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Stamey's

2206 High Point Rd., Greensboro, NC - (336) 299-9888
Posted By Michael Stern on 3/4/2004 4:46:00 AM
Stamey’s serves Lexington-style North Carolina barbecue, which means that the meat of choice is pork shoulders that are pit-cooked over smoldering hickory wood until ridiculously tender, then chopped or sliced. “Chopped” means chopped so fine it is nearly pulverized. Slices are actually more like shreds of varying sizes, some soft, others edges with crust from the outside of the meat. The sauce is peppery with a vinegar tang, and thin enough to permeate the soft, sweet pork rather than blanket it. If you get a platter (as opposed to a sandwich), it will be accompanied by a powerfully zesty cole slaw and odd-shaped, deep-fried corn squiggles that are Stamey’s version of hushpuppies. This is a Piedmont meal that connoisseurs consider the best barbecue in a big state that is fanatical about barbecue and has at least six different regional variations from the coast to the Western mountains.

Warner Stamey started the business in the 1930s; his descendants have tended it ever since; and many of the other good barbecue pitmasters in the area learned their trade from him. Although the restaurant started as a rustic shack, a modern barnboard building was erected in 1980s, and today customers dine in country comfort.

Oh, yes, one more thing: try to leave room for dessert. Stamey’s warm peach cobbler is nearly as famous as the barbecue.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Chopped Pork Plate
Sweet Tea
Chopped Pork Sandwich
Brunswick Stew
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There are two sizes of pork plate, regular and large. This is large, and it holds a lot of pork; but for us, this pork is impossible to stop eating. It is pig perfection. The shrimp-shaped hushpuppies have a lovely crunch, and the cole slaw is brilliantly refreshing. The plate, by the way, is heavy cardboard, divided into sections to hold the three items separate.
"There are two sizes of pork plate, regular and large. This is large, and it holds a lot of pork; but for us, this pork is impossible to stop eating. It is pig perfection. The shrimp-shaped hushpuppies have a lovely crunch, and the cole slaw is brilliantly refreshing. The plate, by the way, is heavy cardboard, divided into sections to hold the three items separate."
Michael Stern





There is no secret to what makes Stamey's barbecue so good. It is cooked the old fashioned way, slowly over wood smoke. This woodpile is just outside next to the parking lot.
"There is no secret to what makes Stamey's barbecue so good. It is cooked the old fashioned way, slowly over wood smoke. This woodpile is just outside next to the parking lot."
Michael Stern


Brunswick Stew can be ordered in a cup as a side dish (shown here) or as the centerpiece of a meal with cole slaw and a couple of side dishes. It is good stuff, powerfully seasoned and unspeakably filling.
"Brunswick Stew can be ordered in a cup as a side dish (shown here) or as the centerpiece of a meal with cole slaw and a couple of side dishes. It is good stuff, powerfully seasoned and unspeakably filling."
Michael Stern


Sandwiches are available made with either sliced or chopped pork. We much prefer chopped, which seems to amplify the subtle smoky flavor of the meat, and laces the mostly soft pieces with a few crunchy shreds. Cole slaw on top is always part of the equation.
"Sandwiches are available made with either sliced or chopped pork. We much prefer chopped, which seems to amplify the subtle smoky flavor of the meat, and laces the mostly soft pieces with a few crunchy shreds. Cole slaw on top is always part of the equation."
Michael Stern


Each table is outfitted with a bottle of Stamey's dipping sauce. It is spicier and has a more powerful vinegar kick than what is on the barbecue that comes out of the kitchen. We debated about whether it accentuates the flavor of the meat or diminishes its subtleties.
"Each table is outfitted with a bottle of Stamey's dipping sauce. It is spicier and has a more powerful vinegar kick than what is on the barbecue that comes out of the kitchen. We debated about whether it accentuates the flavor of the meat or diminishes its subtleties."
Michael Stern


Along with the tea served at the Beacon Drive-In of Spartanburg, SC, this is one of our very favorites. It is freshly brewed; and while it is sweet indeed, it is elegantly so. In other words, you wouldn't mistake it for glucose like some of the less-wonderful sweet teas encountered in restaurants.
"Along with the tea served at the Beacon Drive-In of Spartanburg, SC, this is one of our very favorites. It is freshly brewed; and while it is sweet indeed, it is elegantly so. In other words, you wouldn't mistake it for glucose like some of the less-wonderful sweet teas encountered in restaurants."
Michael Stern


A picture taken many years ago of Lockey Reynolds at the door of Stamey's old pit. He was pitmaster for decades.
"A picture taken many years ago of Lockey Reynolds at the door of Stamey's old pit. He was pitmaster for decades."
Michael Stern



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