It's kind of ridiculous, when I think about it, that in the two years I have been in Greenville, North Carolina, I have never been to the city's iconic eatery, B's Barbecue. I mean, it's so iconic that it even has it's own road. How does a foodie like myself justify that? It was completely inexcusable that I never even tried to make a dent at the long lines that always surround B's when food is hot and ready. It was an atrocity that needed to be rectified asap, and that's what I finally did this past week. And yes, it was worth it in every way possible.
Food aside, B's itself is kind of an experience all it's own. Smoke from the pit constantly permeates the air with barbecue goodness. The building is historic in many ways, once a grocery that was converted into it's now glorious location. And remember what I said about this place being iconic? Because of that, you can always expect long lines. They only cook one hog a day, and when the food's out, that's it. Come early or don't come at all.
Despite B's notoriously long lines that I've heard about, my companions and I amazingly got there at the perfect time, with only a few people at the counter waiting for their orders. I decided to split a giant combination plate with my friend. When I say giant by the way, I mean giant. The order easily weighed upwards of three pounds in my hand, and even after splitting with my friend we had more than enough leftovers to share with a third.
The order came with East Carolina staples: crispy corn sticks, a light green slaw, boiled potatoes, classic Eastern Carolina barbecue, and a whole half of a chicken. The chicken was a behemoth, and maybe even better than the barbecue with its lovely char and smoky taste. A light brushing of their vinegar sauce really set it over the top. The barbecue was pretty clean in comparison to others that I've had, with all the fat and gristle somewhat cleaned out. Cooked over charcoal, you definitely pick up that flavor in the meat. The sauce over it was good and had a bit of an extra peppery bite to it that I liked.
Overall though, I still may take Pete Jone's wood-fired 'cue just down the street in Ayden. B's chicken and sides, however, are clear winners in the fight. The potatoes had an outstanding meatiness from being cooked with some of the barbecue and chicken drippings no doubt. The corn sticks were crunchy and flavorful, and maybe some of the best I've had in East Carolina. The slaw is on par with every other I've had, perhaps a little less sweet, which was a bonus.
I was pretty satisfied by my meal at B's. For my barbecue cravings, I may still prefer the extra ten to fifteen minute drive to Ayden for some Pete Jones, but the chicken and sides at B's are something that I'd be willing to come back for any time of the week. Definitely worth a trip for the experience alone.