Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge: Tasty Pit-cooked Pork and Hushpuppies

Review by: Michael Stern

Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge cooks its meat in a huge pit the size of a small motel adjacent to the restaurant; and the hickory-pork aroma seeping from this pit is a temptation to the Roadfood passer-by more alluring than perfume from Paris, France.

There is no menu, just the slip of paper used by the waitress to take orders. It has the short list of what is available, which she explains if you are not an experienced North Carolina barbecue eater. Our waitress turned out to be a connoisseur of local soft drinks to accompany the Q. “Cheerwine is cherry,” she told us, “but my favorite is Sundrop, which is like Sprite but more citrusy, and better. You’ll like it with your pork.” We sure did.

What to eat at Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge in Shelby, NC

Choose a sandwich, a tray, or a plate. A tray is simply barbecue and barbecue slaw; a plate also holds French fries, lettuce, tomato, and pickle. Both are accompanied by a basket of hushpuppies, and whether you select sandwich, tray, or plate, you will have to decide if you want your meat minced, chopped, or sliced. It is a major decision, for they are virtually different foods. Minced meat is really hacked up, pulverized into moist hash with some little shreds of darkened, chewy crust among the distressed pork. The mound is held together by a smidgen of uniquely North Carolinian sauce – tomato based, but with a strong vinegar tang. Chopped is chunky, and sliced barbecue comes as big, soft flaps. With the pork comes a Styrofoam cup of warm sauce for dipping.

The hushpuppies are curious: elongated crescents with a wickedly brittle, sandy-textured crust. The slaw is strange, too, if you are expecting anything like typical cole slaw. This is barbecue slaw, meaning finely chopped cabbage bound together with – what else? – barbecue sauce! It’s got zest and crunch, and a pearly-red color that handsomely complements pork. The small tray, by the way, is only about three by five inches and an inch-and-a-half deep, but it is astounding how much meat and slaw get packed into it.

Note: Bridges is closed Monday and Tuesday.

What To Eat

Chopped Pork


Peach Cobbler

Pimento Cheese Sandwich


Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge: Tasty Pit-cooked Pork and Hushpuppies Recipes


What do you think of Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge: Tasty Pit-cooked Pork and Hushpuppies?

4 Responses to “Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge: Tasty Pit-cooked Pork and Hushpuppies”

Mike Byers

September 16th, 2023

I’ve eaten there all my life. Great Q. My mom used to say the only reason people came to visit her in Shelby was to eat Bridges BBQ lol.


Bob Smith

August 30th, 2023

Red Bridges was great, had a nice lunch. being from the North I though the hush puppies would be good with powdered sugar on them. maybe I’ll bring my own next time!



    August 31st, 2023

    powdered sugar ??? OMG ! I never .
    For sure you are from the north .


Tom Lewis

November 18th, 2011

We were coming home from a trip to the North Carolina mountains, and took a detour to eat at Bridges. I’ve been there before and was looking forward to a great lunch.

The three of us ordered sandwiches, hush puppies, onion rings, and sweet tea. The food was fresh and hot. However, we all commented on the lack of much smoked flavor in the chopped pork. A small order of hush puppies gave us two per person, and the large order of onion rings contained eight rings. The food was just OK, and pretty pricey for what we got; there was not much chopped pork on the sandwich.

I’ve eaten at many BBQ places in NC, SC, GA, AL, LA, and TN. At best this place rates as fair. My prior visits, years ago, were much better. Not sure it is worth a return trip unless I just happen to be driving by. More than likely, I’d opt to go to Alston Bridges BBQ near the hospital. I’ve eaten there several times and I believe (as do some friends that live in Shelby) it is a better BBQ restaurant.


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