This Triangle restaurant has North Carolina’s best barbecue, according to Yelp reviews

There’s possibly no food on earth as debated and celebrated as barbecue, at least in North Carolina.

But the online masses (at Yelp, at least) have spoken and declared a Cary barbecue joint the best in the state.

After scrutinizing the great, wide world of barbecue according to Yelp reviews, the online publication Insider named the best barbecue in every state.

In North Carolina, that enviable honor fell to Big Mike’s BBQ, a 12-year-old barbecue brand in Cary.

Big Mike’s BBQ launched in 2011 as a food truck by owner Michael Markham. Over the years it grew into two brick and mortars, with locations in Cary and Apex. The Apex location closed in 2022, but an Instagram post at the time suggested plans to resurface in the future.

There are more than 600 reviews on Yelp for Big Mike’s, averaging 4.5 stars, putting it ahead of City Barbecue and Dampf Good BBQ in the Triangle.

Big Mike’s serves a menu hitting the barbecue high notes, going with vinegary Eastern-style chopped pork, sliced brisket, chopped chicken barbecue and ribs. Sides include lots of modern riffs on the classic barbecue dishes, including a smoked mac and cheese, collards, baked beans, a bleu cheese cole slaw and even kale.

One spot where Big Mike’s shines is pairing two of North Carolina’s great loves: barbecue and beer. The Cary location features a wide selection of local craft beer, operating as a bottle shop and a smokehouse.