AYDEN, N.C. (WNCT) — The smell of barbecue and the sounds of bluegrass filled the air today in Ayden as Skylight Inn celebrated a huge milestone.
“70 years in any business is an achievement,” said current restaurant owner, Sam Jones. “In the restaurant business, it’s unheard of. We’re very proud and honored to have made it this far.”
Since 1947, the wood cooked barbecue has stayed in the family and has stayed the same.
“The only changes we have made are to elevate what we started with,” says Jones. “To buy better hogs, make our food fresher, local, higher quality.”
Giving Ayden a place on the map – “[Whenever] I introduce myself, Steve Tripp, mayor of Ayden …Ayden, where’s Ayden? Then I’ll say Skylight Inn, Pete Jones and I’m done. I’m in the door.”
People love it, from near and from far, such as the Cely family from Maryland –
“He maps our trips around barbecue places to stop for meals and this was the stop this year…but this is really good…really good…close to top of the list.”
“I could eat it every day!” said Gladys Beddard, family of Skylight Inn.
When I asked the pit master how many sandwiches come out of one hog, he said two to 300.
“Usually start off rib side down cooking,” says pit master, Steven Jesmer. “Then when it gets down to about 120 -130 degrees, we usually flip the hogs over and then cook the rest of the way that way.”
And the secret ingredient to this mouthwatering barbecue?
“We still cook whole hog BBQ,” says Jones. “We still cook it over wood like you can tell, every single. Fresh every single day.”