Craig Claiborne

The New York Times

There is no cooking in this country that engenders the strong opinions, lively discussions and regional chauvinism that barbecue does…If barbecue is America’s most controversial food, then North Carolina must be its barbecue-controversy capital. There are North Carolinians who contend that the only true barbecue is cooked around Lexington, in the central part of the state. Then there are those who declare that only the barbecue “down east,” around a town called Goldsboro, has authentic, down home, melt-in-your-mouth flavor.

On a recent visit to North Carolina, I was asked to act as a sounding board for both sides of the argument and to sample the evidence. I left three days later, a smile on my face and a few new pounds around the middle. …On the third day I traveled with friends to a town down east(Goldsboro) to sample the differences in the two regions. And there is a difference…

The differences in the barbecue were that the whole pig – split in half down the backbone and laid flat on the cooking surface – was used rather than the pork shoulder. The sauce was made primarily with vinegar, red pepper, black pepper and diluted with water. (the difference between this and the Lexington sauce is that the ketchup is omitted.

Our first stop was a sunny, no-nonsense spot called Scott’s Famous Barbecue in Goldsboro…I spoke to the owner, an affable, 42 year-old man named Martel Scott, who told me that his establishment had first opened in 1917 under the ownership of his grandfather…The chopped barbecue sandwiches were excellent. The spare ribs were commendable.