photo by Danielle Cushing

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is a chain restaurant with locations all across the U.S., so I didn’t go in expecting to be wowed by its mass produced food. But I was pleasantly surprised.

There were eight meats on the menu, but only the southern pulled pork is “pulled” in the traditional southern way. I also ordered the signature chopped beef brisket because it sounded close enough to “pulled” – and it was.

The pork barbecue was the best I’ve tasted so far. Usually I find pork too dry, but this was really juicy and tender. There was also a hint of a smoky flavor.

The beef brisket was so tender that the slices just fell apart at the touch of a fork. It also had an interesting woody flavor that I enjoyed.

The meat didn’t need it, but there was a wide array of sauces to go on the side. I tried Dickey’s original sauce and the southern barbecue sauce (of course). The original sauce was much different than any bottled sauce I’ve ever tried. It was really sweet and then got mildly spicy and made my tongue tingle. I don’t think it was vinegar based, but it tasted like apple cider vinegar to me.

I was really excited for the vinegar-based southern sauce, because I love southern coleslaw. But I didn’t like the sauce at all. It had red pepper flakes in it and just tasted like spicy white vinegar. It could be good drizzled on a sandwich, with the bread to offset the flavor a little bit, but I didn’t like my meat dipped in it.

Hushpuppies come with every meal at Dickey’s, and they’re good – freshly made and too big to eat in one bite. However, I was a little disappointed with them (though not as disappointed as I was that Jim’s Famous BBQ didn’t have them at all) because they lacked the right texture. Superb hushpuppies have a crunchy outside and a light crust, but these were kind of uniform and the crust was a little too oily for me.

There were 12 other side items, of which I chose the green beans and bacon and the dill potato salad. I always order a vegetable so I have something green and healthy on my plate, and I hate it when I end up with something green and greasy or green and buttery. The green beans here were excellent! The bacon gave them a great flavor.

The potato salad was delicious too. I love anything dill-flavored because it’s such a fresh flavor. This dish reminded me of my mom’s potato salad, which she makes with dill pickle relish.

Overall, I’m going to mark Dickey’s one step behind Q Shack, but one step ahead of Jim’s Famous BBQ. The meat was delicious, they at least had hushpuppies, and they have a wide variety of sides, so anyone can find something they will enjoy.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit

5218 New Hope Commons Drive (near Wal-Mart)

Durham, NC 27707

(919) 419-1101

-Danielle Cushing