by David Cecelski
On my way to my niece’s wedding last week, I had to zig-zag through the back roads of Onslow County to avoid all the washed-out bridges and flooded roads left by tropical storm Nicole. More than once, I had to turn around and try another way to get to the wedding. Half the time, I made a little progress. Half the time, I just got lost.
Being lost isn’t always bad, though. The one good thing about all that flooding was that my long detour took me by Oakwood BBQ in Catherine Lake. Started just a few years ago by Morris and Judy Thompson, Oakwood is located in their backyard on a sandy, unpaved little road next to the lake, probably 10 or 12 miles from the nearest town.
You can tell it’s a labor of love. These are people that care about making good barbecue. Out of devotion to tradition or just plain stubbornness, they do things the old-fashioned way, too. They only cook whole hogs. They burn hardwood, not gas. They take their time—14 hours per hog, more or less. And they baste their hogs with their own rendition of the region’s traditional hot pepper and vinegar sauce.
Oakwood is only open 3 days a week—Thursdays to Saturdays. The Thompsons begin serving at 11 AM and close when the ‘cue is gone. It’s take-out only and they prepare nothing but barbecue, hushpuppies, and slaw. I left with a good sandwich and first-rate directions around the floodwaters, and they even tucked a few ribs in my bag, too.
And the wedding was beautiful.
Oakwood BBQ is located at 113 Westside Lane inCatherine Lake. You can learn more about them or even get info to order their barbecue by mail at www.oakwoodbbqnc.com.