Old Carolina BBQ is authentic BBQ with your choice of chicken, pork, turkey or brisket.
Let me start by getting my biases out of the way. I have no particular love for BBQ. I don’t like “smoked” flavored anything, and when pig battles cow for my stomach’s heart, cow wins every time. The question then is, why the heck did I visit Old Carolina Barbecue? I’m glad you asked.
The answer is simple, really. I was invited. (And someone else paid.)
Jen’s parents were in town and instead of ordering out for pizza they decided have dinner at their favorite BBQ joint; Old Carolina. So we put the bark collar on the dog and headed out.
We had to stop at my place to grab my camera. Typical me, I got distract… oooh, shiny!
I’m sorry, where was I? Ah, yes… I got distracted and came out without the camera. Smartly, Jen asked if I had the camera with me before we got out of the apartment complex. BLAST!
After a quick trip back to get the camera, we arrived at Old Carolina Barbecue which resides in a nondescript strip mall on Everhard near Belden Village. Out front you can see the BBQ pits and stacks of firewood they use for the smokers.
Inside is a fairly plain joint with no atmosphere that clearly thrives on the basis of their service and the food. Old Carolina doesn’t have a large menu so the few things they do offer they do well. You can choose between pulled pork, pork spare ribs, smoked turkey, chicken, beef brisket, or any combination thereof. Essentially you’re just looking for a way to get your favorite meat piled in front of you with your favorite barbeque sauce.
While we were all standing around staring at the big menu on the wall one of the employees approached and asked if we had any questions. Of course I did; “when did Neal Armstrong land on the moon?”
“Before my time,” was his response. Answer denied!
We each approached the counter and placed our orders: The Kansas City (ribs and chicken) for me, The Outlaw (with brisket and turkey) for both of Jen’s parents, and The Carolina (ribs and pulled pork) for Jen. The kids shared a chicken fingers kids meal with an extra side of Mac and cheese. Each adult meal comes with your choice of two sides.
I can’t claim my meal was exceptional in any way. The ribs were a bit stiff and dry for my taste, not fall-off-the-bone juicy… you know, the way beef ribs are cooked! The chicken was good but didn’t strike me as anything spectacular. I will say that the selection of barbecue sauces are fantastic. I especially like the Original Gold flavor.
My first side of Mac and Cheese wasn’t the same as what I had my first visit to Old Carolina. Different noodles, different sauce. It most definitely wasn’t rich and creamy they way I like it. My second side dish was their “famous” fresh cut french fries. The fries may not be the end-all-be-all savior of all things potato, but they were most definitely tasty and better than average.
As I said, BBQ isn’t my thing. So put my nit picking, beef-loving, BBQ hating taste buds aside and consider what the others in my party thought. Jen on the other hand is a BBQ fanatic and makes it a point to try any new BBQ place she runs across. On a scale of one to five, both Jen and her mom gave Old Carolina Barbecue a solid five. Jen’s dad gave Old Carolina a six. (It’s true, four out of three Americans have trouble with fractions!) For some of us no BBQ sauce was needed–it was perfect as-is. For others, the sauce only made an already a great flavor better.
The service at Old Carolina barbecue was beyond exceptional. Most restaurants serve your food and then return a few minutes later to see how you’re doing. You usually don’t see them again except for the occasional refilling of your drink. While we dined, several employees at Old Carolina visited our table asking about our meal and making sure we had everything we needed.
At one point, Nora dropped her macaroni and cheese on the floor which was the end of her four-year-old world. We politely asked the waitress if they could replace it and instead of bringing back one macaroni, she brought two! (Emmitt needed another as his mac and cheese mysteriously disappeared into this stomach.)
There are a few TVs up along the wall, most showing the typical sports game. When Jen asked if they wouldn’t mind changing the channel to some cartoons for the kids they promptly did so (no one else was in our portion of the restaurant so we weren’t inconveniencing anyone else.)
Cost-wise, you’re looking at paying about $15 per person for a good meal. The portions are sizeable so you can easily bring half home for a second meal, or at least a mid-afternoon snack. On the other hand, some of us cleaned their plate!
The general consensus from our group is if you like BBQ, you’ll love Old Carolina!
More Old Carolina Barbecue Info
Cost: 4 adults, 2 kids – $74
Hats off: 5/5
Old Carolina Barbecue website
Old Carolina Barbecue menu (pdf)
Google Reviews and info
4710 Everhard Rd NW