I have noticed that the people in North Carolina can get pretty picky about their barbecue. They distinguish between traditional eastern North Carolina barbecue and what they call Lexington-style barbecue. The easiest way to explain the difference is that eastern NC style has a vinegar sauce with no tomato, while the Lexington style would typically add tomato. As you might expect, Lexington, NC is the home of Lexington-style, and Lexington Barbecue #1 is its holiest place.
Lexington #1 had long been on my list on barbecue joints to try, as I have read about it and seen on television several times. Knowing my time in North Carolina was coming to an end (more on that later), I thought that it would not happen. Luckily, Mrs. BBQisNotaVerb and I decided to take a trip to the Atlanta area to visit her parents, and Lexington was conveniently on the route. In order to get to the restaurant, we had to take a slight detour onto Business I-85. Both my TomTom and Google Maps took us to the wrong place, but a quick call to Lexington #1 gave us directions. As it turns out, the restaurant is literally on an exit off of Business I-85.
The restaurant is housed in a large white building that is somewhat reminiscent of a barn, but most great barbecue joints don’t look too great from the outside. That is not what matters, and I don’t trust ones that do. When we walked inside, we found a counter with old-fashioned stools in the front room, and two other rooms for dining areas behind that. We took a seat in a booth and picked up the menu. It is pretty straightforward, without a lot to be confused by. We both ordered a tray, which is just barbecue and slaw. The barbecue was, quite simply, excellent. Rarely, if ever, have I had better. It was moist and had a great smokey flavor. The sauce was a little spicy and just okay, and the slaw was a brown color and had way too much vinegar for my tastes. But oh man, the barbecue. Absolutely worth the minor deviation from our route. I even ordered a couple of pounds to go, and my feelings were confirmed by my in-laws. If you ever get the chance to stop in, do it.