Allen & Son

Review by: Michael Stern


The Allen & Son in Chapel Hill is located in what used to be far outskirts of town before town became The Research Triangle. Now it is one of the few individual restaurants in a crowded area; but glory be, it’s hardly changed at all. Same old cinderblock walls, same plastic tablecloth … and the same authoritative North Carolina style Q, meaning velvety pieces of hickory-smoked pork. As is local custom, the sauce is separate from the meat, available in a bottle on the table: thin, butter-rich, vinegar-based hot sauce loaded with spice and cracked pepper. Just a sprinkle is all you will want to make this pork sing. In fact, you may not want any sauce at all. The meat is that good.

We recommend getting Allen’s meat on a plate (rather than a sandwich), which includes a pile of sparkling cole slaw and about a half-dozen crisp-skinned hushpuppies. The hushpups are arranged like a sculptor’s work, on top of the pork. It is a field of spheres atop a heap of meat: a lovely, aromatic, and absolutely mouth-watering sight.

If you get the combination plate known to some locals as “stew and que” (highly recommended), the smoked meat is supplemented by a bowl of Brunswick stew, another traditional companion to smoked pork in these parts. Unlike the meatier Brunswick stews of southern Virginia, this stuff is mostly vegetables with a few shreds of meat, all cosseted in a tomato-rich sauce.

For dessert, choose among peanut butter pie, fruit cobbler, cream cheese pound cake, and chess pie.

What To Eat

Allen & Son Recipes


What do you think of Allen & Son?

2 Responses to “Allen & Son”

Jodie Willobee

November 19th, 2010

A giant thank you to as we would have never found this jewel without them! I would travel 60 miles out of our way to eat at this perfect place again.

The BBQ plate was out of this world; tender, delicious… flavor that we had never experienced before! We shared dessert and I scored big points for the warm pound cake with cream cheese frosting while our kids gave their votes to the peanut butter pie.

This lunch was such a wonderful experience while traveling, one we will be talking about for years. For a week’s worth of eating out while traveling from Michigan to North Carolina and back again, Allen & Son will long live as the BEST meal of the entire journey.


Janine Robison

February 2nd, 2008

Our trip to Allen & Sons was the first foray into Carolina Que. It will not be our last. We decided to go there strictly based on Michael Stern’s review and we were not disapointed.

We had the Stew & Que combo plate (worth every penny) which came with BBQ pork, slaw, hush puppies, and a small side of Brunswick stew. The meat (oh the meat!) was full of smokey goodness. You really do not need any sauce. The stew is a great mellow accompaniment to the flavorful pork. The hush puppies are gloriously greasy, crispy and LOVELY! The coleslaw was just as I like it: with bite.

This review would not be complete without mention of dessert, peanut butter pie and chocolate pie in particular. To give you an idea of how good they are, my husband’s eyes rolled back into his head each time he took a bite.

North Carolina is almost 3,000 miles aways from home, but we will be back!


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