Jump to content

Greenville, NC


Sthitch
 Share

Recommended Posts

The Michelin Guides describes a three star restaurant as being one that you will make a special trip to visit. This sums up the Ayden North Carolina’s Skylight Inn, while no one at the Guides would even consider giving this establishment a mention in one of their books, they cannot deny the quality of the food that comes out of the kitchen. One does not stumble onto the Skylight Inn. Hell even if you have directions you are bound to get lost. The selection is very limited. You can either get your meat as a tray, a sandwich, or by the pound. You can’t get chicken, beef, seafood or any vegetable that is not coleslaw. But this is an Eastern Carolina BBQ shack, so what do you expect?

This wonderful place was started by Pete Jones in 1947. And until last week he could always be found at the restaurant serving his wonderful whole hog BBQ. Pete received accolades from the likes of the James Beard Foundation, and Gourmet Magazine, but I am sure that gained the most satisfaction from seeing as many out-of-state cars in his gray gravel parking lot, and the look on the faces of people taking their first bite of his wonderful pork. Pete Jones was a big personality in a small town, and not in an overbearing or bombastic sort of way, he was a good solid citizen who went out of his way to help those that others might consider rivals. On Saturday, Pete Jones was laid to rest. To this the Mayor said "Today, Ayden is sad." Not only is Ayden sad, but so are so many people who made a special trip through his town to try Pete’s BBQ. Thankfully, Pete’s dream is still alive and his Son, Grandson, and Nephew will continue to operate the Skylight just how Pete would have it run.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Really nice essay, Steve, about Pete Jones. This was indeed a very special place that was worth every mile of the many mile detour to visit it. I hope that it doesn't change-truly a one of a kind. A year or two ago Southern Living also called this "the best bbq place in the South." Sometimes losing the commitment and personal vision of one person can make a difference; I hope not, even if just as tribute to him. I doubt that the whole hog Q that he served was any different from one of his ancestors who (if I remember correctly) started the business in the mid 19th Century. Perhaps it will still not have changed in the mid 21st Century and one man will still stand a few feet behind the register with two cleavers spending the better part of the day chopping, then mincing the Q.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On our way back from the beach, Nutty Buddy, Peanut and I decided to make a pilgrimage to the Skylight. It was worth every extra mile. Chopped whole hog with cracklings mixed in. The corn bread and slaw are pretty bleah, but that first bite of hog with its smoky flavor and moist texture with the tiniest hint of vinegar make you forget about anything else. I don't know if it was better when Pete Jones was alive (RIP) and I'm certainly not a BBQ expert, but this was quite simply the best fuckin' pig that I have ever eaten.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if it was better when Pete Jones was alive (RIP) and I'm certainly not a BBQ expert, but this was quite simply the best fuckin' pig that I have ever eaten.
Pete had not run Sky Light for some time before his death. I could not really detect any change from when he ran it and when he didn't. I would agree that on its own the slaw is boring, but I think that it goes quite well with the chopped pork. The corn bread is just horrible.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pulling into the parking lot of the Skylight Inn and the smell of smoke invades your car.  You just know it's going to be good.  Opening the front door, you are greeted by Thwack, Thwack, Thwack as a man with two cleavers works over a pile of pork in the pass through window.  Every minute or so he grabs a sheet of cracklin and chops it into the meat, crunchy bombs of pure pork flavor.  The coleslaw is too sweet and the pale, flat cornbread gives you no reason to order it.  Go with the sandwich, a softball sized mound of chopped, smoky pork in a bun.  In fact, order two, as well as a couple of pounds to go.        

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Made my first Skylight Inn visit recently and it lived up to the hype. I even liked the much-maligned cornbread.

Visited a few other places as well. Even when I am critical, I enjoyed all these places:

Sam Jones BBQ--this is the place that one of the Skylight Inn owners opened on the outskirts of Greenville a few years ago. They serve beer but I stuck with the sweet tea. They also serve BBQ meats other than the traditional Eastern Carolina pork. The pork here had decent flavor but was drier than the Skylight Inn version and lacked the crunchy bits. The ribs were quite good, better than the pork IMO. Cornbread was a same recipe as Skylight Inn but seemed less fresh, giving it a really unappealing texture. Baked beans were much too sweet, Mac and cheese was Mac and cheese.

Wilber's, Goldsboro--Pork was sauced a little more aggressively than I would have preferred. I am not a slaw person but I liked the tangy version here.

The Pit, Raleigh--I went with the fried chicken and it was good. Even though this is a "fancy" place in downtown Raleigh a quarter chicken with two sides and a basket of hush puppies and a biscuit cost $8.59, and a half chicken would have been just $9.99.

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...