Hannah’s serves Eastern North Carolina style barbecue: pork shoulder that is finely hacked into something almost like a hash, with occasional shreds of dark, chewy “outside” meat among the soft, pale “inside” pork. The taste is slightly smoky, slightly sweet, and the meat packs a luscious moistness that is virtually intoxicating.
This good pork is available three ways: in a sandwich, on a tray with slaw and a handful spherical hushpuppies, or on a plate with slaw, hushpuppies, and a choice of French fries or barbecue beans. The menu also lists ribs, chicken, and beef, even corn dogs and cheeseburgers, but for us the one compelling item of interest other than the chopped pork is Brunswick stew, a hearty vegetable and meat melange that is especially suitable to accompany pork in cool weather.
The pork is served plain, and is delicious that way, but Hannah’s also supplies two kinds of sauce. One is known here as Texas-style, although we have never tasted anything quite like it in Texas. It is an opaque red stuff that looks like ketchup, but has a bit of a spicy tang. For us, it was overwhelming on the delicate-flavored pork, but just right for dipping French fries. The other sauce is more typical of this part of North Carolina – a thin, vinegar sauce with lots of spice and a certain sweetness that does add another welcome dimension to the good meat.
There are two other locations of Hannah’s, in Claremont (459-9889) and Hickory (322-3711).