02/04/05 — Lexington wants title of official N.C. barbecue festival

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Lexington wants title of official N.C. barbecue festival

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on February 4, 2005 2:02 PM

Patriots versus Eagles, UNC vs. Duke, Kurt Busch vs. the rest of the NASCAR field -- these conflicts are small-time compared to the battle brewing in the North Carolina General Assembly over barbecue.

Legislators have been asked to endorse Lexington's annual barbecue festival as the state's "official barbecue festival."

Davidson County legislators introduced the bill this week, after which Rep. Hugh Holliman told the Winston-Salem Journal, "We're the best, and I think we were the first, and we have the largest.

"And we have the best barbecue."

That got the attention of Goldsboro officials, who think our 'cue would smoke theirs. Both cities claim to be the Barbecue Capital of North Carolina.

Goldsboro Mayor Al King ran into some Lexington officials at a recent conference, he said Thursday.

"I let them know that the real barbecue is made right here in eastern North Carolina. ... They didn't want to argue it too much."

For generations, food fanatics have argued about which type of barbecue is better. The western North Carolina, or Lexington, style typically is made only from pork shoulders and uses a tomato-based sauce. Eastern barbecue usually has the whole hog basted in a vinegar-based sauce.

While preference may be a matter of taste, Goldsboro officials are not keen to see the legislature weigh in.

If the Lexington event, which already bills itself as "The Barbecue Festival," receives the state's endorsement, it could hurt Wayne County's fledgling Feast in the East, said Marlise Taylor, Goldsboro's director of tourism.

The festivals are not really rivals. Lexington's event has been around since 1984 and has drawn as many as 150,000 people. In contrast, the first Feast in the East was last October and attracted around 6,000 people.

"They were our inspiration," Ms. Taylor said. "We would like to get to where they are."