REVIEW: Stamey’s – Greensboro
If you are in Greensboro and looking for a good barbecue joint to eat at, just start following the signs around the city for the Greensboro Coliseum and you will end up at Stamey’s Old Fashioned Barbecue right across the street from the coliseum. Stamey’s has been serving up their Lexington-style barbecue f0r over seventy years to North Carolina residents with a whole of lot of tradition and a whole lot of wood.
The original Stamey’s location, the one I went to, is located across the street from the Greensboro Coliseum. I went a few days before the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament started so it wasn’t too busy. They are normally slammed during the tournament or whenever other big events come to the coliseum so make sure that you get there early so you don’t have to wait in line forever. You can get in and out of Stamey’s pretty fast so it is a great lunch spot to hit up if you are trying to get back to work.
I ordered the combination plate with a cup of Brunswick stew. Even though Brunswick stew didn’t originate from North Carolina, it is one of my favorite things to order along side a plate of barbecue at North Carolina barbecue joints. Stamey’s has one of the better Brunswick stews in the state that I have had. It has a nice spice to it plus a bunch of fresh veggies and thin ribbons of chicken throughout.
The combination plate comes with a decent amount of barbecue and a piece of barbecued chicken with hush puppies and barbecue slaw. Stamey’s serves Lexington-style barbecue, a vinegar-based “red” sauce that is seasoned with ketchup and pepper. I think Stamey’s barbecue does better on a sandwich than by itself on the plate and adding sauce helps a little bit which gives it a bit of spice if you are looking for a kick.
I wasn’t a fan of the barbecued chicken. The sauce was good but it made the chicken a little difficult to eat. I prefer the charred barbecue chicken style that relies more on the cooking method than a sauce. The chicken was still juicy and I ate every bit of it but I will ask for sauce on the side next time (if they will let me) when I order the chicken.
Stamey’s barbecue slaw and hush puppies are both solid and plentiful. The slaw (crunchy, sweet & spicy) was the highlight of my combination plate. Stamey’s kitchen staff should have taken Judge Reinhold’s quote (“I shall serve no fries before their time.”) from Fast Times at Ridgemont High and used it on for the hush puppies because the little guys had been kicking it under the heat lamp for a little too long. This was the first time in a long time that their hush puppies hadn’t been on point when I have eaten there.
Stamey’s is one of only a few barbecue joints left in the state that still cooks their barbecue over a pit of hardwood coals. You can see the wood displayed outside of the barbecue pit which is a small building behind the restaurant. If you can’t see it, just follow your nose because you can smell the barbecue pit from miles away. Cooking on hardwood coals is an art and the art form is slowly starting to die out due to the price of wood and the overall difficulty of maintaining a hardwood coal pit versus a hybrid (charcoal, gas, wood) which is often easier and cheaper giving similar results.
Stamey’s is the best barbecue in Greensboro but I don’t think it is the best barbecue in the area even though I still eat their regularly. The original location is only a few miles from where I currently live so if I get the hankering for some ‘cue, I go with Stamey’s but if I plan to eat barbecue in advance, I make the barbecue pilgrimage over to Lexington or down east. I know I will probably catch hell for this last paragraph but I would feel remiss if I didn’t write what I think. Everyone’s barbecue palate is different so give Stamey’s a chance and let us know what you think.
They have plenty of seats in the restaurant and serve barbecue pretty much all day. I suggest, as I would any barbecue joint, to go early to get the best barbecue because it is always best when it is straight from the pit. They also have a drive-thru window if you don’t feel like getting out of the car but still feel like getting your ‘cue on.