Sam Jones BBQ, Skylight Inn BBQ and the Jones family who started these legendary eastern North Carolina barbecue restaurants have been inducted into the inaugural class of the N.C. Bar-B-Q Hall of Fame.

More than 300 people attended the Hall of Fame event on Friday, March 1, 2024 in Burlington, N.C. where Sam Jones, his father, Bruce Jones, and uncle Jeff Jones were honored alongside other North Carolina barbecue legends. The other inductees included: Kent Bridges of Alston Bridges Barbecue in Shelby; Steve and Gerri Grady of Grady’s BBQ in Dudley; Charles Hursey of Hursey’s Bar-B-Q in Burlington, Mebane and Graham; Wayne Monk of Lexington Barbecue in Lexington; and Charles Stamey of Stamey’s Barbecue in Greensboro.

“We wanted to honor these people who created North Carolina’s authentic barbecue tradition and set the stage for the state’s national reputation. They’ve been in business 80, 90 years – that’s saying something,” says Chuck Hursey, who helped to organized the N.C. Bar-B-Q Hall of Fame event and whose grandfather S.H. Hursey Jr. started Hursey’s Bar-B-Q in Gibsonville in 1949.

“It’s important to honor the old guard of this tradition,” says Sam Jones of Sam Jones BBQ. “I’ve been blessed to have been able to travel all over this country as somewhat of an ambassador of North Carolina barbecue, which previously was looked down upon in the culinary community. It was not until Southern cuisine was elevated to fine dining that barbecue rose to being recognized as something special. The old guard had been working hard all these years with almost no recognition. I wish the people who came before me, like my grandfather Pete and his uncle, the man who taught him to cook barbecue, could have accepted this award instead of me.”

Friday’s event was held at the Alliance Convention Center in Burlington and was followed by a concert by the Oak Ridge Boys. A portion of ticket sales raised more than $3,000 for Alamance County veterans, according to Hursey.

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