Monday, November 28, 2011

Parker's Barbecue, Wilson, N.C.

Dried spices, salt and vinegar are added to the chopped pork at Parker's Barbecue in Wilson, N.C. (Photo by Denny Culbert/ The Barbecue Bus)


If barbecue is big business in North Carolina, Parker’s Barbecue is a veritable warehouse of whole hogism. Located in the eastern city of Wilson, Parker’s serves over 150 smoked pigs and 8,000 fried chickens to 20,000 customers each week. Catering to crowds is part of the Parker’s mythos; on one brilliant afternoon in 1954, founders Ralph Parker, Graham Parker, and Henry Parker Brewer fed 17,000 chopped barbecue plates in one day. Despite the crowds here, little details maintain that small-joint feel. Donald Williams and Kevin Lamm (two of the three owners that we met) greet each patron at the entrance. On this Sunday, families came from different church services, greeted one another in the parking lot, and queued up in the ever-increasing line. Inside Parker’s, a group of young men in 1950s-style, white paper caps stood in formation ready to usher the next group to their table. Almost no one we saw needed a menu. The Parkers would be proud to see their dining room so full, in this, its sixty-fifth year in business. Ralph Parker, the last surviving of the three “brothers,” still regularly holds court, sipping a cup of coffee. He recently conceded that Parker’s “barbecue is better than it has ever been.”

- Rien Fertel/ The Barbecue Bus


Young male servers stand ready to meet the needs of their customers at Parker's Barbecue in Wilson, N.C. (Photo by Denny Culbert/ The Barbecue Bus)
Unmarked glass bottles hold the spicy vinegar based sauce at Parker's Barbecue in Wilson, N.C. (Photo by Denny Culbert/ The Barbecue Bus)

Two of three Parker's Barbecue owners Kevin Lamm, left, and Donald Williams. (Photo by Denny Culbert/ The Barbecue Bus)

Whole hogs cook to crispy perfection on the pit at Parker's Barbecue in Wilson, N.C. (Photo by Denny Culbert/ The Barbecue Bus)

The line of friers in the kitchen at Parker's Barbecue are constantly bubbling full of chicken, hushpuppies, corn sticks or fries. (Photo by Denny Culbert/ The Barbecue Bus)

Charlie, a long time barbecue pit worker, disassembles a hog for chopping at Parker's Barbecue in Wilson, N.C. (Photo by Denny Culbert/ The Barbecue Bus)

The "Family Style" meal at Parker's Barbecue: (top to bottom) coleslaw, fried chicken, boiled potatoes, chopped pork, Brunswick stew, hushpuppies and corn sticks. 

Families wait in line for a seat inside Parker's Barbecue, Sunday afternoon in Wilson, N.C. (Photo by Denny Culbert/ The Barbecue Bus)



Parker's Barbecue
2514 US Highway 301 S, Wilson, NC
(252) 237-0972
Open 7 Days a Week

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