Serving perfectly smoked meats with a sauce for every preference
BY ELLIOT ACOSTA | PHOTOS BY ALISHA CLEVELAND
Danny’s Bar-B-Que has been serving the town of Cary smoked meats out of its hickory smoker for more than 30 years. A departure from traditional North Carolina pork barbecue, Danny’s has established itself as a beloved local barbecue joint by offering a variety of meats accompanied by a range of different sauces.
When owner Danny Thompson arrived in the Triangle during autumn 1992, he had a difficult time navigating the Tar Heel State’s narrow definition of barbecue. Rather than indulge in North Carolina’s vinegar-based smoked whole hog, Thompson was looking for something more akin to what he was used to while living in Florida—a pit filled with hickory smoked meat, not limited to just swine.
Thompson had moved himself and his family to Cary when his longtime employer migrated north from Florida. Not long after, the company was sold and a number of jobs, including Thompson’s, were cut.
So, he decided to open the kind of barbecue restaurant he had been desperately trying to find in North Carolina since arriving here.
Thanks to his stellar reputation in the community for a style of barbecue that he cooked at his sons’ sporting events, banquets and fundraisers, this was an easy transition.
Thompson loved the joy of feeding a big crowd, so he pursued his passion and opened Danny’s Bar-B-Que at 682 Cary Towne Boulevard. In 1995, he moved the joint to its current location: 311 Ashville Avenue, Suite G, in Cary.
Three decades later, Danny’s Bar-B-Que is still going strong with a sister location in Durham at 2945 S. Miami Boulevard, Suite 118. Thompson is now semi-retired but still oversees much of the business. Daily operations have been passed on to Thompson’s wife, Barbara, and his sons, Kevin and Adam. Danny’s third son, Brian, manages the RTP/Durham location.
Adam says he wears many hats at the restaurant, but his favorite is pitmaster.
PERFECTING THE MEAT
DANNY’S RIB RUB
- 8 ounces of brown sugar
- 4 ounces of white sugar
- 4 tablespoons of paprika
- 2 tablespoons of salt
- 2 tablespoons of lemon pepper
- Combine all ingredients and rub the blend generously on your ribs before smoking them.