Chapter 1100: Skylight Inn BBQ, Ayden NC

“Good morning, East Carolina University admissions office. How may I help you?”

“Oh, I sure hope you can. My name’s Grant, from the blog Marie, Let’s Eat! and I’ve got a fifteen year-old daughter and I need for her to attend East Carolina.”

“Well, I’d be happy to send you a catalog–”

“A catalog won’t be good enough. She’s already fallen in love with the University of North Alabama. I need you to send boys.”

“Excuse me?”

“Boys in school colors, yes. Cute boys. And money and clothes. This is urgent. I had lunch at Skylight Inn. It’s about eight hours from my house. I can’t justify going back unless I have business in the area. Best I can figure is that my daughter needs to go to ECU.”

“Hmmm, I see. That is a problem.”

“You have no idea. I love how they give you a tray of meat underneath cornpone and a tray of slaw. That meat. Check out that barbecue. It’s astonishing. It made me weep. I’m not kidding.”

“Well, we’re all very proud of our barbecue here in Pitt County. National Geographic once called this the barbecue capital of the world, which is why Pete Jones had a replica of the Capitol Dome installed on the top of the restaurant.”

“Jones seems like he was a fine fellow. I love the throwdown attitude about cooking over wood here. There’s this great sign out front that reads like it’s directly calling out the Parkers of Wilson for cooking with gas. His grandson Sam’s in charge now, I understand?”

“That’s right; Skylight Inn is still in family hands. I’m reading over your blog now, sir, and, goodness, it looks like you did eat well on this trip! So how did Skylight Inn compare to the other places that you tried?”

“Ma’am, let me tell you how impressed I was with this meal. I finished my tray, wiped the tears from my eyes, phoned my wife and told her we needed to sell the house, and went back to the counter and ordered another tray’s worth of meat. Unless my little girl gets into ECU, I just don’t know when I would be able to get back for more. This barbecue is just amazing; it’s got exactly enough fat and salt, just enough to punctuate the flavor, and this sauce is like angel blood or something. And my God, there are pork skin cracklins in the meat! Whose genius idea was this?”

“Well, I certainly am glad that you enjoyed the barbecue in Ayden, sir, and I’d be happy to send a catalog—”

“And boys. Don’t forget the boys. In school colors.”

“Oh, of course not, sir. Thanks for calling.”

“Go Pirates! See you soon!”

Other blog posts about Skylight Inn:

BBQ Jew (Oct. 20 2010)
Eat it, North Carolina (Jan. 21 2011)
The Foraging Foodie (Feb. 22 2012)
The Barbecue Bus (Mar. 12 2012)
Pork n Whisk(e)y (Oct. 17 2012)
Barbecue Rankings: The 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America (July 6 2014)


Are you planning a barbecue road trip? You can see all the barbecue restaurants that we have visited for our blog (more than 310 !) on this map, with links back to the original blog posts!

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8 thoughts on “Chapter 1100: Skylight Inn BBQ, Ayden NC

  1. I’m glad you had such a great experience here. I don’t know why my visit was so disappointing. I pretty much didn’t like anything about it. I didn’t like the texture of the barbecue, and I really didn’t like the cornbread. Maybe I’ll need to give it another chance in the future.

  2. I have yet to make it to Skylight Inn, but Sam Jones did a barbecue/beer dinner here in Charlotte last fall and he brought his own trailer and made his barbecue. It was utterly amazing, and I also loved the pork skin cracklins.

    Though I have to say, as a NC State alum, don’t let your daughter go to ECU! She can do much much better, even if the barbecue nearby is outstanding. 🙂

    1. The kid can probably do better, true, but I’ll be happier about moving her in and out of the dorms if the nearby barbecue is worth the trip! (Which is a point in UNA’s favor… Brooks is about ten minutes from campus!)

      Actually, anywhere but Florida or Georgia Tech’s fine with me, so if you want to send her an NC State catalog, feel free!

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