A symphony of sides accompanies Carter Brothers barbeque

by Eric Ginsburg

$21 pays for a meal of barbecue and sides for two at Carter Brothers. (photo by Alexandria Stewart)

I was the only one of my high school friends to move to the South for college, and this place is exactly what some of them were afraid of.

One of the first things I notice after walking into the Carter Brothers barbeque restaurant in High Point is that all of the employees are wearing brightly colored pastel shirts that read, “Jesus is Lord” in small font. It’s not until later that I spot the huge painting on the wall of Jesus looking down over planet Earth and crying and realize we’re listening to Christian radio.

Some aspects of the restaurant would horrify my high school friends, too. Vegan environmentalists, be warned — all of the food is served on Styrofoam, the utensils are plastic and the company logo depicts an overweight pig wearing clothes and standing up like a person, sagging waistline and all.

Styrofoam aside, however, this is exactly what I am looking for. Most of the sides are $1.50, and since it’s our first time here and we want to get a feel for the place, we end up with eight. Hushpuppies, baked beans, chunky applesauce, fried okra, French fries, onion rings, macaroni and cheese and a side salad.

The table is stocked with ketchup, Texas Pete, barbeque sauce and Bulliard’s cayenne pepper sauce. The menu, which is loaded with advertisements for everything including an Amish trading post, lists an array of deals: a vegetable of the day, Wednesday family nights, discounted plates for seniors and a family four pack including a pound of pork barbecue for $20.

Our waitress points out we can save some money if we order some of the sides as the veggie plate. We’re appreciative, and she comes back a little while later with each of the small sides in separate bowls, most with their own spoon. We also try one of the house specials, the Texas Q sandwich with pork, BBQ slaw and rib sauce ($3.59), as well as the coarse chopped BBQ pork tray ($5.49).

Maybe because we took so long to order or because Allie was taking so many photos for the article, the waitress asks, “Are y’all from around here?” My mouth is full of food but before I can reply, Allie answers, yes. After all, she grew up down the road. As we share a sweet tea I comment on how it’s sweeter than I’m used to, and she remarks that it tastes just how Southern ice tea should.

In the contest of sides, the chunky applesauce and hushpuppies come out on top. Having been introduced to hushpuppies at Cookout and later Beef Burger, these are the best ones I’ve come across. We agree the fried okra tastes better than what we ate — home-cooked — over the weekend. The mac and cheese is still worthwhile but not strong in flavor, while the onion rings and French fries were as standard and enjoyable as I hoped.

The best part about the applesauce was how cool it was, providing a perfect compliment to the spicy barbeque sauce I applied liberally to my BBQ sandwich. The slaw came right on top of the meat, and while I normally stay away from slaw, the sandwich made for a satisfying meal.

Allie’s coarse chopped BBQ looked so tempting that even after realizing I had bitten off more than I could chew, I still decided to taste it. I found myself going back for seconds.

Carter Brothers offers catering service, and if you drive over there you can choose between dining in, take out and even a drive thru. They serve breakfast too, opening at 6 a.m. Not surprisingly, they are closed on Sunday “to give thanks.”

After ordering all of that food and doing our best to consume it all, we ended up needing a to-go box. Even after stuffing ourselves and ordering such a variety of things off the menu, we wanted to try the cake (which I never managed to sample but was told it was worth it). All told, our food cost $21. Does it get better than that?

As we left I realized a large poster on the door for Grace Church and as we pulled out of the parking lot, we noticed a sign reading, “God bless you.” Yes, many of my high school friends would shudder at our dinner experience, but all we can think about is our full stomachs and box of leftovers.

wanna go?

Carter Brothers BBQ 2305 North Main St., High Point, 336.464.7330 3802 Samet Drive, High Point, 336.841.2241