When it comes to authentic Southern barbecue, Rowan County, North Carolina, stands out as a must-visit destination. Our county boasts a rich history and a vibrant food culture, particularly when it comes to barbecue. Join us as we explore the top barbecue joints in each town of Rowan County, where smoked meats and Southern hospitality are the stars of the show.



BBQ in Salisbury, N.C.


Checkered Flag BBQ

Located right outside of Historic Downtown is Checkered Flag BBQ. Check them out for Southern barbecue, burgers, sandwiches, and more! Also, try their full country breakfast each morning!


College Barbecue

If you didn’t catch it by the name, College Barbecue can be found near Salisbury’s Catawba College. Specializing in old fashioned smoked barbecue, College BBQ also offers chicken ribs, burgers, and a multitude of sides to choose from. After being open for 50 years, they have their recipe down!


Hendrix Barbecue (Innes St. & Statesville Blvd.)

Two of the three Hendrix Barbecue locations are found in Salisbury, NC. If the three locations aren’t trustworthy enough, come on in and try the family style barbecue, seafood, or their full breakfast, served all day for yourself!


Marlow’s Bar-B-Q & Seafood

Looking for a great down-home breakfast? Marlow's Bar-B-Q & Seafood is the place! Country cooking all day long, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 


The Smoke Pit

The Smoke Pit brings a modern twist to traditional barbecue. Located in a rustic, inviting setting, this spot offers an extensive menu featuring smoked brisket, ribs, and chicken. Their sides, like the mac and cheese and baked beans, are the perfect complement to their well-seasoned meats. Be sure to try their signature sauces that add an extra layer of flavor to every dish.



BBQ in Rockwell, N.C.


Darrell’s Bar-B-Que

When visiting Rockwell, enjoy delicious North Carolina barbecue and seafood from Darrell's Bar-B-Que & Seafood. They are located right on E. Main St.


Johnny’s BBQ, Seafood and Steaks

While not exclusively a barbecue joint, Johnny's Farmhouse in Rockwell offers some standout barbecue dishes that shouldn't be missed. Their pulled pork is tender and flavorful, often served with classic Southern sides like coleslaw and hushpuppies. The relaxed, family-friendly environment makes it a great spot to enjoy a comforting meal.



BBQ in China Grove, N.C.


Gary’s BBQ

For a classic barbecue experience, Gary's Bar-B-Cue in China Grove is a must-visit. This family-owned restaurant has been serving up delicious barbecue since 1971. Their menu includes mouth-watering options like chopped pork, smoked chicken, and ribs, all cooked to perfection. The cozy, retro atmosphere makes dining here feel like a trip back in time, complete with friendly service and hearty portions. (Travel Tip: When visiting Gary’s – be sure to bring cash! Gary’s is traditional through and through, right down to their form of payment!)


Porky’s Bar-B-Q

Porky's offers great barbecue and southern down-home cooking anyone would enjoy. When visiting Rowan County, be sure to consider Porky’s as a place to stop and grab a bite!



BBQ in Spencer, N.C.


Hendrix Barbecue

Located in the historic town of Spencer, Hendrick’s BBQ is a favorite among barbecue enthusiasts. Their menu features a variety of smoked meats, including brisket, pork, and turkey, all cooked low and slow to achieve the perfect tenderness. The friendly staff and welcoming atmosphere make Hendrick’s a great place to savor some authentic North Carolina barbecue.



BBQ in Faith, N.C.


The Soda Shop

Even the small town of Faith, N.C. has great barbecue in store for you during your visit! At The Soda Shop located on Faith Rd., you'll find everything from BBQ sandwiches & plates to trays. Paired with their red slaw, there's nothing more satisfying!



BBQ in Cleveland, N.C.


Keaton’s Barbecue, Inc.

Founder, Mr. Burette Walker Keaton came up with a barbecue sauce that captures the "taste" of all walks of life. Whether you’re in the mood for savory barbecue chicken or barbecue pork, Keaton’s has a sauce to satisfy anyone’s taste buds!




For more ways to #EatOriginal during your trip to Rowan County, visit our restaurants page.