Crafted with Care: Bourbon & BBQ 

    Johnston County, or JoCo to locals, is conveniently located halfway through NC along I-95, a fun and convenient stop for travelers driving up or down the East Coast. Visitors will find a variety of attractions, local festivals, unique craft beverages, boutique shops, and even better BBQ.  Broadslab Distillery bourbon product bottle sitting on a barrel, Benson, NC.With a growing culinary and craft beverage scene and revitalized downtowns, we invite you to explore and enjoy our relaxed small-town way of life.

    In the southern part of the county, just off I-95, is Benson-based Broadslab Distillery; which has been offering ‘shine products, tours, and tastings since 2015. Master Distillery Jeremy Norris is what you’d call the “real deal”, with moonshining in his roots and a recipe that goes back five generations. But he recently debuted his first new product in many years: flue-cured bourbon. 

    Jeremy currently has a patent pending on a one-of-a-kind process for aging their whiskeys. He fills and stores the whiskey in new American white oak barrels that are then moved to a neighboring tobacco farm during the tobacco harvest and curing season. The whiskey barrels are rested in the tobacco barn with the tobacco during the leaf drying stage of the curing process.  The intense heat and presence of tobacco that the barrels of whiskey encounter during the curing process creates a distinct aging process that makes the whiskeys truly unique, like no other.

    Once you've visited Broadslab, explore the rest of the local craft beverage makers along JoCo's Beer, Wine, & Shine Trail

    Redneck BBQ lab shoulder and sauce available in their restaurant near Benson, NC.
    Visitors to JoCo will find restaurants serving what we call Eastern-style barbecue; choose from several well-known and award-winning BBQ restaurants serving up chopped pork with a vinegar-based sauce like White Swan and Stephenson’s Bar-B-Q. Also, discover some unique and expansive takes on BBQ from Smithfield-based Low and Slow Smokehouse and SoDoSoPa to Benson-based Redneck BBQ Lab where you can try award-winning competition ‘que prepared by Food Network Chopped competitor Jerry Stephenson. 

    Travel the Whole Trail to Find a Favorite

    We all have our favorite BBQ spots around Johnston County -- here's a BBQ Trail Map so you can explore and find your favorites too!  Remember the sauce is on the table to add a little or a lot...what you will find is mostly vinegar-based with little red pepper flakes.  Enjoy the trail, hot hush puppies, and some sweet tea!

    Take a Little Local Flavor Home with You

    Looking for a delicious way to remember your tasty trip when you get back home? Take a little of JoCo with you when you leave. From a bottle of Jeremy’s new bourbon to Jerry’s line of Redneck BBQ Lab rubs and sauces. Not to mention the beer, wine, honey, grits, and other products you can find for sale from local makers and on local farms as you travel around Johnston County.

    Atkinson Product Bags lined up in front of river and mill wheel in Selma, NC.

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