Smoky, Tangy, Sweet, and Saucy: 9 Gaston Barbecue Joints to Soothe Your Summer Soul
Bar-B-Que is a way of life around here. Entire evenings are whiled away discussing the virtues of tangy vinegar versus a sweet tomato-based sauce. And don’t even get us started on the best type of slaw.
Great news though: you can find just about any kind of barbecue your heart desires in Gaston County.
Vinegar, sweet, or mustard-based. Pork, beef, chicken, or ribs. Chopped, or sliced. You’ll find it all here.
We’ve put together just the beginnings of a list, in no particular order, of some of Gaston’s amazing Bar-B-Que restaurants. So you can decide which style is your favorite.
Are we missing any? Let us know!
219 S. Broad Street, Gastonia
The low-down: Solid southern themed, old-school BBQ with plenty of smoky flavor.
Amazing menu item: Get a half-dozen wings to share first. Then go for the rib plate with potato salad. The term “fall-off-the-bone” was written for these baby back beauties.
The vibe: Table service, full bar, great dinner spot.
1011 Union Rd, Gastonia
The low-down: Third-generation pit masters producing smoky, saucy pork, beef, and chicken BBQ.
Amazing menu item: You just have to love a place that considers a half-rack of ribs an appetizer! But here, the chicken is a favored stand out.
The vibe: cozy and quiet, family, simple beer selection. Great for lunch weekdays or Sunday.
1318 Gaston Ave, Gastonia (plus two BBQ trucks that set up shop around Gaston)
The low-down: Regionally famous BBQ joint that’s been serving Gaston County for seven decades.
Amazing menu item: No need to get fancy here. Get the pulled pork sandwich and a side of crinkle fries.
The vibe: Counter or curbside service (one of the few in Gaston). Perfect spot for a summer night out with the family.
5945 W Wilkinson Blvd., Belmont
The low-down: An unassuming gem hidden (in plain sight) with incredible breakfast that’s as good as the BBQ.
Amazing menu item: Yes, we’re talking BBQ— and Buddy’s pulled pork is awesome— but the breakfast at Buddy’s is what surprises most people. The egg and sausage on toast is a great place to start.
The vibe: Small space, open for breakfast and lunch, Monday through Friday. Perfect for a quick lunch or breakfast on your way to work.
720 McAdenville Rd., Lowell
930 E Garrison Blvd., Gastonia
The low-down: Bustling spot with homemade sauce and all the standard BBQ fair.
Amazing menu item: All-you-can-eat ribs because sometimes dinner can also a challenge. Seriously though, the ribs are really good.
The vibe: Large dining room, table service, family friendly.
4507 Wilkinson Blvd., Gastonia
The low-down: Highly rated, low-key joint for some of the best BBQ in the region. You can smell the smoky goodness all around Kyle Fletcher’s!
Amazing menu item: This is where you go for a huge pile of smoky pork, fries, and those oblong hush puppies that were meant for dipping. So the large chopped pork plate is the best place to start.
The vibe: Cash only, lots of sports memorabilia in the small dining room.
403 E Catawba Street, Belmont (behind Belmont’s Drug Store)
The low-down: Traditional BBQ (including thick cut smoked bacon) joint with an outdoor porch, full weekend brunch, and a nice little beer selection.
Amazing menu item: Porkapalooza hash. Home fries with a pulled pork, bacon, sausage hash topped with fried eggs and a chorizo gravy. Comes with cornbread.
The vibe: Counter service, family, great spot after Sunday Church.
4571 New South Hope Road, Gastonia
The low-down: If you’re passionate about the craftsmanship of excellent BBQ, RayNathan’s is the place for you.
Amazing menu item: The brisket is hardwood smoked and covered in RayNathan’s homemade spice rub. The brisket plate comes with two sides.
The vibe: Exposed brick, barn doors, rustic-but-clean aesthetic that is as well-crafted as the food. Only open Thursday through Saturday. Perfect for a weekend night out.
3660 E. Franklin Blvd, Gastonia
The low-down: Shane’s is a regional chain with locations across the Carolinas and Georgia. But don’t let that deter you. It is solid ‘cue that is smoked and hand-cut daily. They offer a variety of sauces, so no matter your style, they have you covered.
Amazing menu item: The Big Dad is a huge pulled pork sandwich served on thick-cut Texas toast. The meat is medium smoky, so it’s a good contrast to the buttery bread. Shane’s original sauce is a sweet and tangy blend that’s a strong choice for this sandwich.
The vibe: Family oriented, quick food, counter service. A lunchtime favorite.