Wilber’s Barbecue, Goldsboro
Wilber Shirley
4172 U.S. Hwy 70 East
Goldsboro, NC 27534-9242
(919) 778-5218

“There are a number of good barbecue places in Eastern North Carolina. There are a number of good barbecue places in Eastern North Carolina that have been in existence for many years. There are a number of good barbecue places in Eastern North Carolina whose founders played a prominent part in establishing Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue. But I would venture to say there is no name associated with Eastern North Carolina barbecue as familiar to as many people as the name Wilber’s. For many people the name Wilber’s and Eastern North Carolina barbecue are synonymous. Some people even refer to Eastern North Carolina barbecue as Wilber’s Barbecue. Wilber Shirley did not invent Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue but he has certainly served it on site to perhaps more people than any other single barbecue operation east of Raleigh.

I found Wilber’s barbecue pork to be absolutely delicious. The coarse chopped pork has a smoky flavor and is not heavily sauced from the kitchen. It was chopped in fairly large pieces but not too coarse. The high quality of the meat along with the slow cooking over pits with live oak and hickory coals imparted a delightful woodsy, smoky flavor and a lasting finish. The chopped barbecue was reasonably moist, but a bit dry for my taste. I readily admit prejudice for pulled pig that is more moist with a teeny bit of fat and tiny bits of skin. But for most of the world, Wilber’s wonderful pork product is exactly the barbecue they’re seeking. Wilber Shirley certainly knows his customers.

The white slaw had a very crisp, fresh taste and was a bit more tangy than most Eastern North Carolina-style coleslaw.

The barbecue chicken was unlike most any other barbecue chicken I have tried. The barbecue chicken tasted a bit more like baked chicken in a slightly creamy sauce with hints of barbecue spices. It was ever so tender, delicious and different.”

Excerpts from The Best Tar Heel Barbecue Manteo to Murphy pages 205-206.