Skylight Inn: A Classic Barbecue Joint in Ayden, NC

Skylight Inn: A Classic Barbecue Joint in Ayden, NC

If you're a barbecue lover and find yourself in Ayden, North Carolina, you can't miss the Skylight Inn. Located in the heart of the town, the Skylight Inn has been serving up classic, wood-smoked barbecue for over 70 years. In this blog post, we'll explore the history of the Skylight Inn, its unique style of barbecue, and what makes it a must-visit destination for barbecue enthusiast.

History of the Skylight Inn

The Skylight Inn was founded in 1947 by Pete Jones, who learned how to barbecue from his father, a pitmaster in the area. Jones built the original Skylight Inn with his own hands, using bricks from a local factory and a skylight salvaged from a nearby train depot. He started serving barbecue on weekends and quickly gained a reputation for his delicious, smoky pork. Over the years, the Skylight Inn has become an institution in Ayden and beyond.

The Skylight Inn's Barbecue Style

The Skylight Inn's barbecue style is unique, even within the world of North Carolina barbecue. Rather than chopping the pork into small pieces or using a vinegar-based sauce, the Skylight Inn serves its pork in large, tender chunks with a spicy, slightly sweet seasoning blend. The pork is slow-cooked over oak and hickory coals, giving it a rich, smoky flavor that pairs perfectly with the seasoning.

One of the most distinctive features of the Skylight Inn's barbecue is the crispy bits of skin, or "outside brown," that are mixed in with the meat. These bits of crunchy, smoky goodness are a prized delicacy among Skylight Inn regulars and add a unique texture to the pork.

What Makes the Skylight Inn Special

The Skylight Inn's longevity and popularity are a testament to the quality of its barbecue. The restaurant has been featured in countless media outlets, including the New York Times, Southern Living, and Food Network's "Man vs. Food." But what really sets the Skylight Inn apart is its commitment to tradition.

The Skylight Inn has been cooking barbecue the same way for over 70 years, using the same family recipe and techniques passed down from generation to generation. The restaurant still uses wood coals and the original brick pit that Pete Jones built by hand. The staff even hand-chops the pork, just as Jones did all those years ago.

When you visit the Skylight Inn, you're not just getting a delicious meal—you're getting a taste of history and tradition. The restaurant's rustic, no-frills atmosphere and friendly staff add to the experience, making it feel like you're stepping back in time.


If you're a barbecue fan, the Skylight Inn in Ayden, North Carolina, is a must-visit destination. With its unique style of barbecue, commitment to tradition, and rich history, the Skylight Inn is a true gem in the world of Southern cuisine. Whether you're a local or just passing through, be sure to stop by and experience the magic of the Skylight Inn for yourself.

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