Name: Smiley’s Lexington Barbecue Inc.
Location: 917 Winston Rd., Lexington, NC 27295
Order: Chopped BBQ plate with hush puppies, slaw, fries, and Cheerwine (link to menu)
Monk: Recently, Speedy and I made a decision to try to visit as many barbecue joints on the NC Historic Barbecue Trail that we could over the next year or so (hopefully one or two with Rudy in tow when he is back in NC for the holidays). So with an engagement party for a friend of the blog held in Greensboro a few Saturdays ago, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check out Smiley’s in Lexington on our way up.
Smiley’s is less than a half mile from Speedy’s in one direction and not too far from Lexington #1 (aka the promised land) in the other, so it’s in pretty good company. And they do things the old school way, cooking barbecue low and slow over a wood pit for several hours (hence why they are on the NC Historic Barbecue Trail in the first place). But oddly enough, on a Saturday night at 6pm it was damned near empty.
Speedy: Pulling in - Smiley’s looks exactly like you’d expect an old school ‘cue joint to look like. One twist I did like - as we pulled into the parking space, a waitress started to come up to the car. Apparently they have curbside to go service - bonus. However, we were there to dine in, so we went inside and sat at a table of our choosing. There’s not much to say about this place other than it looks the part. You could see scenes from Andy Griffith being filmed there. Nothing really stood out, but it was homely.
Rudy: Homely or homey? Because when a girl is described as homely, it’s usually not a good thing. Maybe it is for barbecue though.
Monk: Speedy, Mrs. Monk, and I all ordered the same thing – a chopped BBQ plate with hush puppies, slaw, and fries. Although, to try it out for the first time (and to make me feel more like a local), I ordered it with extra outside brown. And it was very, very good. I enjoyed having the extra bark in the barbecue, and will probably order it this way at the next Lexington joint I visit. One thing for me, however, was I felt like I noticed that the barbecue dip was a little sweeter than the other Lexington-style spots that I have been to. Not a deal breaker or even a bad thing by any means, just something that I think I noticed.
Speedy: I didn’t really notice too much extra sweet, but I do think a lot of these places add sugar to the dip to taste, so I imagine it’s not always the same. Monk may have a more sensitive palate than I do. But I thought the ‘cue was really, really good. The portion was pretty big (probably enough for two meals), the pork and (red!) slaw were great, and it was just a great meal. There is quite a bit of variety of food on the menu, but we paid it no attention - a decision I’d make again and again.
Rudy: You guys tend to get a sampling at most places. Why not here? Sounds like it wasn’t a mistake though, with the chopped BBQ being good.
Speedy: Well, most of the other stuff wasn’t barbecue. The rest of the menu had burgers, sandwiches, chicken tenders, and other diner type food. Frankly, I just don’t have time for that garbage.
Monk: Agreed - definitely made the right call. So, one more notch on our NC Historical Barbecue Trail belt (note: this belt doesn’t actually exist, but it would be cool if it did). We had a solid plate of barbecue at Smiley’s, but it’s hard to imagine we’d choose this over Lexington #1 in the future.
Atmosphere/Ambiance: 3 hogs
Pork – 4 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs