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Southern Comfort Circuit

Index: North Carolina

Ingredients: Pork—and love

Recipe: Southern barbecue has infiltrated upscale dining rooms for a simple reason: It tastes really good. But if there isn’t a “pit master” on site, you know your ’cue has been compromised. For a dose of the real thing, William McKinney, coauthor of Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue, recommends making three purist pit stops in North Carolina: Allen & Sons in Chapel Hill (“They’re cooking really well right now”), Wilber’s in Goldsboro (“Wilber Shirley made North Carolina BBQ what it is today”) and Lexington BBQ #1 (“But if you’re looking for it, ask for ‘Honey Monk’s.’ ”) For a high-low mix, juxtapose these beloved dives with a culinary package at the award-winning, 32-room Fearrington House Inn & Restaurant, where Chef Colin Bedford runs a farm-to-table gourmet kitchen. From $820 per couple for a culinary retreat; fearrington.com.

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