Let The Gaston County ‘Cue Trail Be Your Guide To Some Great Eating

Things to do in Gaston County, North Carolina.

Gaston County, NC

Whether you’re an aficionado or just want to try something new, look to the Gaston County ‘Cue Trail. We have unique and historic traditions in barbecue culture, and a wide variety of experiences for you to try. Let the Gaston County Cue Trail be your guide.

Start this trail off right by visiting The Schiele Museum for Carolina ‘Cue, sponsored by First Horizon Bank. This new exhibit features the history of barbecue, the science behind rubs and sauces, memorabilia from local restaurants, and is a great way to get you hankering for a taste from this trail.

The Gaston County ‘Cue Trail currently includes eight locations, most of which are easily accessible along I-85, with the first and last being a bit of a drive, but totally worth it. Driving east to west across the county, here is where you will find the best BBQ in Gaston County.

EXIT 27 
Visitors will find RayNathan’s located an easy, ten-minute country drive, south from exit 27. From traditional fixin’s to menu items you won’t find elsewhere in the county, RayNathan’s serves up barbecue and brisket with style.

EXIT 22 
Just a hop, skip, and a jump from I-85 at exit 22, Kyle Fletcher’s and Hillbilly’s are the next two stops on the trail. For a truly immersive experience, dine in at Kyle Fletcher’s and you’ll be rubbing elbows with regulars who have enjoyed this place for 27 years. On your way out, don’t forget to grab a “Get Porked at Kyle’s!” t-shirt. Also at this exit, heading towards Lowell, is Hillbilly’s. Open daily, they offer drive-thru and dine-in options, with a full menu, specials, and a popular salad bar.

EXIT 21 
The only chain restaurant on the list, Smoke Pit is located at Cox Rd, exit 21. We wouldn’t be surprised to see this place expand as their tasty menu items could rival our local favorites.

EXIT 17 
The next three stops are located close to downtown Gastonia and are all easily accessible from exit 17. Gather your friends and family and head to either Ole Carolina BBQ or Ray’s Country Smokehouse for great Q’ in a relaxed atmosphere. Or, find R.O.’s, another treasure with slaw so popular, you can find it in local grocery stores.  For a truly authentic experience, you’ll want to check out their brick-and-mortar location for the famous barbecue sandwich with slaw. 

The last stop on our trail is off the beaten path but is worth the drive if you are looking for an old-fashioned experience. Pull into a parking space adjacent to the building and a carhop takes your order, cash only – just like business has been done since 1957 when Black’s Barbecue first opened. The specialty is their barbecue sandwich – pulled pork with Black’s famous barbecue slaw. You can also purchase pork by the pound along with barbecue slaw and buns for DIY family style! 

If your motto is do as the locals do, and you want the authentic Gaston County barbecue experience, then look no further than the Gaston Co. Cue Trail. How many can you check off this list?


Make it a weekend
Gaston County, makes for an amazing weekend getaway. With a variety of outdoor amenities including a state park, botanical garden, miles of rivers to paddle, hiking & biking trails, as well as the new casino, we offer an unbeatable weekend experience for just about anyone. Get your adrenaline pumping in Gaston County. Contact us for your FREE visitors guide and start planning your stay today! gastonvisitorsguide.nctdm.com

–Melissa McCauley


Gaston County Tourism Development 620 N. Main Street, Belmont, NC – GoGastonNC.org | TravelGuide@gogastonnc.org

Gaston County offers visitors a variety of attractions to enhance your trip including museums, botanical gardens, extreme sports, hiking, dining and entertainment parks, art and history and more. www.GoGastonNC.org

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