April 30, 2024

Follow your tastebuds to the Winston-Salem BBQ Trail

In North Carolina, we take our food seriously, especially when it comes to barbecue.

The best style of 'cue lies in the eye (or stomach?) of the beholder. Whether you prefer a thick and tangy Lexington-style pulled pork sandwich, a whole hog Eastern-style plate smothered with spicy vinegar sauce, or even a stack of juicy smoked brisket or chicken thighs, just follow the Winston-Salem Barbecue Trail for your new mouthwatering favorite. 

Camel City BBQ Factory

Got a hankering for barbecue while exploring Winston-Salem’s vibrant Downtown Arts District? Hop over to Camel City BBQ Factory. The multi-level downtown eatery is a win for everyone, young or old, offering a full bar, arcade, classic tabletop video games, and various lawn games. In addition to Lexington-style barbecue plates and sandwiches, the menu features some new-age options like smokehouse nachos and a factory brisket melt.

Our recommendation? Don’t skip the smoked wings! They’re some of the best in town. 

Location: 701 N Liberty St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101

East of TexasA collage of 3 photos from East of Texas Barbecue in Winston Salem

A newcomer to the Winston-Salem culinary scene is East of Texas, the brainchild of long-time local restauranter Claire Calvin. Inspired by her Texas roots, the E of T crew smokes up Southwest barbecue classics like beef brisket, pork ribs, and burnt ends. Their open-air dining room and expansive outdoor patio have plenty of room, and they even host outdoor events when the weather is nice! Located in the Walnut & Broad complex, be sure to stick around after your meal and pop into nearby easytalk Coffee & Cocktails for a drink. Add in the bonus of being dog and kid friendly, this is the ultimate stop for a group outing.

Our recommendation? Check out the daily/weekly food specials for something fresh and unique.

Location: 907 S. Broad St, Winston-Salem, NC 27101 


Honky Tonk Smokehouse

Sitting nondescriptly in a strip mall off Jonestown Road, Honky Tonk Smokehouse is easy to overlook, but the flavors here are hard to forget. Instead of Eastern or Lexington-style 'cue, Honky Tonk offers meats more in the Texas or Memphis-style that are tender, smoky, and fall-apart juicy. All sides and desserts are freshly prepared, from the collards to the cobbler to the corn fritters.

Don't skip the brisket, often lauded as the best in town, and save room for side dishes.

Location: 145 Jonestown Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27104 


A table of food at Little Richards BBQ in Winston-Salem, North CarolinaLittle Richards

Hickory-smoked Lexington-style barbecue is the specialty at Little Richards Bar-N-Que. What began as a humble family-run barbecue joint has now grown to five locations across the Piedmont Triad area — including one in the nearby Village of Clemmons. But when you’re in Winston-Salem, you can hop right over to the flagship location near the Five Points area of Stratford Road (just across from Thruway Shopping Center.)

While you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, we suggest going for any of the “Mexi-cue” taco options for a unique twist on the Southern classic.

Location: 109 S Stratford Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27104

Mr. Barbecue

You know the food has got to be good when there’s a line out the door to get it! Mr. Barbecue is a no-frills joint for classic Western-style barbecue. A family-run restaurant spanning over 60 years and two generations, their pit-smoked classic recipes are a must-have. Be sure to get there early, because most of the crowd favorites sell out well before closing time.

For an authentic experience, we recommend grabbing one of their classic chopped sandwiches with BBQ slaw and hushpuppies. 

Location: 1381 Peters Creek Pkwy, Winston-Salem, NC 27103 

Real QA checkered table with a plate of barbecue, hushpuppies, and sweet tea at Real Q Barbecue in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

With a menu of genuine, pit-cooked barbecue, Real Q has been serving its signature Lexington-style barbecue since 1991. You can’t go wrong with anything on their extensive menu, but if you make it on a Friday or Saturday, you have to try the BBQ chicken special. Also, in case you don't have much background in the great North Carolina barbecue debate, there are two main varieties: Eastern and Western (also known as Lexington). Lexington-style differs from Eastern style by using only the pork shoulder instead of the whole hog. And while both use a vinegar-based sauce, Lexington mixes in traces of ketchup and a different blend of spices for a thicker, tangier twist.

Our recommendation? You can't beat the classics, so try the chopped BBQ sandwich but if you happen in on a Friday or Saturday, you have to try the BBQ chicken special!

Location: 4885 Country Club Rd, Winston-Salem NC 27104

Clarks BBQ

A favorite of barbecue aficionados near and far, Clarks BBQ in Kernersville uses time-honored methods and family recipes to create their locally famous Lexington style ‘cue. Get ready for lots of flavor and large portions with plenty of sides and veggie options. Clarks is located right off of Highway 66 in Kernersville, making this the perfect stop for exploring other favorites in the area like the Paul J. Ciener Botanical Gardens and a variety of local breweries. 

If you stop by Thursday through Saturday, we recommend trying their pork ribs, but otherwise, a local staple is the coarse-chopped pork sandwich paired with your favorite side. 

Location: 1331 Hwy 66, South Kernersville, NC 27284

Prissy Polly's

Located right off Highway 66 in Kernersville, Prissy Polly’s menu has both styles of North Carolina barbecue (Eastern and Western), but they’re most famously known for their sweet and tangy version of Western/Lexington-style pork ‘cue. Need your order in a hurry? They even have a drive-thru!

At Prissy Polly’s, you can keep it simple: we recommend going for a classic BBQ plate with slaw. 

Location: 729 NC-66, Kernersville, NC 27284 

Hidden Gem: Yardbird BBQ

If you want to go the extra mile and eat like a local, don't skip a trip to Yardbird BBQ. A bona fide hidden gem, this family and black-owned BBQ food stand in the Southside area of Winston-Salem specializes in brisket and ribs. Don’t let its hole-in-the-wall appearance fool you; the meats here are some of the finest in town. We suggest going for the juicy brisket or beef burnt ends — and don’t forget to ask for a side of candied yams and collard greens! While hours often vary, the family regularly posts their operating times on their Facebook page

Location: 1335 W Clemmonsville Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27127