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  North Carolina Pulled Pork Barbecue Joints

Pete Jones's Skylight Inn
S. Lee Street
Ayden, NC 28489
(919) 746-4113

  What a joint! Located off the beaten path in the hamlet of Ayden, the Skylight Inn was founded by Pete Jones in 1947 on a site where his ancestors had made barbecue for a century or more before him. There it sits on the coastal plains of eastern North Carolina, capped with a replica of a rotunda (not unlike the one on the U.S Capitol building in Washington) that, in turn, is topped off with a huge American flag.

The barbecue is every bit as distincitve as the place itself. Enter the front door to a methodical pounding sound orchestrated by two fellows in the kitchen behind the counter. Wielding a cleaver in each hand, they chop huge mounds of pulled pork barbecue on a large wooden block before your eyes. Step up to the counter and order a sandwich. The bottom half of your bun is heaped with as much barbecue from the mound as the bun will hold. Slaw is added before the top is pressed into place and a white paper wrapper is neatly folded around the completed sandwich. Order a Coca-Cola. It arrives promptly in a glass bottle from a cooler somewhere under the counter. Retreat to a table, indoors or outside, and enjoy.

Chopping barbecue by hand at the Skylight Inn.

The barbecue at the Skylight Inn is made in the eastern style from the whole hog. Split down the middle and placed on steel bars in the open pit, the meat cooks slowly for 13 -15 hours over coals made from the mountain of oak wood stored behind the two pits. In a pile higher than a house and bigger than three or four, the wood is age half a year or so before being burned to coals. This aging, along with the slow cooking, no doubt contribute to the moist, mild-flavored barbecue served up in Ayden by generations of the Jones family.

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