I collected my last Seneca data point on the BBQ front from a relatively new BBQ acquisition spot. I don’t call it a joint because Cole’s Southern BBQ is a food trailer in a semi-permanent spot. They do catering but 3 days a week they park at the same place on Sandifer Blvd. They have plenty of parking and some picnic benches so you can eat on site. You get the food truck experience of ordering at the window and standing around talking to other folks (or not) as you wait for your food.
The day I went was beautiful, blue skies and low 60’s. I didn’t even mind when Random Stranger #2 waiting on his food too decided to start chatting. He did affirm one of my side choices as the best he’d ever had other than his own. That sounded promising.
I did chat with the owner / smoker a bit about his sauces based off the sign below. I knew I’d want a couple for the ribs and wanted to make sure we were cool.
He told me to get what I wanted and that was for the abusers. He said a guy the other day got one sandwich and literally 10 little cups of mustard sauce. Turns out they sell bottles of the sauce and there’s one I’d actually consider, spoilers.
Staying true to the methodology I got 2 plates for 3 meals. I did get him to throw in an extra 3 ribs because the normal platter only comes with 3. I could have been fine with just 3. Let me just tell you right now based on the weight of the plates I was not going to be complaining about skimpy side portions.
With the sandwich I got slaw and Brunswick stew and with the ribs I got baked beans and potato salad. Sauces were Carolina Vinegar, Hickory & Cole’s Southern Sweet Heat.
He was quite generous with the sides as you can see. I just wish they’d all been great, they weren’t. The baked beans were fine, nothing you couldn’t get from a can. Potato salad tasted just like Food Lion deli potato salad, again just fine. The coleslaw continued the just fine trend and seemed like it came straight from a carton. Now the Brunswick stew was very much the best of the lot and was worth the trip. This was the one Random Stranger #2 said was the 2nd best he’d ever had. I have to agree it was pretty dang good. Sweet and smoky tomato based stew with loads of meat and some corn and lima beans thrown in for good measure.
I fixed my sampler plate and proceeded to judge.
I’ve already covered the side so lets talk about the meat. The sandwich had lots of well smoked meat that was probably the most juicy or moist of any sandwich I’ve had during this experiment. In fact it destroyed the bottom bun turning it into a soggy mess on the ride home. That didn’t stop me from eating all the pork with a load of the Carolina vinegar sauce. It was probably the closest to the eastern North Carolina BBQ sauce I grew up knowing was the “right” kind for BBQ pork. On the whole pretty good.
The ribs were quite large and meaty but also the fattiest of any I tried. You could tell visually they were well smoked but there was actually fairly little taste from the smoking. That made a neutral pallet for the sauces if that’s your favorite part. The pork itself was tender but firm so you had to put in a little effort pulling it off the bone. To me that was good. The sauces I tried with the ribs were very different but good in their own way. The Hickory Mild was thick and sweet with a molasses and hickory flavor combo. The Cole’s Southern Sweet Heat seemed like a combination of the vinegar and hickory with a doubling down on the black pepper. To me it was the best of the lot and maybe my favorite of the local sauces I’ve had.
Overall I liked Cole’s and when I crave BBQ and the day is nice this is probably where I’ll head.
Actually after all that I’d say in general Little Pigs is my go to but in certain circumstances I’d recommend Black’s Smokehouse and Cole’s Southern BBQ. I think Black’s has the best tasting ribs and for a beautiful day and a bowl of Brunswick stew burn rubber to Cole’s. As a BBQ place Heavenly Hog is a hard pass for me.