7
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/04/23 19:58:09 (permalink)
    Ort: I will Keep you in tune. I will be there in a couple of weeks. Why don't you meet me and we will enjoy toghether.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    redsoxgirl
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/04/27 13:13:58 (permalink)
    hi all,
    I was in Charlotte for the first time last year, and made a trip to Lexington the cornerstone of my Saturday layover before flying back north. Lexington #1 did not disappoint. In fact, I went there for lunch, then drove to Winston-Salem, then back to Lexington #1 for an early dinner. Worth the trip.
    #29
    Rapunzll
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    RE: BBQ in Lexington, NC 2004/04/29 13:06:32 (permalink)
    Does anyone know the hours for Lexington #1?

    I was supposed to leave on my trip last night but had to have brake work done and am leaving later. I want to make sure I am going through when they are open!

    I thought I had found a website, but can't find it for the life of me now!
    #30
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