Friday, July 24, 2009

Rolling Bones, Atlanta

Rolling Bones in Atlanta. Rolling Bones has character, charm, and good bbq. Located just east of downtown on Edgewood, RB's has been in business about 6 years and has just been purchased by a new company. The place is a nicely converted old gas station. Tried a wonderful bbq sandwich and mustard greens. Certain to leave you filled as its enough for two meals. The bbq is clean, tastes great, and is a great downtown place to eat. The menu, though not too broad, also has some good options including salmon, trout, and duck. Try it, you'll like it!

Porkers, Allentown

Porkers in Allentown. Certainly off the beaten path is Porkers Barbecue Shack. Porkers has the makings to be a good joint cause its got some good things going for it, but honestly, the bbq is not our favored style. The good makings are the fact it has an outdoor cooking area, rolls of paper towels on the tables, and decorated very attractively with pig stuff and various collectibles a part of the decor. The fries were quite good, and the fried pickle spears were both good an unique in being length cut. The bbq, while generously served, seemed to be heavily sauce laced making the consistency and quality not as we particularly favor. Best of all was the great company with both kids and Shanna as a part of our Fathers Day Weekend.... Did I mention Debbie paid? :-)

Sowbellies, Hawkinsville, GA

Sow Bellies in Hawkinsville. Sow Bellies hasn't been around real long, but Tony Floyd reached a fine level of bbq proficiency in barbecue competitions. The first (and last) time I had one of their Boston butts, I swore it was the best I had ever eaten. Honestly, order one up for the holidays, and you won't be disappointed. Today it was too hot to fish, too hot for golf, and too hot to cut grass by lunchtime, but it wasn't too hot for me and Larry B to ease down to have lunch at SB's. Hadn't been there in over a couple of years, and not much has changed. BS's bbq is good and smokey flavored, but if I were being picky, I'd say it was too finely chopped for one who really prefers pulled pork. The sauces were good, and the brunswick stew was adequate. LB got a a chili dog to go along with his bbq sandwich (he takes Lipitor I am pretty sure). Now this was one serious chili dog. While the food was pretty decent, sometimes the best part is catching up with friends....and that was today's bbq tip for the day.

Fox Brothers Barbecue, Atlanta

Fox Brothers Barbecue, Atlanta. FOX Rocks...that's the quick version. Dropped DE off at the ATL airport this am and then plugged 1238 Dekalb Avenue in the GPS to explore a "new" bbq place. Fox has only been open for a couple of years, but this is one cool place with good food. The Fox Brothers got their start by doing the barbecue for Smith's Olde Bar in Atlanta (according to Mary Beth my waitress). The staff is a little bit metro trendy, but that's not all bad. My experience with the food went like this: the brunswick stew as good, but not the very "best" I've had. The fried okra was absolutely the best I've had. Cut lengthways you didn't have to chase the little circle cuts. Now the bbq? Well, I arrived early and got to sit outside a few and smell the smoke coming off the smokers. The pork was pulled (like I like it), and the sauce was on the side and slightly sweet (like I like it). Located in the Little Five Points area, it is a bit tough to find without my electronic friend, but I look forward to a return visit to try out the brisket...yep, one more place that gives you choices between pork, chicken, beef, etc.

Smokin Gold, Dahlonega

Smokin Gold owned by Dan and Laurie Dieterle. I almost didn't go in and eat at Smokin Gold in Dahlonega, but I'm glad I did. Before heading out on a cycle ride in the mountains, I had Googled bbq joints around Dahlonega and picked Smokin Gold out cause I liked the name. When I pulled up to SG, I sort of was disappointed. It is located off one side of a convenience store in a mini strip mall, and that basically means the appearance has no "character". It may lack character in appearance, but seriously, this is the real deal. The barbecue is simply dang good. The sause is pretty near the perfect sweetness if you like it slightly sweet. The Brunswick stew can hold its own with about anyones. The stew has a great combination of meat, vegetables, and sauce to make it a winner. After meeting Dan, who is really a delight, and telling him what I was up to and that he'd be on my facebook page by nightfall, he invited me back in to taste his brisket. Yep, he's got that down right as well. The thing, though, that impressed me most is that Dan cooks everything, including the stew and baked beans, (except the butts that are cooked in an indoor smoker), on Green Eggs. Dan and Laurie, then, are accomplished eggheads that have a great place to stop in if you are in Dahlonega. If there is a negative, and you'll just have to get over it, is they don't do french fries. Deb had the cole slaw (which is a lot healthier), and she gave it fine ratings too. BTW, Dan does brisket "burnt ends" on Fridays and reports that he has folks lined up out the door.

Amos BBQ & Biscuits, Ball Ground

Amos BBQ and Biscuits on 369 near Ball Ground. This Amos aint famous, but the visit won't be our last. Debbie and I eased up there on the Low Rider this pm to check it out. Here's the run down. The bowl of Brunswick stew that the waitress brought me first was as good as you'll find anywhere. I probably should have stopped with that, but of course, I had to do the bbq sandwich just to be able to critique the pork. The pulled pork was quite good, but I will say the sauce was a little on the sweet side. I'd rather have had the sauce on the side. Now the second sauce called "liquid fire" was exactly that. If you stop in, you'll have to at least dip your finger in the sauce and give it a taste. It will keep you remembering that you stopped there for at least the next couple of hours. Debbie said that the hand cut french fries ranked high on her list, and she's a pretty strong critic of french fries at out bbq places. Anyway, Amos' isn't really what you consider a dine in type of bbq joint, but if you are by that way and have the bbq craving, you'll enjoy visiting with these friendly folks.

Smoke Jack, Alpharetta, GA

I never cease to be amazed that all throughout the metro Atlanta area, you can find some outstanding BBQ joints. Smoke Jack in Alpharetta is one of those. Great bbq right on Main Street. The place smells like a bbq joint from the street and when you walk in the door. The pulled pork has great flavor and consistency. The NC style sauce is good even if you are not a mustard base fan. I had collard greens as a side, and they are seasoned up good and have a little kick to them. I tried their "burnt ends" which are cubes of well done gotta try them. The meal is advanced by a basket of corn kernel corn muffins which are fantastic. One warning, if you order baby back ribs, go ahead and get a take out box. The serving size is enough for 3 people. Thanks NGMR's for the experience.

Smoke Jack is also opening up a location on Post Road in western Forsyth County in 2009, and we can't wait!

Oinkers, Clayton, GA

Oinkers in Clayton, GA was highly anticipated. Best thing about it was the friendly service by a great waitress. Honestly, the bbq was best described as OK (or at least that was my impression). The brunswick stew was very good and rates highly. Google the Youtube on the statement that the owner, who is a former farrier, says "hams don't kick".

Hawg Wild BBQ & Catfish House, Clarkesville, GA

Hawg Wild BBQ & Catfish in Clarkesville, GA's "got it right." The pulled pork is as good as you'll find in GA. The menu of sides are totally fantastic. They get you going with some of the most awesome hushpuppies you've ever had. Only being open since the first of the year, this is certainly a "must do" if you are in the Clarkesville area.

Smokin Pig, Valdosta

Oh my goodness. Folks, this gets my best rating for any bbq joint visited south of Macon at worst. The Smokin Pig is HOT, HOT, HOT!!! Located off I-75 outside of Valdosta, its pork is great. Their sides of stew, fries, okra (and others I didn't try) will leave you stuffed all the way back to Atlanta (if headed north). Anyway, got to do the SP after Laura's graduation from VSU. Truth is, anything would have been great on that day, but Smokin Pig Rocks, and I highly recommend it as your last great bbq joint headed south. BTW, pick up a good sized bottle of their bbq sauce for just $3.99. It's worth at least twice that. For Father's Day, daughter Laura brought me home a whole case of the sauce. Truly my favorite daughter!

Three Li'l Pigs, Pine Mountain

Three Li'l Pigs in Pine Mountain. Did this one as a late lunch, and it was not a disappointment. The portion size was generous, the bbq and sauce ranked up with anyone's, and the price didn't leave you feeling you'd been hijacked. There is at least one other bbq joint in Pine Mountain. I'll get it next time.

AB's in Hawkinsville

AB's in Hawkinsville. A great return after nearly 2 years. 2 "Big Smoky's", sides, and drinks for $10.81, now that is one thing I miss about middle GA! Would have taken pic of the outside but it was pouring rain. Great bbq in the Harness Racing City.

Dreamland, Roswell/Alpharetta

D and I did Dreamland in Roswell today. OK, I really don't know where Roswell ends and Alpharetta starts, but one thing for sure, this is one more awesome bbq joint. The Big Daddy Sandwich is enough for 3 meals. As an added bonus, their indoor pit is totally observable from the dining area of the joint. You can see the pork being cooked right there while you eat. The pit has wood firing from the bottom and smoke pumped down from the top. Pick up a bottle of sauce when you leave for just $5 and get a plastic "to go" cup when you leave, and you can remember Dreamland for weeks and "dream of good bbq" without adding calories. It truly is one of Georgia's best bbq joints in the city.

OB's, McDonough, GA

OB's in McDonough has been a long time favorite. I can't believe it took me this long to get it on there, but it had been a couple of years since going. The bbq is very good, and you get to put on the sauce you want. The brunswick stew ranks up there with anyone's. One of the real treats is they have some wonderful fried dill pickles and fried green tomatoes. This day (March 1, 2009) was a great day for a stop. It was 34 degrees and snowing heavily.

Davis Brothers, Jasper, GA

The Bargain Barn isn't the only "must do" in Jasper, GA. Davis Brothers Bbq is a bit of a challenge to find (unless you stop and ask a local), but it is worth the stop. Really doesn't look like a bbq joint on the outside, but the inside is so neatly decorated. The bbq is good, but I suggest getting the sauce on the side. It is strong Worchestire. French fries rank right up there as good as any you will find. Debbie and I did this for Valentine's lunch...what a wife.

Rib Country, Cleveland, GA

Rib Country with Paul Shaw and Will Schofield. Neat place just south of Cleveland, GA. Good typical bbq joint with the aura of old time bbq. Have to admit that I only did the salad with pulled pork on it, but if in the area it is a good choice.

Sticky Fingers, Macon, GA

Sticky Fingers. 3 Different bbq joints in one week!!! May be a record. Sticky fingers is on OK franchise with a really good overall menu. I had to do salad and wings on this visit, but did have a taste of rib which was A+ as we celebrated Laura's 22'nd birthday. This location is in Macon. Still tough for a chain to have the character of an old, established joint.

Daddy DZ's, Atlanta

Daddy DZ's. Their motto "we aint pretty...but we are good." Perfectly fits this description of the little joint just east of downtown Atlanta. Awesome bbq and very good, meaty brunswick stew. You could use a body guard or two, but the risk is worth the reward.

Pig In A Pit, Macon

Pig in a Pit. Great bbq and the best french fries of all these bbq joints. Strip mall storefron bbq places lack character, but Pig In A Pit rivals any bbq resturant around. Located in Macon across from Bass Pro more reason to exit I-75 at Bass Road. Jed and Brando got a meal on me...and it was worth it!

Jim 'n Nicks, Cumming, GA

Had said before you couldn't franchise a good bbq joint. Jim "N Nicks has proved me wrong. Located at the Avenues south of Cumming, you won't leave hungry or disappointed as Debbie and Laura prove in the pic. While Jim 'N Nicks may be a bit on the pricey side as far as bbq joints are concerned, this place has class. Owner/Manager Brian is such an awesome guy. They start you off with cheese biscuits to die for. The portion size is good for a couple of folks. I've never been there when there wasn't a good crowd. Show up early and hungry for a best experience.

Swallow at the Hollow, Roswell, GA.

Swallow at the Hollow in Roswell. My SGA buds will not believe that Atlanta has some great BBQ, but it does. Swallow has some really awesome bbq. The stew is OK, but what makes Swallow so cool is they bring in Nashville songwriters to perform top hits that they've written. Surely worth the stop if you are in the area. Skip the high dollar highbrow dining and stop off at Swallow at the Hollow. A canoe filled with whatever you want to drink (we had diet coke for the record), but you'll enjoy the stop.

Wolf Creek Canyon, Ellijay

Very good bbq and brunswick stew. Great stop in if downtown Elljay. Not much inside but the bbq is as good as you'll find anywhere.

Pink Pig, Cherry Log, GA

Holloway's Pink Pig in Cherry Log is worth the stop. Of course, Poole's is just down the highway in Ellijay, but Pink Pig has options Poole's just doesn't have. The fried green tomatoes, sweet potatoe fries, and other sides round out a great choice of bbq meats. The good collection of folk pottery makes the visit even more enjoyable.Holloway's Pink Pig in Cherry Log is worth the stop. Of course, Poole's is just down the highway in Ellijay, but Pink Pig has options Poole's just doesn't have. The fried green tomatoes, sweet potatoe fries, and other sides round out a great choice of bbq meats. The good collection of folk pottery makes the visit even more enjoyable. The story is that where Poole's down the road is a bastion of conservative republican politics, the Pink Pig is the joint where those of the more democratic persuasion hang out. To me, I can eat bbq with either Republicans or Conservative Southern Democrats...if there are any more of them.

Slopes, Cumming, GA

Here is Slopes in Cumming. To me, the best thing about Slopes isn't the bbq. It is ok. It isn't the stew or fried okra, which are good enough. Best thing is location. It is just down the mountain from where we live. Convenient, but honestly, only ranks somewhere midways on the lists of bests. Frankly, though, I have to credit Slopes as being one of the things that helped us to transition into living in Cumming after 13 years living in Cochran. Scotts BBQ in Cochran had been a favorite, so finding a BBQ place to occasionally visit seemed sort of natural. During our first year in Cumming, we ate at Slopes quite frequently. Since I'm scoping out a number of other joints in Georgia, I don't get back to Slopes very often. It is very convenient, though, when I have visitors come in town and want to do lunch. There is also a Slopes down toward the north end of Alpharetta for those who don't venture up toward the base of Sawnee Mountain in Cumming.

One Star Ranch, Alpharetta

One Star in Alpharetta is worth a stop. It features Texas Style BBQ with beef brisket being a menu option. You don't get that everywhere. I'll try that when I am not on "cutback". Meanwhile, the BBQ sandwich had there is honestly one of the best I"ve ever had. There is also a One Star in Buckhead, but I've never hit that joint. If it is as good as the Alpharetta location, my Atlanta friends should certainly put it on their list of places to dine.

Old South BBQ, Valdosta

Old South Barbue on Highway 84 in Valdosta. Truly some great barbecue with traditional southern hospitality. Really good stew and they have awesome fried okra as one of their sides. Took Laura there when we were getting her settled in for Fall 08 semester.

Scott's BBQ, Cochran, GA

Scott's BBQ in Cochran. I've eaten here more than any bbq joint. It is a family favorite. The bbq is great if you like vinegar based pork. If we spend more than 1 day in Cochran on our trips back "home", Scotts will get a visit. My favorite is when Doug has pulled pork available on Mondays and Thursdays. Best cheeseburgers anywhere. Debbie particularly loves Scotts because of their crushed ice. Let me also tell you about the tea. OMG!!! The sweetest tea in Georgia. The recipe for the Brunswick stew is a bit different than any I've found anywhere which makes it quite distinct. In the stew, you'll find an occasional spaghetti noodle in this quite creamy stew. Doug does up some mighty find ribs as well on this open pit joint. Folks in Cochran are loyal to no end to Scotts BBQ. Truly a central Georgia favorite among anyone who ever eats there once.

Two Brothers

Two Brothers in Ball Ground is off the beaten path so it is easy to miss. Relics of the past including those of hunting, trout fishing, and rural artifacts make you feel like you've stepped back in time. The barbecue is good north Georgia bbq, and the folks there are friendly as can be. It takes a little effort to find Two Brothers as it is off the beaten path, but that's what makes it that much more special.

Poole's BBQ, East Ellijay

Poole's in East Ellijay has the most awesome barbecue and is a museum of conservative Georgia politics. When you drive up to Poole's, you get a sense of the personality of Colonel Poole. There is the famous Pig Hill of Fame containing literally hundreds of wood cutouts of pigs. When you walk in the door, you place your order. Don't linger long or you'll hold up a line of folks who, like you, have made their way to Poole's. When you enter the place you'll begin to see pictures of all the many politicians who were salivating to have some bbq and to have their mug posted on the wall somewhere as they attempted to feed their egos while feeding their selves with some of Georgia's great bbq. More likely, though, you are sure to see a number of bikers navigating the mountains of Georgia mixed in with locals as well as tourists who've pulled off 515 to experience nostalgia at its best in North GA. No bbq lover should miss the experience. Lord willing, we'll be back at Poole's some day while antiquing North GA.

Harold's BBQ, Atlanta

Harolds in Atlanta. An experience you should try. BBQ is really good but best brunswick stew of the bunch. That's Candy Norton pointing to the sign. Could not have found it without her! This joint is the only bbq place in Atlanta with an open bbq pit as they were grandfathered into local codes some years back. You can't ever tell who you might see in Harold's as politicians, state officials, and high powered corporate types may wonder through the otherwise transitioned section of town southeast of Turner field to dine in a truly great place. Doesn't matter what you get at Harold's, you'll get plenty of it and you won't leave the place hungry.

Blue Ridge Mountain Barbecue, Blue Ridge, GA: We snaked up through north GA on the cycle up Old Federal Highway, throught Tate, Jasper, and Ellijay to wind up at BRMB. This was a buzzing little joint with a small dining room but rockers and tables on the front porch. It was a pretty easy selection as they had the daily special for $4.99 that included a sandwich, home fried chips, and a drink, but we both upgraded our sides to Brunswick stew and home cut fries. While you wait for just a short time, you can munch on a smoked chicken spread and crackers that is good enough for a meal if you wanted. The sandwich was one of those jumbo things with bbq spilling out all sides of an already oversized bun. The stew was a bit on the small side, and it was a good traditional stew that hit the spot. Debbie right off the bat gave 'em high marks for some of the best fries around, and they also gave you a pickle spear in the basket which is always a nice addition to a bbq lunch. The barbecue, once again generous in proportion was chipped, but not too finely which is about like we like it. We had to try out 3 of the sauces: mustard based, sweet, and hot. Having the sauce "on the side" gives us a good chance to taste the quality of the bbq before it gets smothered in sauce, and it was good even without the sauce. All of the sauces were winners. No telling how many folks came in while we were there. There were at least 5 other biker types, families, girly groups, and old guys (like Clyde) who came in and out while we were there. All in all, a good joint to visit sitting on East First Street right across from "Sue's Best Burger in Town." We highly encourage the stop, but frankly, you can eat BBQ all up Highway 515 from Jasper to Hiawassee. Haven't found a bad one on that stretch of road yet!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Shug's Barbecue, Eastman, GA

Shug's BBQ in Eastman. We lived in Eastman for about 7 years, and I always wondered why there was no good bbq joint there. Tommy Green has fixed that problem. Tommy, like every bbq joint owner I know, is such a super guy, and he does up good bbq too barbecuing right there on Oak Street across from the Bank of Eastman. For a mere $4 you can get a sandwich, chips, and drink. Tommy will also cater for your event, and his bbq is quite good. Most of all, I am glad that Eastman finally has a good BBQplace. Not much to the overhead, but heck, for a $4 meal, this may be the value of this whole bbq review inventory. Best thing is, stop by and see Tommy, and you'll have a fine new frined!

Twin Oaks in Brunswick, GA. You know this one is going to be special when you drive up to it. Don't think seafood is the only option on the coast, this long time establishment, nicely settled beneath the majestic, moss laden Live Oak trees on Norwich Street will fix your bbq craving. We arrived at 11 am, and early arrivers were already going in the door. Deb and I walked in and were greeted with the pleasant smell of smoked pork! This joint has been in business at this location since 1943. It's had several owners, and one thing that made this one so special is that for a time it was managed by our great friend Diane Giddens' father (John Studstill). Debbie was excited further after sitting down and could hear the distinct sound of "crushed" ice being scooped...and yes, it was "crushed". The drinks came out in "big old" glasses that nearly took two hands to hold. The pork sandwich was a good looking fixin, but the fries get the top billing just like John promised. These "batter dipped" fries are not matched in many places. I also had a side of bbq beans that had a nice mixture of pork in them. Oh my were they good. Honestly, the bbq was good, but I don't know that it get's but somewhere between a 3 and 4 on the q scale. It was clean and of good consistency, and it the sauce wasn't used to "hide" whatever the pork tasted like. No kidding, though, it was an ample sized meal brought to us by a waitress who had worked at this place for 34 years. Now that is loyalty. The character and historic content of the inside of the place was phenomenal. No doubt, there's been many a ton of smoked barbecue served in this great little joint deep in southeast Georgia.

Big D's Barbecue, Dawsonville, GA

Big D's in Dawsonville. Though long time folks from Dawsonville will probably favor little joints like Dogs and Hogs and the Dawsonville Pool Room, Big D's just across 400 from the outlet mall give you a good quick bbq meal break away from shopping. Big D's is actually pretty good, and though I didn't try them, they have some of the best looking ribs you'll find anywhere! It's only marginally applealing in character as it is hooked to the side of Sanky's, but when you walk into the small place, you are greeted with the great smell of smoked bbq pork and chicken. You walk right up to the counter and place your order. Their "stimulus package" is a good buy, but I had the sandwich and stew. The sandwich was pretty good but not particularly distinctive in portion size, but you won't leave hungry! The stew, though on the small side (which is not bad for me these days), it is packed with flavor. The fries were good even if they did resemble something that came out of a frozen plastic bag. They do get good marks for having a variety of good sauces including Memphis Sweet, NC vinegar based, SC mustard based, and some hot stuff that friends like BM would savor. All in all, not a bad close stop if you are around the outlet mall area of 400 in Dawson County. BTW, they do have one of the better slogans on the wall and on their t-shirts: "Put Some South in Yo Mouth." We did and can recommend it as a place to try! If in Cumming though, you still can't beat my friends at Jim 'n Nicks!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fat Matt's Rib Shack, Atlanta

Fat Matt's is a "world famous" little bbq joint that rib lovers will love in particular. Debbie and I checked it out on July 5, 2009 on our way back to Cumming after a long weekend in middle Georgia. Fat Matt's is a small little joint with tons of character. Located on Piedmont Road right at the entrance to the historic Morningside area, you can either eat in the small dining room or out front getting a little bit of the magic of the neighborhood. Honestly, the ribs and chicken that I ordered were very good. Oh, the ribs were so tender. Dipping them in their sauce left me using up at least a half dozen napkins. I tried a bit of Debbie's bbq sandwich, and while good, I won't rank their pork sandwich among the best, but still quite good despite the fact that the good quality pork comes heavily adorned with their sauce. The sauce is good, and it is nicely enough priced you'll want to pick up a bottle or two for home use. Of additional appreciation is that their prices don't leave you departing feeling like you've been robbed by one of the Georgia Tech bandits that lurk just a few miles away.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Great BBQ Joints in Georgia

Coming soon!!! I will be transferring all of my bbq joint reviews to this site for greater access.