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5 May, 2009

Restaurant Review–Backyard Barbecue Pit, Durham

Comments : 2 Posted in : Dining in Durham - NC, Restaurants on by : The Gourmez

5122 NC Highway 55
Meals with 2 sides:  $5.49-8.99
Sandwiches:  $3.50

The Backyard Barbecue Pit is in a nondescript storefront on the Highway 55 corridor.  From the moment you step out of your car, in a parking lot that definitely needs a makeover, the smell of a campfire and roasting meat greets you.  It’s much larger than it looks inside, with plenty of seating in simple tables and booths.  The white walls are covered with graffiti from diners come and gone.  Order up front at the counter and choose from a selection of smoked meats or fried fish.  The standard sides are all in attendance as well, with plenty of green beans, collards, etc., jostling for your attention.  I opted for the white meat chicken plate with sides of macaroni and cheese, potato salad, and hush puppies.  My sister went for the rack of pork ribs, her favorite food at most any barbecue locale.

The sauce was the closest I’ve come across in North Carolina to the ubiquitous one found in bottles on a grocery store shelf, which I happen to quite like.  It was thick, molasses-brown, only a bit sweet, speckled with black pepper and carried a touch of vinegar.  I felt like it captured the elements of a North Carolinian barbecue sauce without overdoing the spice or vinegar.  That’s a win for me!  There was also a hot sauce available that I dipped my hush puppies in.  Those were of the round variety and were definitely sweetened with honey.

The smoked chicken was delightful and as I’m not a big meat eater, that’s definitely saying something.  It fell off the bone just as easily as the pork ribmeat did and the smokiness of the meat was quite good.  As for the sides, the macaroni and cheese was sinful but not in a good way.  It’s mainly a bunch of elbows lubed up with butter and stuck together in a glob of cheddar.  I could only take a few bites without thinking of my waistline.  The potato salad would be a great choice for those who like mustard more than I, but I appreciated the extra celery and onion in it.

Not that we could finish the sides, anyhow, as the meat was the focus and I’m still impressed I ate most of my portion.  We both felt it was a pretty good deal and I’ll probably be back to try it in sandwich form at some point.  Besides, I must try the coleslaw that I somehow missed when ordering.

Reviewed 5.5.09


2 stars



2 thoughts on : Restaurant Review–Backyard Barbecue Pit, Durham

  • matimus
    May 6, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    I work in RTP, so we go to the Backyard BBQ with some frequency. I have to say that if you’re not a big meat eater, then you may not ever “get” it, because it’s really mostly about the pork bbq. I’ve had the ribs and chicken, which are good, and the sides, which are OK, but what keeps my coworkers and I coming back, and really elevates it above the mediocre, is the BBQ. It’s smoky and not too dry and has just the right amount of spice, and is definitely the best in the RTP area. I’m not a NC native and am not a connoisseur, but some of my coworkers are and they share this opinion. Not that I’m saying don’t go back, but if you don’t eat pork you may not ever rate it as high as some people do.

    • becca
      May 6, 2009 at 6:46 pm

      I will definitely try a pork sandwich when I go back again someday. I definitely liked the sauce of the chicken and the smoky, tender meat of it so the pork will be worth a try, too, I’m sure. Pork has been growing on me over the years and pulled pork is quite yummy, even if I’m not a big fan of the strongly vinegar-based sauce in this area. Thanks for the pork info!

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