What Are the Most Popular Barbecue Restaurants In North Carolina?

Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

With the summer fast approaching, there are few ways to better kick off the hotter months than with a plate full of smoked meats and succulent sauces. In North Carolina, there’s no shortage of barbecue options, from the state’s tried-and-true, vinegar-based staples to more tomato-based sauce options that have made their way into the state from its southern neighbors.  

With National BBQ Month kicking off on Monday. North Carolina ranked as the seventh-best state for BBQ according to WorldPopulationReview. Some of the most popular BBQ spots in North Carolina include Midwood Smokehouse and Switzerland Café.  

BetCarolina.com took a break from North Carolina sports betting and utilized Google Trends to calculate the most popular BBQ restaurants by search volume from May 1, 2022, until September 6, 2022. The BBQ restaurants chosen were determined by Thrillist. 

Top North Carolina BBQ Restaurants By Search

Rank Restaurant Location Search Volume
1 Midwood Smokehouse Charlotte83%
2Red Bridges BBQ Shelby8%
3 Switzerland Café Little Switzerland4%
4 Skylight Inn BBQ Ayden3%
5Buxton Hall BBQ Asheville2%

Which North Carolina BBQ Joints Stand Tallest?

According to our survey, Charlotte’s Midwood Smokehouse is the dominant winner when it comes to search volume, taking home 83% of all queries related to barbecue in the state. 

Other BBQ places that finished in the top five in North Carolina were Shelby’s Red Bridges BBQ, Little Switzerland's aptly named Switzerland Café, Skylight Inn BBQ of Ayden and Asheville’s Buxton Hall BBQ.  

The bottom four BBQ joints finished with 17% of all search queries combined, with Red Bridges finishing at 8%, while Switzerland Café had 4%, Skylight Inn BBQ had 3% and Buxton Hall BBQ finished at 2% overall.  

The dominant winner for BBQ in North Carolina hails from Central Avenue in Charlotte, however, as Midwood Smokehouse has made their specialties — like burnt ends, bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers and smoked wings — into can’t-miss delicacies in the state’s largest city.  

With seven locations spread from Huntersville to Raleigh, there’s no shortage of options for North Carolinians looking to get their hands on some of the company’s barbecued meats.  

Between Midwood Smokehouse and the other four options, residents of the Tar Heel State are well represented on the BBQ scene, giving residents and visitors alike reason to rejoice entering the month of May.  

Bookmark BetCarolina for more fun research items such as this, plus all news related to incoming North Carolina sports betting apps.


Christopher Boan is a lead writer at BetCarolina.com specializing in covering state issues. He has covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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