I really enjoyed your article on barbecue (“This Little Piggy,” Food & Drink, Sept. 8). I grew up in Richmond and thought Bill's Barbecue was good. That was until I went in the Army and ended up at Fort Bragg, N.C., in 1968. A friend of mine was from Wilson, N.C., home of Parker's Barbecue. That's when I first tasted real barbecue. Eastern North Carolina barbecue, with a vinegar sauce (and fatback and hush puppies on the side).
The closest I've ever got to that in Virginia is Cowlings in Wakefield. That would be worth your time to check out. I always get the small plate with a double order of onion rings. And the basket of hush puppies and rolls could be a meal in itself!
In Richmond, Virginia BBQ on Lakeside Avenue has good North Carolina-style barbecue. And if you're in for a road trip north, there is Allman's in Fredericksburg or south, Ralph's in Weldon, N.C. I do plan to check out Brock's Bar-B-Que and Hillbilly Red's BBQ based on your recommendations!