A few signs that you’re at a legit barbecue joint:
- You can smell smoke from a few blocks away
- Each table has its own roll of paper towels
- The workers are some of the most friendly people you’ve met
All of these are a reality at Hillsborough BBQ Company (HBBQC). This restaurant opened in 2011 and has been cooking a variety of meat over Oak & Hickory coals ever since. I’ve heard very positive reviews of HBBQC so we decided to take take a ride over and try it out.
This joints sits about a mile away from downtown Hillsborough, NC in a quite strip with a gravel parking lot. The storefront is very modest with a couple of picnic tables outside… the overhead fans are a nice touch. The interior was very nice, with wood floor, bar and tables. The place comes off as a more casual sit-down restaurant than your typical bbq shack. Like I said, there’s a bar, tvs, and a casual feel.
The tables come adorned with a variety of bbq eating essentials. 2 house made sauces (midwestern and eastern style bbq sauces), ketchup, salt, pepper and a roll of paper towels. It looked like they had Texas Pete and maybe some other sauces behind the counter if you wanted to ask.
Now for the menu. HBBQC offers a wide variety of menu options, some of which part from traditional NC bbq. They offer chicken, chopped pork, brisket, turkey breast, catfish and ribs as their meats along with many sides including red, yellow, or white slaw, collards, brunswick stew, mac n cheese, baked beans, corn pudding and more. Some unique appetizers include bbq nachos, catfish bites, salads, and chips with salsa.
I ordered the bbq sandwich with white slaw for $7.59 and I chose hushpuppies as my side. The sandwich came with an ample amount of bbq and slaw, along with a ton of hushpuppies. The bbq itself was fantastic; so tender, juicy and flavorful. The pairing with creamy slaw and bun only helped its cause. The hushpuppies were good especially paired with the side of honey butter they served with it. Their eastern style bbq sauce was pretty typical: spicy and very vinegary. The western sauce was mildly thick and had a sweet molasses taste. I didn’t really need these sauces to improve the meal but I wanted to try them for the fun of it.
We couldn’t resist indulging in the bourbon pecan pie when we saw it on the dessert specials. It was not served warm, but had a massive dollop of homemade whipped cream and was oozing with sweet goodness. This was my first time eating pecan pie and I really enjoyed it. The top contained crunchy, glaze-encrusted pecans, while the base had a rich, gooey, honey texture. A great end to a great meal. I also got to try the catfish bites, creole string beans, and Brunswick stew that my parents ordered. I was very impressed by all, especially the presence of rabbit in the Brunswick stew, a real traditional touch.
Hillsborough BBQ Company ranks very high on my list of favorite restaurants. The food is great and the variety of menu items is impressive. The restaurant has a slightly fancier feel than a typical bbq joint, but the food is certainly worth it. If you’re in the area or a short drive away, I would highly recommend checking out HBBQC.
Restaurant: Hillsborough BBQ Company
Location: 236 S Nash St, Hillsborough, NC 27278
Overall Rating: 4.5/5