Sunday, March 17, 2013
Cabin Creek BBQ, Nicholson, GA. "Nice Butts....Great Racks". You have to love a BBQ joint that boasts such a little slogan on the cover of their menu. The truth is, you will love Cabin Creek. Cabin Creek had been recommended to Debbie and I some months back, but frankly, though being on a major 4 lane in North GA, this was a road and community that we had no reason to visit except for the fact that it was supposed to have some good bbq. On this beautiful late winter day, Debbie and I decided to take off toward Nicholson and find out if Cabin Creek would live up to its recommendation. I had figured that doing a little shopping in Jefferson and Commerce areas would warrant me getting a bbq slip from Debbie. After enjoying the charming little town of Jefferson and some of its really neat "small town" shopping venues, we headed over toward Nicholson. We promptly found Cabin Creek. I sort of new it would be a hit when in the parking lot were a dozen vehicles from autos, pickup trucks, and the local septic tank pumping company's service vehicle. Located just about 15 minutes north of Athens toward Commerce, Cabin Creek is easily found and worth going a few miles out of the way to try it out.
We found Cabin Creek to be exceptionally clean. The two waitresses were working hard, but we were waited on pretty quickly. The menu was simple of enough. After I got past enjoying the cover found above, my choices were quickly made. I picked the bbq sandwich, slaw, and Brunswick stew while Debbie did almost the same except substituting baked beans for the stew. There were only 3 sauce options: Hot, Mild, and Vinegar. I settled in on both the Hot and Mild.
Our meals came out pretty quickly and we could not wait to taste our food. Everything pretty well passed the "appearance" test. The bbq had a really nice appearance while the stew and beans were just average in appearance. Make no mistake though, both the beans and stew were exceptional in taste. They were both surprisingly outstanding. It was obvious that the beans had been juiced up with brown sugar, and they were clearly some of the best baked beans I've had. I'd clearly give the stew a 4.5 out of 5. What it lacked in appearance, it made up for in taste. The stew was so wonderful I chatted with our waitress about it to get some details of the recipe. I think the key to their Brunswick stew was that first, it contained ground beef, pork and chicken as wel as the fact that the base was "stock" from all three. As indicated, the appearance was just average, but this is some seriously good stew.
Debbie and I differed a little on the bbq. She'd have liked to have seen a little less fat and a little more charring. To me, it was about perfect. The bbq had a great smoky taste. It was moist and pulled in nice sections that fit well on the bun. There was no "chopping to smitherines" but just nice sections of perfectly pulled pork. While it wasn't necessary to go heavy on the sauce, I did try both the Hot and Mild sauce varieties. My rating of the bbq will sit at 4.5 out of 5. Portion size could have been a little better, but other than that, this place is a hit. Though we passed on desserts, Cabin Creek offers home made offerings of their dishes to include banana pudding.
Cabin Creek BBQ does a few things that are particularly interesting, nice, or different. First of all, there is one entree' that as a South Georgia native, I was not familiar with, and that is Chicken Mull. Chicken Mull is offered by Cabin Creek during the winter months only. The "mull" is a chicken soup type of dish that is apparently common mostly to the Northeast Georgia Mountain area. I've attached the following link for those who want to know more about Chicken Mull! http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-3394. Additionally, Cabin Creek does serve beef brisket, so for those who will drive for miles hunting good brisket, Cabin Creek offers this great bbq offering. Finally, from time to time (to include for the remainder of March), Cabin Creek will offer "all you can eat" bbq meals on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Cabin Creek offers catering as well as to go purchases in various sizes of their menu items. Owned by Randy and Teresa Kesler, this business is a local hit. If you are planning your UGA game day tailgate, placing an order with Cabin Creek would surely make your event a big hit. Whether or not we make it back over to Cabin Creek anytime in the near future is not certain, but I am glad that I found this gem of a northeast Georgia bbq joint. I offer the strong recommendation to check out the menus, and entree's, at Cabin Creek BBQ in Nicholson, GA.
Monday, February 11, 2013
J's Southern Smoke BBQ. Cumming, GA
From Scoutmob: It takes a little more than a pair of tongs, a snarky apron and singed eyebrows to become a tried-and-true southern barbecuer. Micah, the master-'que behind J's Southern Smokehouse, was naturally gifted with impeccable smoker skills of the highest order.
During the past (almost) 6 years that we have lived in Cumming, there have been some good bbq restaraunts come and go. Notably those coming and being successful have been Jim 'n Nick's, Cue, Smokejack, and even a new Dickie's. The current longest continuous operating bbq joint is Slopes. Now there is a new little joint which certainly qualifies as a mom and pop little place. J's, by nature of the competition mentioned above, has its work cut out for it; however, based on my own experience and some outstanding reviews on such sites as urbanspoon http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/9/1645795/restaurant/Atlanta/Js-Southern-Smoke-Cumming they may just be able to find a niche in the competitive food service business.
Some weeks back, my and Chris Grimes decided to check out J's. I had heard some good comments from a couple of my co-workers, so the day came for us to give it a try. J's is located in what was once an old bank. (I'm glad we can recycle banks into bbq joints! What better use!) Though small on the inside, the place was very clean, well decorated, and qualified as a "quaint little joint." At J's, you order at the counter, fix your drink, find a seat, and then they bring you your meal. A pretty common routine for a joint of this nature. Chris and I ordered our meals, and they came out pretty quickly which is always a good way to start. As is my typical order for a first time visit, I ordered the pulled pork sandwich and the Brunswick stew. Here's for your viewing pleasure!
This is what pulled pork is meant to be! The meat was moist but clean. It was moderately smokey with light charring (which works for me). As you can tell in the picture, there is an ample quantity on the large piece of toasted bread. J's gives you enough sauce choice for things to be interesting including a South Carolina style mustard based sauce. The stew was excellent. Again, the picture shows really great coloring with a taste that matches. It is not too hot but spicy enough. It has a great blend between the meat and vegetable mix.
For a small q joint, J's has a good menu mix. Yes, he's got brisket, pork, ribs, chicken, and a reasonable mix of sides. Some have complained that the price point may be a touch on the high side, but I certainly think it is competitive compared to some of the larger competitors.
All in all, we'll give J's at least a 4 out of 5 star ranking until it either earns an bump either way. The food business is tough. Having a good business plan (like Jim 'n Nick's) is critical. Being in the right location is essential. J's has good food. Time will tell if the other ingredients to success are there. Certainly, the BBQ is worth checking out. I have every plan to head back to see them in the near future.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Cash's Smoke House BBQ, Franklin, NC. "Where the Locals Go!" Franklin is a beautiful small town in the southern part of the North Carolina. It is only about 15 minutes or so north of the Georgia border, and it really has something of the feel of "older" North Carolina. Franklin really got added to my "go to" list a couple of years ago when one of my old Cochran friends, Ben Dykes, shared that he and Sammy Haupt frequently drove up there searching for bargains. Knowing Ben and Sammy, there had to be good bargains there to get their endorsement!!! With a couple of really good antique malls and a few good antique stores, we've found some good deals over the past several years. Franklin is certainly less "touristy" than Highlands and some other towns, and while it has its share of franchise type dining establishments, it has at least one bbq joint worth checking out. On the south side of Franklin is the Whistle Stop Antique Mall. Right behind the mall you'll find Cash's.
This is truly a mom and pop operation. On this particular Saturday, we found Michael and Amy Cash running the joint. Ms. Cash was taking orders at the window while Michael was tending to fixing the plates and keeping his eye on the bbq that was in the small, commercial type smoker. Debbie had been wanting a bbq sandwich with slaw on it for some reason, and that is an entree that is available at Cash's. I ordered the bbq sandwich and Brunswick stew which most of my readers will know is my typical first visit order. The food was up and out to us in a quick minute. There's no real dining in available at Cash's, but there is an "enclosed" room that you can sit in if you want. This particular January day, though, the weather permitted us to eat outside at one of their tables.
Both Debbie and I loved our sandwiches. The meat was tender, moist, and sufficient in quantity. The Brunswick stew was also better than average stew. The color of the stew was attractive, its taste was rich with sufficient pork in the stew, and it consistency was excellent. There was just enough meat in the stew to add both flavor and texture. We tried out Cash's various sauces..only three if my memory serves me correctly. The "hot and sweet" sauce ended up being our favorite. Though I'll always try the typical NC vinegar sauce, it still isn't one of my favorites.
All in all, this place is winner. Friendly service by two seemingly very nice people. The food is excellent, and the prices are fair. While I might could go higher, this little joint certainly gets at least a 4 and the 5 point scale. We'll do Cash's again, but meanwhile, if you know of any other bbq joints we have to hit in NC, drop me a line!!! So, if you are on the Georgia side of the border, Oinkers in Clayton is a recommended stop. If you miss that stop and really want barbecue, ride on up through Dillard and into Franklin, NC. There are a couple of potential options for barbecue in Franklin that will keep you satisfied while the misses has you walking row after row of antique booths!!!
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Community BBQ, Decatur, GA.
Often times you just choose to do bbq where you are at. What determines where you choose to eat is often based on word of mouth among us bbq junkies. Today's visit to Community BBQ in Decatur, GA was created by both of those circumstances. I seldom go into Decatur as frankly, I just don't have much reason to go there. Some time back, though, at least one of my bbq friends had suggested Community, so it has been on the radar for some time. Finding myself in Decatur following a good little educational meeting, me and my friend and Board Chairman Tom honed in Community BBQ. Finding the little joint, really wasn't that tough. We plugged it into the GPS, turned on Clairmont Rd., and within just a few minutes were there.
There were good signs in the parking lot quickly suggesting to me that early reports of that this was a good joint were true. First, the parking lot was packed. Secondly, there were folks eating at picnic tables in front of the building. Thirdly, the people that I could see eating out front and walking to and from the joint were of every size, shape, ethnicity, and dress code. Fourth, there was a completely restored 1957 Chevy parked in the first parking spot in front of the building. All of that really made up for the fact that the restaurant is located in a strip mall. Once inside, you don't recognize that fact either. In fact (see this pics of course), the inside has as good of a "joint" feeling as most any q spot I've been to.
This is another one of those low maintenance kinda joints where you line up to place your order at the counter. It is a really efficient set up. While in line, you can peruse the t-shirts they have for sale. The shirts have such things written on them as Smokin' (in big letters followed by little letters) Whole Hog and NICE RACK (in big letters followed again in little letters by) Of Ribs. Me and Forrest really didn't know what they meant by all of that. I was sufficiently entertained to the point that I did't even seem to remember waiting in line. The big menu board at the beside the order station had pretty much told me what I needed to know in that yep, they had pulled pork sandwiches, Brunswick stew, and collards....easy pick. I definitely give Community points for having a good q joint menu. There was no pizza or other things to appease the types who somehow think they are too sophisticated to eat bbq in a joint.
Tom and I decided that we'd eat at the "big" table. This was sort of like a community type bar table that offered us a full view of the restaurant and the people in there. As indicated earlier, which is always a good sign, there were those of us in there in suits seated next to two members of a SWAT team and most everything else as far as occupational backgrounds. Our food came out fairly quickly and the waiter (as such) brought us our food (of course after calling out TOM...BUSTER!).
Now I can joke around from time to time, but when it comes to evaluating the final product, I like to be as serious as I can be, but that may not be saying a whole lot. This bbq sandwich friends was one to fight over. I'm talking about a nice mound of pulled pork resting atop a big ole piece of Texas toast with the other piece of toast flipped to the side. Oh my, now this was a pretty picture (yea, the one of up top). The Brunswick stew was just about the perfect size. I've had smaller and I've had bigger, but to compliment this BBQ, it was just right. The bbq was really, really good. It was a consistent cook, it was clean, it had just a bit of bark, and it was free of excess fat. I couldn't wait, but I had to do the stew first.
The Brunswick stew was among the best I've had anywhere. The consistency was perfect.. The detectable vegetables included whole kernel corn, an occasional English pea, and tomatoes. There was none of this quarter sized filler of potatoes, just some really fine stew. The coloring was right on target. The taste was perfect with just a hint of "heat". Without really thinking about it much, I'm giving them a 4+ (out of 5) on the stew.
Now, back to the pulled pork. Before digging into the pork, I had to sample the sauces. Community has only two sauces: sweet and NC vinegar. Honestly, both sauces were exceptional for their variety. Not only was the bbq clean and of really ample quantity, it was awesome!!! The moist, flavorful bbq was tender and tasty. It was truly one of the best examples of naked pulled pork that I've stumbled across in months.
There's little doubt that if I am in the Decatur area again sometime, I'll try Community BBQ again. You can check out their menu at http://www.communityqbbq.com.