People and Places: Morris Barbecue

People and Places

Every weekend, along the curvy back road in Greene County, people line up for some of the best Eastern North Carolina barbecue around.

Welcome to Morris Barbecue.

“And if you haven’t been you’re really missing out on what we believe is a treat,” said William Morris, the owner of Morris Barbecue.

But that treat only comes once a week. 

Morris barbecue is only open on Saturdays. 

That fact brings in plenty of regulars week in and week out.

“Some of those regulars are every Saturday,” said Morris.

Dwight Lancaster is one of them. 

He actually made his first trip to Morris back in the 1950’s.

Now he brings his granddaughter Emily every week.

“For a long time she didn’t know what Saturday was out of the day,” said Dwight Lancaster, a Morris Barbecue costumer. “It was barbecue day. It was Thursday, Friday, barbecue day.”

“Some regulars are like every fourth Saturday,” said Morris. “We have people that come from Raleigh.”

Neal Gilbert is a return customer, all the way from Suffolk, Virginia.

“If you don’t come down you won’t know what you’re missing,” said Neal Gilbert, another Morris Barbecue costumer. “You really won’t. The food is just excellent.”

Morris opened Morris barbecue back in 1956. 

Now Morris’s grandson William carries on the legacy.

“Same recipes, same everything,” said Morris. “We’ve changed absolutely nothing. And that’s why our product is still consistent. Continuing the tradition that my grandfolks started.”

While the customers enjoy the food on Saturdays, the process actually starts for the family on Friday nights.

“Get the pigs out of the cooler,” said Ryan Godley, part of Morris Barbecue’s staff. “We’ll clean the pigs. We’ll put them on. Set the grill. Usually take about 30-45 minutes.”

William’s son-in-law Ryan is part of the about ten or so folks that make this place go. 

“Come back in for a little bit,” said Godley. “Come back out about 30 minutes later, check the temperature. And then we’ll go to bed for about 3 and a half hours.”

And once the alarm goes off on Saturday, Ryan, his wife Ashley and the rest of family get right to work.

 “Sometimes it is difficult a little bit,” said Morris. “But what else can you ask for? And the ones that are not exactly related to family, is still a family.”

And that family extends to every person who walks in the door.

“I mean they really like to talk to their customers,” said Gilbert. “They’re not trying to shove you out the door just the second you walk in. They’re willing to sit down at talk to you.”

“We try to treat the customer like we would want to be treated when we go somewhere,” said Morris.

“To me it’s just so much more than barbecue,” said Godley. “I mean you create friends here, somewhere where I never would have known any of these people before. So it’s really pretty awesome.”

And it’s that sense of community that keeps people coming back for more.

Of course, serving up great food helps, too.

“It’s the best barbecue they can get,” said Lancaster. “And I’ve eaten dozens and hundreds of places across the state. Hundreds and hundreds. I travel for my job so I sometimes eat barbecue two or three times a week. But I always come back here for some Saturday barbecue.”

But you better get here early on Saturday. 

Because when they run out, you’ll have to wait another week for these treats.
 

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