One of the best

Stamey’s serves Lexington-style North Carolina barbecue, which means that the meat of choice is pork shoulders that are pit-cooked over smoldering hickory wood until ridiculously tender, then chopped or sliced. “Chopped” means chopped so fine it is nearly pulverized. Slices are actually more like shreds of varying sizes, some soft, others edged with crust from the outside of the meat. The sauce is peppery with a vinegar tang and thin enough to permeate the soft, sweet pork rather than blanket it. If you get a platter (as opposed to a sandwich), it will be accompanied by zesty cole slaw and odd-shaped, deep-fried corn squiggles that are Stamey’s version of hushpuppies. This is a Piedmont meal that many connoisseurs consider the best barbecue in a state that is fanatical about barbecue and has at least six different regional variations from the coast to the Western mountains.

Warner Stamey started the business in the 1930s; his descendants have tended it ever since; and many of the other good barbecue pitmasters in the area learned their trade from him. Although the restaurant started as a rustic shack, a modern barnboard building was erected in 1980s, and today customers dine in country comfort.

Oh, yes, one more thing: try to leave room for dessert. Stamey’s warm peach cobbler is nearly as famous as the barbecue.

What to Eat
Stamey’s, Chopped Pork Plate
Chopped Pork Plate
There are two sizes of pork plate, regular and large. This is large, and it holds a lot of pork; but for us, this pork is impossible to stop eating. It is pig perfection. The shrimp-shaped hushpuppies have a lovely crunch, and the cole slaw is brilliantly refreshing. The plate, by the way, is heavy cardboard, divided into sections to hold the three items separate.
Chopped Pork Sandwich
Stamey’s, Sweet Tea
Sweet Tea
Along with the tea served at the Beacon Drive-In of Spartanburg, SC, this is one of our very favorites. It is freshly brewed; and while it is sweet indeed, it is elegantly so. In other words, you wouldn't mistake it for glucose like some of the less-wonderful sweet teas encountered in restaurants.
Stamey’s, Brunswick Stew
Brunswick Stew
Brunswick Stew can be ordered in a cup as a side dish (shown here) or as the centerpiece of a meal with cole slaw and a couple of side dishes. It is good stuff, powerfully seasoned and unspeakably filling.
Stamey’s, Dipping Sauce
Dipping Sauce
Each table is outfitted with a bottle of Stamey's dipping sauce. It is spicier and has a more powerful vinegar kick than what is on the barbecue that comes out of the kitchen. We debated about whether it accentuates the flavor of the meat or diminishes its subtleties.
Directions and Hours
open now
Monday10:30am - 9pm
Tuesday10:30am - 9pm
Wednesday10:30am - 9pm
Thursday10:30am - 9pm
Friday10:30am - 9pm
Saturday10:30am - 9pm
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
5 stops | 324 MILES | 5 hr 21 min

No matter how delicious it may be, cole slaw always plays second fiddle. When visiting barbecue parlors in North Carolina, the curious eater will encounter a handful of slaws that test that rule. Not that they overshadow the pork they accompany, but they can be truly memorable. We wouldn't expect anyone to tour the Tarheel…

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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