This past weekend my husband and I were child-free (thanks Mom and Dad!) and when that happens we love to get out, explore and do things we wouldn’t normally do with our toddler son in tow. Driving 30 minutes on a whim for lunch is definitely something that falls into that category.
This local buzz is going to take you a bit out of your ‘comfort zone’. And by ‘comfort zone’ I mean it is not located in Fuquay-Varina or Holly Springs, or even Apex or Cary. It is located in Benson where 210 and HWY 40 intersect (perfect when you are going to/from the beach) and yes, it is attached to a gas station. However, do not let that deter you. I guarantee that if you make the drive down there you will agree with me that it is the best bbq you have ever tasted.
I was told about the Redneck BBQ Lab, which was only founded back in January 2017, when I met with the owners of the Skrimp Shack for their local blog piece. Tom told me that anytime he has to go into the office he makes a point to stop at the BBQ Lab for lunch because it is without a doubt, the best. And I must say, I agree with him 110%.
When we got there I think I had forgotten it was attached to a gas station. I didn’t care because it came so highly recommended. We parked and walked up to the door where we were greeted by a long line that wrapped around the dining room. Once you step inside you will instantly forget there is a gas station attached to the other side of their dining room wall. They have wood planking all over the walls which are decorated with rustic farmhouse decor, such as tobacco baskets, vintage photographs, old tractor seats, various signs, and a whole bunch of trophies and awards that the owners have won from various bbq competitions. There is also a beautifully painted mural on the outside of their building.
The way they have their ordering and service setup is a well-oiled machine. Order your food at the counter, move down past the long glass window where you can see them preparing your plate(s), then wait maybe five minutes to get your order at the other window. And mind you, this was our wait during peak lunchtime on a Saturday so I imagine there is hardly any wait at an off-time. Even with the long line, we were in and out in an hour. They do have a drive-thru for those that do not want to eat there but then you miss out on all the smells and what fun is that?!
Their menu is pretty extensive: sandwiches, family/catering sized packs, sides, off the block meats, on the bone meats, desserts, kids menu, and drinks. You can buy the meats in 1/4, 1/2 or 1 pound increments, and the sides are sold as a side portion, pint or quart. They offer plate combos (meat, 1 side + drink or meat, 2 sides + drink) which are not pre-set with certain meats or sides as they do not want to limit the choices and give everyone the chance to get whatever they want.
We were lucky that we had just so happened to pick a day to visit when they had burnt ends. We found out these are only served on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I was thanking my lucky stars for these saucy, smoked cubes of perfectly cooked meat because even though I had never had burnt ends before I imagine I will never have any near as good as the ones from the BBQ Lab.
My husband and I decided to try pretty much everything on their menu because why not? Burnt ends, brisket, pulled pork, potato salad, baked beans, green beans, slaw, cornbread, and banana pudding. They were also running a special of BOGO Free of their chicken salad, so my husband bought some of that for his weekly lunches.
Everything was outstanding. No exaggeration. It was so delicious we joked about going back for dinner that same night. The meats were perfectly cooked. So perfect that they didn’t even require sauce to eat but after trying each one without, I put sauce all over my portions because I like the sauce just as much as I like the meat. Give me all the condiments!! Sorry, not sorry. The only thing we ordered that I was not a fan of was the banana pudding. It only had two slices of fresh bananas and tasted like it was made with banana flavored pudding/custard whereas I like mine made with vanilla. I still vote that Danny’s BBQ in Cary has the best banana pudding locally.
I overheard an employee talking to the customers seated next to us, who were also first-timers, talking about how their meats are hand trimmed, seasoned, and prepared daily. We didn’t have our food yet so my mouth started watering even more. Their sides are also made daily and the cornbread is baked fresh each morning. Unfortunately, this means that when it is gone, it’s gone, so get there early! The customer then asked what time they have to put their meats on to have them done in time to open the next day. She smiled and said their operation is pretty much a 24-hour thing; good meat takes time!
So the next time you have a little extra time during your day and really want to please your palette with some seriously good BBQ, make a trip down to the Redneck BBQ Lab. You won’t be disappointed and you definitely won’t leave hungry.