Not to be confused with the excellent Red Bridges, also in Shelby, Alston Bridges Barbecue has also been open for years. But there is no relation between the two restaurants, and their founders – other than that they both learned their craft at the pit of NC legend Warner Starney. Walking into the counter area, we followed the “Seat Yourself” sign (just past the counter service area below) to the dining room in the back and found a spot.
Based on the conversations occurring with the tables around us, the staff has been here forever, and knows most of the customers by name. Piedmont style barbecue is, definitely, it’s own thing and you either like it, or you don’t. Chopped pork (often minced – like in the sandwich on the left below), served with a water-like vinegary sauce with pepper flakes in it. I’m on the fence about it, in general, although I am a big fan of the sauce.
As we were waiting for our food, we saw a coffee–pot full of sauce sitting on the coffee warmer and asked for a small cup, which we poured over both sandwiches. My dinner mate ordered her sandwich chopped (left) and I ordered mine chopped coarse brown (right). The chopped coarse brown is less finely chopped and has pieces of bark mixed in. I like the Lexington style sauce and found the sandwich to be tasty overall, but not particularly smoky. I’ve read that they have switched to gas smokers, so that may explain the absence of smokiness.
The slaw, in this part of the state, is neither mayonnaise- nor mustard-based. It’s ketchup based. And, consequently, quite red.
You can see the slaw under the pickles on my rib plate. I’ve never seen slaw with pickles on top. But at least they didn’t defile my barbecue with pickle juice…
Another NC “thing” is serving hush puppies with barbecue – my beloved enjoyed dipping the hush puppies in their bbq sauce. And, surprising herself, enjoyed the slaw, added on top of her sandwich. The ribs were very meaty and fairly tender, but again without much smoke.