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Bar-B-Q Center. Lexington, NC

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    Bar-B-Q Center. Lexington, NC

    The third stop of our trip was at Bar-B-Q Center in Lexington. Quoting from the North Carolina BBQ Trail website. "The Barbecue Center, Inc. is the oldest barbecue establishment in downtown Lexington that still cooks on pits. It has been featured in Southern Living magazine, on the TV show “Good Morning America” and in any number of newspapers."

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    The restaurant itself is good sized with 20 or so booths and tables. There are also six tables outside, and car service available under an old fashioned drive-in canopy. The young ladies tending to the tables were all very nice and there was no chance you would have to wait for a refill on your sweet tea or soda. In addition to the BBQ that is offered in various sized trays and plates with different combinations of fried sides, there is what I would call a basic diner menu of burgers and sandwiches. They also offer at least a dozen flavors of hand dipped ice cream.

    I know I'm rambling on a out the building and the people working in it. Plus all the other things they offer, but there is a good reason for that. Given the build up, my expectations were high, and the food just simply fell short.

    The GF and I both went with the BBQ Plate that comes with hush puppies, slaw, and fries. The GF upgraded her side to get the onion rings instead of the fries. So the ¢50 upcharge, you get four onion rings. They are really proud of those four onion rings, and believe you should pay for the privilege of enjoying them.

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    The BBQ may have been pit cooked, but I couldn't prove that claim. It was as good as any unseasoned, but properly cooked pork that has come out of crock pots all across America. The meat by itself just simply had no real flavor. It was moist, and it was tender,but beyond that, all I can say is that the service was really good.
    ​​​The "dip" that came with it helped, but that too was nothing amazing.

    The fries and onion rings were just what you would expect from any decent diner, but nothing more than that. The hush puppies were the best thing we got with our orders, and they were just "good". Nothing wrong with them, but nothing that made them stand out either.

    We did both order the homemade banana pudding for dessert. Her because she didn't eat half of the BBQ, and despite the pride taken in the onion rings, they were not that filling. I got dessert because I'm fat, and intend to stay that way. The pudding was just like the hush puppies. You weren't sorry you ate it, but it's nothing special.

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    So, my final thoughts on Bar-B-Q Center is simply this. If you're hungry, they have okay food and great service. You won't leave hungry, but you will struggle to remember where you ate if someone asks you tomorrow.
    Last edited by willxfmr; April 28, 2022, 05:11 AM.

    I lived in Charlotte, NC for five years and got to many terrific bbq places. I have been to this one and it wasn’t one of them. Not terrible. But like you said, no real flavor. Just blah food all around.


      You should try Lexington BBQ.


      • Jfrosty27
        Jfrosty27 commented
        Editing a comment
        Tried to go there several times. Always really packed. Couldn’t even get a parking spot. In fact, that’s why I ended up at BBQ Center. It was plan B.

      • willxfmr
        willxfmr commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm going to need a place to stop tomorrow, so I'll give this place a try.

      Alas, they can't all be home runs.


        Excellent write-up! I live in Kernersville which is about 25 minutes from Lexington and have yet to find a BBQ joint that impresses me. Maybe I just haven't hit the right one yet? They all seem to use propane style smokers or just lack that smoky flavor and bits of bark that speaks barbecue. Recently went to a wedding that was catered by The Smoke Pit out of Salisbury and it was REALLY good.


        • mcook2201
          mcook2201 commented
          Editing a comment
          The Smoke Pit is by far one of the best BBQ joints in the area. The Concord location is the best with Salisbury a close second. Highly recommend. All of their meat selection are great. Last time I got the choice of two meat dinner it lasted for 3 meals.
          When they have it, the strawberry cobbler is to die for...

        How unfortunate, a very good write-up on something that wasn’t very good. Sounds like you are due some rill good down home cookin.


          Have not eaten there in years. When I ate there last Sonny Conrad was still alive and owned and ran the place. Even though I favor eastern bbq sauce over Lexington I bought a bottle of his sauce to carry home .Maybe they have slipped since he passed away in 2013. It seems that happens with a lot of places.
          You weren't tempted to try the giant banana split?
          Last edited by North Carolina Mike; October 4, 2021, 03:47 PM.


          • willxfmr
            willxfmr commented
            Editing a comment
            I was tempted, but discretion got the better of me.

          Thanks for the warning.
          You Done Good


            Gotta love the line about the onion rings. Your feelings were quite clear on thst point. Sad they felt the need to up charge!

            No hot dog places on the dining list?


              One place I didn't mention when recommending bbq joints was Keaton's BBQ in Rowan County. Their main entree is dipped chicken. I haven't been in a few years but it is some of the best BBQ chicken. Period. I use to work right at their location so it was not difficult to stop by for lunch. If your riding back to try Lexington Barbecue (I am 50/50 on this place), I would encourage you to drive a few more miles and try Keaton's. I work pretty close to the location but just haven't stopped in for a while. Just a thought for your travels. I work about 15 miles away from Keaton's; no good reason for me not to visit!




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