Holden’s Barbeque – Youngsville, NC

Holden’s Barbeque – Youngsville, NC
582 US 1 Highway
Youngsville, NC 27596

Pull into the gravel parking lot of Holden’s Barbeque on US Hwy 1 just north of Wake Forest, and you might think you’ve gone back in time at least 30 years. The small white cinder block building hasn’t changed much over that time, and I’m willing to bet the food hasn’t either.

If I’m not mistaken, the original restaurant that was opened over 50 years ago now serves as the smoke house beside the main restaurant. The dining room has about 15 tables that fill up with people craving the Eastern NC style bbq defined by smoking a whole hog and seasoning it with a vinegar-based sauce.

The chopped bbq is solid with a hint of smoke and a good texture. However, I really like going with their sliced bbq. It consists of fairly large sections of the whiter meat pulled off the hog and sliced to plate-sized portions. It’s typically leaner than the chopped because it doesn’t have as much fat mixed in, but it’s just as tender. Other restaurants offer sliced, or chunky bbq, but I haven’t found anything quite like Holden’s.

Their Brunswick stew is excellent, and is the standard at which I measure others. You can get it as a meal, or even as a side with your bbq. They also have good fried chicken and daily specials like beef tips and chicken and dumplings. About a dozen sides give you a lot of good options, and the hushpuppies are always hot and tasty.

I’m very partial to Holden’s as it was a bicycle ride away from my mom’s house growing up. I admit that the bbq itself isn’t the best you’ll ever have, but it beats the hell out of a lot of local bbq joints. Beyond the “q,” the other offerings, including breakfast 6 days a week, give you some delicious southern cooking that is simple, well-priced and down right good.

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