What Are the Most Popular Barbecue Restaurants In North Carolina?

Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

Few things unite North Carolinians quite like the delicacy that is smoked meat, with the Tar Heel State becoming synonymous with vinegar-based BBQ sauce over the years and honing that craft from the shores of the sea to the peaks of the Appalachia.  

Regardless of which style of barbecue you love most, North Carolina has a style for you, from the state’s synonymous “Carolina style” sauce to other, tomato-based sauces that are from other parts of the country.  

Utilizing Google Trends, BetCarolina.com - home to all thing North Carolina sports betting - looked at the search volume of the term “Barbecue” over the last 12 months (May 2023 to May 2024) to find the most searched BBQ restaurants in the state of North Carolina. 

Top North Carolina BBQ Restaurants By Search



Search Interest (vs. Other Topics in Past 12 Months)

City Barbeque



Smithfield’s Chicken N’ Bar-B-Q

41 Locations In NC


Lexington Barbeque



Mission BBQ

4 Locations In NC


Parker’s Barbeque



Country Barbeque

High Point


The Redneck BBQ Lab



Sam Jones BBQ



Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge



Which North Carolina BBQ Joints Stand Tallest?

Based on online search interest scores, it seems like Charlotte’s City Barbeque is the most popular spot in the state for smoke meat specialties, with the local chain restaurant scoring a 65 total to take the top spot in NC.  

City Barbecue beat out Smithfield’s Chicken N’ Bar-B-Q, which was second in North Carolina online with a search interest score of 35, while Lexington Barbeque (in Lexington, NC) was third overall at 22.  

Throw in Mission BBQ (20 search interest score), Parker’s Barbeque in Greenville (17 search interest score), Country Barbeque in High Point (16 search interest score), Benson’s The Redneck BBQ Lab (14 search interest score), Sam Jones BBQ of Raleigh (13 search interest score) and Shelby’s Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge (11 search interest score) and you have the full rundown of the most popular BBQ joints in North Carolina (based on search volume, at least). 

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


Christopher Boan

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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