One of the best things about barbecue is how different it can be. The city of Lexington, NC, is known for a unique style of flavoring that yields juicy, smoky, sweet meat. With few exceptions, Lexington barbecue is flavored by wood smoke. Another key difference comes with the red, tangy coleslaw that is served with Lexington ‘cue.
Yes, Lexington is commonly mentioned among the top barbecue cities in the country, but that’s usually after larger cities. Residents and city officials refer to Lexington as the BBQ Capital of the Nation. Lexington has 14 established barbecue restaurants – 15 if you count Troutman’s in nearby Denton. This gives residents plenty to compare and contrast, and boy do they. Residents here are loyal to their barbecue, and few places across the nation have such loyal customers as the restaurant simply named Lexington Barbecue, also called Lexington No. 1 or The Honey Monk. That’s no joke.
Since 1984, Lexington has held an event to celebrate the ‘cue. The Barbecue Festival is held at the end of October, a month local officials have declared, what else, “barbecue month”. Events during this day-long celebration, which brings in more than 150,000 people, include a golf tournament, tennis tournament, 5K run, live music, parade, and of course, a barbecue contest.
BBQ restaurant to resident ratio: 1:1,398
Lexington Barbecue: Opened in 1962. Meat is pit-cooked and comes out tangy. It’s a no frills, where-the-locals-eat kinda place, and it gets crowded.
Barbecue Center: This place has been open since 1955. It serves pit-cooked pork barbecue, sandwiches and burgers. Customers rave about the huge banana splits and banana pudding.
Speedy’s Barbecue: Run by brothers Roy and Boyd Dunn, this place is known for large portions and vinegar/tomato dip that many patrons pour on their chopped pork.
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