The Wood Pit: North Carolina Barbeque

Find 100-year-old recipes at this no frills, BYOB with The Wood Pit.

the wood pit
Photo courtesy of The Wood Pit.

Great food doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, in most cases, the best food is charmingly simple. Fresh ingredients combined just right have secured the culinary careers of many a great cook. This is the case with Lawrence Hackney, the North Carolina native who has brought his family’s age-old recipes to the town of Montclair. Overwhelmingly regarded as the best barbeque in town, The Wood Pit has garnered a cult-like following for its savory, finger-licking choices at 108-110 Bloomfield Ave.

Locals in search of an affordable, fun meal for the whole family can look no further than The Wood Pit. Owner Lawrence Hackney has the passion (and the secret formula) for making delicious food without the snobbish frills. His career in the restaurant business started organically, from his natural knack for barbeque.

“It actually wasn’t my idea to open a restaurant. I had bought a smoker for my garage and everyone would come by, [such as the] neighbors and the fire department,” said Hackney. “Everyone would sample the barbeque and tell me to open up a spot. So one day, in 2007 I decided to do just that.”

According to Hackney, his food is in his blood. A self-described fanatic, Hackney learned all the tricks of his trade from his family in Carthage, North Carolina. When every occasion or holiday means barbeque, you learn pretty fast.

“I use all my family’s recipes,” Hackney stated. “The sauce is my great, great, great grandfather’s and dates back to 1894. The dry rub is also his. The rest of the recipes were gathered over time by grandparents, aunts, uncles, mothers and fathers.”

At The Wood Pit, locals can’t get enough of the pork ribs, beef brisket and chopped pork (same as pulled pork) and chicken. They also love the piles of tasty smoked chicken wings that Hackney churns out every day. Everything is prepared from scratch, on-site. “We’re down-south southern atmosphere,” said Hackney. “No frills. No flowers on the plate. Eating with us is like going to a picnic, like barbeque is supposed to be. There are paper towels on the table. We’re a no frills, BYOB.”

the wood pit
Photo courtesy of the Wood Pit.

According to The Wood Pit’s owner, Montclair used to have two real barbeque joints. Now, they’re really the only true Southern style barbeque in the area. “We don’t do pizza or hamburgers and everything is hickory smoked,” said Hackney. “We don’t grill or fry anything (besides our fries.) We’re the real deal.”

Today, Hackney has lived in Montclair with his family for 25 years. He delivers, caters events and will even do on-site cooking. In town, The Wood Pit has also continually worked alongside Montclair BID.

“We just finished the BBQ festival in the Montclair Art Museum,” said Hackney. “It was the first festival we ever did and so I chose to present my roasted suckling pig. It was a great turnout. I’d absolutely do it again.”

Whether you’re in the mood for a sandwich or a whole hog, The Wood Pit has what you’re looking for. Visit their website or call them at 973-954-4679. Their Facebook page is also great for tasty barbeque related updates.

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