My Review of Smiley's Lexington BBQ
When people talk about Lexington, North Carolina, BBQ often becomes part of the conversation. Though Lexington is just a small town between the Greensboro area and Charlotte, this small town is home to one of the biggest annual BBQ festivals in the world, as well as tons of local BBQ restaurants.
BBQ restaurants in Lexington have to know what they’re doing and serve great food. If they don’t, they’ll quickly go out of business because of all the tough competition. The competition isn’t just from restaurants. People in Lexington know how to make great BBQ in their backyards.
Smiley’s, like most of the restaurants in the area, specializes in serving Lexington-style BBQ. Though I’m not an expert (I wish I were), I believe Lexington-style BBQ is more wet with a vinegar-based red sauce than other types of Carolina BBQ.
Smiley’s is one of the more unique BBQ restaurants I’ve been to. In addition to a dining room, they also offer curbside service where a server will come to your car and take your order. They also open at 9am daily and serve BBQ all day, which I don’t think I’ve seen before.
The early opening worked great for me when I was recently traveling from Charlotte to Roanoke. I was trying to beat some bad weather that was on the way, so a mid-morning stop for a BBQ breakfast was perfect.
As I’d previously mentioned, this BBQ is more wet than what I’m typically used to. The meat still had good flavor, but I wonder if the sauce doesn’t take away from the full potential of the pork itself.
However, I loved the combination of the chopped pork with the BBQ slaw. I know BBQ purists would disagree with me, but I think great slaw takes good BBQ to another level.
But, there’s a way it needs to be done. I think chopped pork and finely chopped slaw work best together. When you start using pulled pork or chunkier slaw, the textures can get complicated and messy. Point being - Smiley’s does it the right way!
Along with my BBQ and slaw, I was 1-for-2 on my other sides. The hush puppies were hot, crispy and not overly doughy, and I was a fan. The fried squash was hot, crispy and...weird. I love squash, but this type of preparation didn’t work for me. The squash lacked flavor and it was mainly just greasy batter.
My BBQ plate was around $9. It was an expensive breakfast, but it was a massive plate of food that ended up being my only meal of the day.
And to get to the opportunity to have BBQ for breakfast, I left Smiley’s with a smile on my face.
Check out more of my BBQ Restaurant Reviews.
Smiley’s Lexington BBQ
917 Winston Road
Lexington, NC 27295