Bill Ellis’ Barbecue Review


We didn’t stay in North Carolina for very long prior to our trip to Florida, we only stayed a few days to visit friends over the 4th of July week-end but we wanted to try a few local spots. Bill Ellis’  Barbecue is world famous and really quite the site to see, out back are a large number of tractor trailer units and other large trucks that are used to bring Bill’s BBQ love to the rest of the Continent.P1000129

We pulled up into the large parking lot and saw the longest drive through line I’d ever laid my eyes on, and it was full of cars and trucks. This place makes Peter’s in Calgary look like a hot dog stand. The drive through service is in a totally separate building.P1000130

When you enter you pay a flat fee and are herded right to the food even before sitting down in the cafeteria style dining area. P1000136

The food is very “Southern” with pulled pork, ribs, cornbread and numerous other dishes the names of which I’ve forgotten.

I know that this will likely elicit death threats from a few good ‘ol boys but neither of us were really wowed by the food here, it was different dishes but really seemed like just another buffet to us. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love Southern BBQ and all that goes with it but there was really nothing stand out about Bill’s. Now, that having been said I would not say you should avoid going here but just know that aside from the novelty for a Yankee or a Canuck it’s just basic southern cooking, but maybe that’s the idea.

Bill's Barbecue & Chicken on Urbanspoon

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4 responses to “Bill Ellis’ Barbecue Review

  1. Well it is interesting that you state this about Bills BBQ. I have traveled the world and all across the states trying new foods and one stop at Bills BBQ in Wilson had me hooked. The pork was lean and moist, (not dried out) very little grisel and tons of flavor. In fact, the first bite I ever had was a flavor explosion and a taste bud sensation. You could taste the meat with hints of that southern bbq sauce and spice! The fried chicken was fresh and hot, lots of flavor and quite delicious.

    When I was in Wilson I even made time to stop at that “other” BBQ joint. Doesnt even compare. Greasy and tons of grisel in the bbq.

    I know each to there own opinion but I do not think that Bills BBQ would have gotten as big as he has if it was just a local spot with not much to offer. No “good ole boy” here just a food lover that truely appreciates a fine and delightful meal! A must stop!

    • Hey Charley, thanks for visiting. I’m pleased to hear from another world traveler and foodie. Like yourself we’ve been lucky to have been throughout the world to Asia, Europe, Scandinavia and the Americas and have loved being able to try many different foods from the different regions we’ve visited. One thing that I’ve found is that no matter how good a reputation a certain establishment has they can have some very off days. While I did state that Bill’s did not wow us on the day we visited that’s not to say that they would not have done so on a different day. I’ve been across the South and sampled a very large number of the different varieties of Barbecue and Southern cooking in general and am a lover of this type of food. The trouble is that unlike yourself I did not find the offerings at Bills to be up to the reputation they have, the food had been quite picked over without being refreshed and some of it was dry and a bit stale from sitting too long. I’ll be back in March and may try them again but as with all my reviews I can only state what my experience was on the day I visited and if multiple visits change my mind I’ll amend my review accordingly.

      I know the “other” place in Wilson you are referring to and have not been there as they were closed when we wanted to visit, as such I don’t know how good the offerings are. I’ve been to a number of places that have Bbq and some are better than others just like any style of food.

      I can’t argue that Bill’s has to be as popular as it is due to people liking it but the same can be said for McDonald’s and I’m not too fond of they’re food.

      I see you’re online in Black Creek, North Carolina and as such you undoubtedly have sampled the areas food offerings more than I have. Again I don’t post anything more than my own impressions at the time I dined at a given location and am not out to damage the reputation of anyone’s favorite place.

  2. I’ve lived in Wilson all my life, and Bill’s has always been a staple in my family. When it came time to decide what was for supper on weekends, the choice was usually pretty easy. It was either gonna be “Pizza Night” or “Bill’s Night.”

    The food’s really that good. But that being said, there are times when it’s not what I’d call awesome. Bill’s has been a fixture in Wilson for decades, and aside from one other main BBQ restaurant here in town, it doesn’t have a great deal of competition to compel it to be consistently amazing.

    The other restaurant, “Parker’s” is located on HWY 301, not very far at all from Bill’s. The town’s loyalties are pretty-much evenly divided between the two joints. Most people prefer one or the other and seldom deviate from their favorite.

    I’d recommend you try Parker’s as well, it’s the same style of cooking, and the menus are very similar. You may find you like it better than Bill’s.

    You probably owe it to yourself as a culinary globetrotter to sample both places and see which you prefer.

    • Thanks for the comment Brandon. I do feel that it’s possible we visited Bill’s at a bad time since it was not very busy and as stated the food was not great. Like many buffet style places, when the food sits due to not enough turnover it is not very good after a period of time.

      We’d actually wanted to visit Parker’s but they were not open the day we went over the week-end of July 4th for some reason and we therefore headed to Bill’s. I’ll be in Wilson again in June and may have a chance to both revisit Bill’s and try Parker’s.

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