Local barbecue is on SI columnist's list of Best College Town Meals

Sports Illustrated's college football writer Andy Staples again has shown some love for the Greenville area's food scene. Staples, who recently suggested that East Carolina University's beverage of choice should be Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout, has chosen the barbecue at Ayden's Skylight Inn as one of the 25 "Best College Town Meals" in the nation. In his Aug. 9 column on, Staples ranked the local barbecue joint No. 4 among his favorite meals in college towns. He raves about the eastern North Carolina wood smoked barbecue, noting, "a bite that mixes that (corn) bread, that pork and those delectable cracklins is about as close to heaven as we can get here on Earth." He adds, "If you’re headed to East Carolina, you need to make the 20-minute drive from campus to visit this all-time great barbecue joint." A college town, as Staples defines it, has a major university and a metro population lower than 500,000. And the college football writer has visited a lot of them. Some of the other meals on his list: The Big Easy at Ajax Diner in Oxford, Miss., rated at No, 17; Redneck Reuben at Pulaski Heights in Athens, Ga., which earned a No. 12 ranking; Bacon Steaks at LaSalle Kitchen in South Bend, Ind., ranked No. 5; and Ribs at Archibald's in Northport (Tuscaloosa), Ala., at the No. 1 spot. See the entire list here.

(Web photo of Skylight Inn barbecue, corn bread and slaw)