Ribs and Jazz
“My Daddy would dig a hole about four feet deep, chuck in some apple and hickory logs and a bag of charcoal, pull his special grate over the top and roast three or four slabs of ribs, beef brisket or a pork shoulder. The meat would slow-smoke and tease us for half a day before, in my father’s eyes, it had reached the perfect level of smokiness.”
Ed Wiley III tells that story on the back of the Prime Smokehouse menu about his Daddy, Ed Wiley Jr, the “most soulful saxophonist you’ve ever heard.”
Originally from Philadelphia, in 2013 Ed and his Ethiopian wife, Yalem, moved their restaurant to Rocky Mount, NC and have embraced the slow-moving town as their home.
With that kind of story behind the Prime Smokehouse, we had to try the food. My girlfriend, Anne, and I made the trek from Raleigh, NC in a little over an hour. Rocky Mount is not a big town, maybe 58,000 people. Most of Ed’s customers have heard of him through word of mouth, Yelp, and Trip Advisor. The reviews are good on Trip Advisor; they’ve received 4.5 stars from over 300 reviews and voted the number one restaurant in Rocky Mount, NC.
Anne had the specialty, a gumbo. I had smoked chicken wings. I’ve had many chicken wings, but never smoked wings, and there is no comparison. That long slow southern cooking takes the greasiness out of the meat and takes the smokey taste all the way to the bone.
Both Anne and I agreed that the brisket was succulent. I am always up for a side of collards. At lunch, I had some spicy collards, so it was good to eat some real basic Southern collards that harken back to the days when I lived in the South.
We shouldn’t have but we did, we had the National award-winning 7-cheese baked macaroni & cheese. Sinful is the best way to describe this meld of spices and cheeses, baked with a light herb-crusted crumb top.
Beer on tap, wine from different countries, The Prime Smokehouse is only 8 minutes off of Highway 95. It’s open for lunch and dinner. It’s a meal worth your time and your money.