Allen & Son 6203 Mill-house Road, Chapel Hill (919/942-7576) Keith Allen's superlative 'cue straddles eastern and western styles: wood-smoked pork shoulders with a tart, tomato-free sauce.
Barbecue Center 900 North Main Street, Lexington (336/248-4633) Sample smoky barbecue and banana splits in a dining room frozen in the 1950s.
Lexington Barbecue 10 Highway 29-70 South, Lexington (336/249-9814) Some of the South's tastiest chopped pork shoulder comes from the hickory-filled pits at this family-owned favorite.
Skylight Inn 4617 Lee Street, Ayden (252/746-4113) This eastern gem smokes whole hogs the old-fashioned way, yielding superior pork. Don't miss the Collard Shack, a farm stand next door.
Snook's 109 Junie Beauchamp Road, Advance (336/998-4305) Twenty miles from Lexington, this establishment serves excellent smoked pork and delicious house-made pies.
Wilber's 4172 U.S. 70 East, Goldsboro (919/778-5218) This beloved institution has been serving moist, wood-smoked barbecue since 1962.