Read the history of the Barbecue Center of Lexington, NC
“The Barbecue Center, Inc. is the oldest barbecue establishment in downtown Lexington that
still cooks on pits. It has been featured in Southern Living magazine, on the TV show “Good
Morning America” and in any number of newspapers. This bastion of Lexington-style
barbecue started years ago across the street from its current site as a dairy center serving
ice cream. They built a small barbecue pit to have something to sell in the winter when the ice
cream business slowed. They moved in the late 1950s but they still sell a lot of ice cream.
The Center separates its light and dark
meat for slicing. Some people want extra
outside brown, some want white, some
want extra fat and some want no fat. The
barbecue is served custom-made to the
customer’s order.
Sonny Conrad, Founder of the Bar-B-Q Center

History of the Bar-B-Q Center

Sonny Conrad
2/24/38 - 6/14/13

Barbecue Center owner Sonny Conrad dies

Originally published by The Dispatch
When someone is described as an
icon, you better be able to back up
that statement with some proof. But
when you are talking about
someone like Sonny Conrad, owner
of The Barbecue Center, then no
explanation is needed.

Conrad, 75, of East Holly Grove
Road, died Friday morning at Wake
Forest Baptist Medical Center in
Winston-Salem, and the city of
Lexington may never be the same.

“He was my best friend, the best
boss and the best Dad a man could
have,” said his youngest son,
Michael Conrad.

The chopped barbecue is moist, tender,
medium chopped, tomatoey and peppery.
It’s generously sauced in the kitchen with
a hint of vinegar and a hint of sugar. It’s
tasty - slightly tangy, not too tart. It has a
good finish with no heavy aftertaste. The
coarse chopped barbecue is very, very
tender with a good, smoky flavor. It holds
hands nicely with the dip. The sliced
barbecue is very tender with a great
smoky flavor and outside brown. This is
the ticket. The chopped barbecue with the
red slaw, which is slightly tart (ketchup,
vinegar, pepper, salt, sugar and crisp
cabbage) works well together. The slaw
does not fight or overwhelm the flavor of
the meat.

The light brown, vinegar-base sauce is
comprised of ketchup, pepper, salt, water
and hot peppers. It’s very tangy alone but
calms down on the meat.”