You're already familiar with last weekend's adventure that led me to the doorstep of Kinston's Mother Earth Brewery. Before leaving town, I felt obligated to make the most of the trip by visiting one of the local barbecue joints. After weighing a few options, we settled on King's, mostly because it was nearby and I had driven past it twice, so I knew where to find it.
Upon exiting the car, the first thing I noticed was the aroma. It smelled fantastic... like smoke and fried chicken. I should have taken a photo, but the pylon sign from the neighboring Piggly Wiggly provides a subtle branding boost.
Inside, it was like taking a step back in time. The decor appears to be straight out of the 1960's South. I'm not sure how long that particular location has been around, but at the very least, it hasn't been remodeled in my lifetime. The two large dining rooms were each a wealth of checkerboard tablecovers, and old wooden chairs, surrounded by a perimeter of wooden booths and worn tongue-and-groove paneling.
I ordered the BBQ plate. Alison had the rib & chicken combo, which gave me a chance to try the ribs.
The pork was finely chopped, lightly peppered and moist. On the other hand, it wasn't very smoky. The eastern NC sauce on the table offered up an additional pepper kick, but also added a lot more vinegar to the taste.
The ribs were disappointing. They were saucy and the meat was moist and tender, but lacked the spicy, smoky flavor I like. The portion we got was more fat than meat.
On the other hand, Alison's fried chicken was much better than the other entrees. Crispy skin, nice crunchy breading, moist meat.We both agreed, the hush puppies were good, and I liked the potato salad. It was a bit creamier than I prefer, but it had a great dill flavor that I really enjoyed.
Overall, I'd say, if you find yourself in Kinston, stop at King's, but order the chicken.
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