Lexington vs. Eastern – What is North Carolina Style BBQ?

BBQ is something that gets taken very seriously, especially in certain regions of the US. Take North Carolina, for example. Though the common man will often mention Tennessee or Texas when talking about BBQ, the passion is just as fiery (and smokey) in the US’s 28th state.

Especially when it comes to pulled pork.

In fact, many North Carolina residents will tell you that pulled pork is the only BBQ that matters. They’re actually so particular about their pulled pork, they’ve split into two camps:

Lexington Style and Eastern Style.

While both bear some regional similarities like the presence of vinegar in their recipe, the end results are quite distinct. Oh, and you should know that if you’re in North Carolina, you’re not allowed to be neutral.

You have to choose your favorite and then be ready to defend it.

Lexington Style

Named after the city from which it originates, Lexington Style BBQ uses pork only from the shoulder. This results in less waste and the shoulder meet cooks faster. Historically, this has made it better suited for urban areas.

Due to its texture and density, shoulder meat absorbs more smoke, giving it a distinctly smokier taste. Arguably the biggest point of distinction from Eastern Style is the sauce. Lexington style BBQ uses a ketchup based sauce mixed with vinegar and spices. Not only is ketchup used in the BBQ, but it’s used as a base for their coleslaw as well, resulting in a dish called “red slaw”.

It’s worth noting that Lexington, NC is home to the Lexington Barbecue Festival, the premiere BBQ event in the state. Because of this, some consider Lexington Style to be the true method for cooking North Carolina BBQ.

There are, however, those who would strongly disagree.

Eastern Style

Eastern style BBQ is less particular on the meat it uses. In fact, it pretty much uses every edible part of the hog. What it doesn’t use is tomatoes. No ketchup or tomato based sauce is found in or around eastern style BBQ.

Instead, they use a vinegar and pepper sauce, giving this BBQ a distinct spicy-tartness that enhances the meat flavor rather than covering it.

For this reason (and others), fans of Eastern style will say that Lexington BBQ is too generic and saucy.

What Type of BBQ Will You Find at Rudy’s?

At Rudy’s, we’ve crafted a unique BBQ method by bringing elements of different regions together to form some delicious, southern style pork. Using quality meats, low temperature cooking, and wood burning to bring out that true BBQ flavor, the end result is something that can’t be described.

You just have to experience it for yourself.

We also have a variety of sauce styles to meet your regional preferences.

So come on down to Rudy’s for your next meal or hire us to cater your next event. Yes, that’s right. We offer BBQ catering. Your prayers have been heard, and they have been answered. We even have it on our wedding catering menu.

Contact us today!

True barbeque as practiced in the American South has 4
main ingredients- quality meats, low temperatures, wood
burning for flavor enhancement, and lots and lots of
patience, which is exactly what we do here at Rudy’s
Smokehouse.
All Glory be to God!