Friday, June 5, 2015

NC: Parker’s Barbecue in Wilson

Via Cousin John


When Parker’s Barbecue in Wilson, NC opened in August 1946, a door connected two buildings, providing access to two very different dining experiences in Wilson. To the left, there were oysters, which you could pair with whatever liquor you packed; to the right, barbecue and sweet tea.

“This was the family side,” says Parker’s current co-owner Kevin Lamm, pointing to the original dining room of the barbecue building. As Lamm puts it, the restaurant’s founders — Graham Parker, Ralph Parker, and Henry Parker Brewer — knew they needed to “make it either one way or the other.” So eventually, he says, “They decided to go the family route.”

Sixty-seven years later, it’s a decision that’s worked out well. Each week, Parker’s smokes about 150 whole hogs — which are chopped and seasoned with a vinegar-and-red-pepper sauce — and fries about 8,000 chickens for 20,000 customers, who start coming early in the day. “We have people eat barbecue at 9:00 [a.m.],” says Donald Williams, who co-owns the restaurant with Lamm and another partner, Eric Lippard.

More @ Out State


  1. I wonder if the newly arrived blacks from Congo will cross state border to sample this fine looking BBQ. Oh wait, they are probably all muslims and will not partake of this pulled pork,

  2. Parker's, like so many other Eastern-style NC BBQ places, doesn't cook over wood and hasn't for decades, which the article noted. What you're buying should more properly be described as "BBQ-style roast pork." Once the pork is pulled, chopped, dressed with vinegar-based sauce and topped with slaw, the fact that there's absolutely no smoke flavor becomes moot, at least to the uncaring masses.

    There are still plenty of BBQ places that will only cook over wood, and a reference like Bob Garner's Book of Barbecue or John Shelton Reed's Holy Smoke is helpful to carry in your travels and making your choice of where to eat.

    Not that I'd turn my nose up at Parker's - - I'd be happy to eat there - - but, if given a choice between Parker's and the Skylight Inn in Ayden, where they cook over wood, I'd choose Skylight Inn, both for the improved flavor and to reward the hard work of the restaurateur in using traditional methods to produce his BBQ.

    1. Thanks and we ate at the Skylight Inn a few months ago

  3. The amazing thing about Parker's is that virtually right around the corner from it is Bill Ellis' BBQ who has an 18,000 sf dining room and mobile units capable of catering to up to 1 million people!

    I've eaten at both and enjoy both. I suspect the numbers published for Parker's volume includes all of their locations in Wilson, Rocky Mount, Greenville, etc. but maybe not.

    My personal preference is the same as Bob's, The Skylight Inn is the king! CH