I've eaten at about half of these places over the years, and Mr. Thompson's taste is impeccable. Here's his entry for the transcendent Allen and Son on Highway 86 just outside Chapel Hill:
Allen and Son, Orange CountyBarbecue highway (News and Observer, Oct. 16, 2005)
Turning west along I-40, approaching that invisible line somewhere between Burlington and Greensboro and separates Eastern from Lexington-style, we find Allen and Son on N.C. 86 between Chapel Hill and Hillsborough.
Allen and Son seems lost in time. Here, an artisanal approach to barbecue takes place. The hickory wood is split with ax and maul, the charcoal made from those logs added at the perfect time. The barbecue is hand- chopped with its dark, deep golden brown outside meat mixed in to perfect proportions. Keith Allen likes it this way. Pure, simple. Even after exposure in Bon Appetit Magazine, little has changed, and the barbecue is first-rate. While his sauce is more Eastern style, his methods have a Piedmont take. With Lexington- style red slaw his 'cue could be perfect.