Saturday, March 6, 2010
Hickory Pig BBQ, Gainesville, GA. This place is a "trip". This Saturday found Debbie and I really struggling on where to strike out to. We'd considered downtown Atlanta where we'd thought about hitting DBA Barbecue, but the Gainesville/Dawsonville area won out. We made our way up 400 and then through beautiful north Hall County where you pass by beautiful homes on horse farm acreage as well as rusty old mobile homes that have little life left in search of Hickory Pig. I'd heard some good reviews on Hickory Pig, but I really didn't know what to expect. Well, when we got there, it was nothing short of a fun experience.
First, this place "aint Jim 'N Nicks for sure. The hodgepodge of what looks like three small storage buildings stuck together is hardly big enough to seat 10 people at the three tables that look like they were salvaged from Goodwill. This is a joint or a dive in the true sense of the words. You can tell right out the car door that the barbecue is cooked the old fashioned way through indirect smoking with hickory wood. We sort of chuckled when we got into the place and found that you had to fix your own drink with ice out of an ice chest and cokes from the can. We were cordially greeted by Phil and his sidekick "Littlebit". It didn't take us long to figure out what we wanted. Deb was going to stay vegetarian, so she ordered slaw and collard greens. I ordered my typical first visit order of a sandwich and Brunswick stew. The orders were out in no time flat. Immediately, Debbie was raving about the greens, and she's not really typically a big "raver". They were absolutely melt in your mouth awesome. She detected that the slaw had some form of secret ingredient. We know what it is, but if you can guess the ingredient when you go there, you get your entry free!
On the stew and barbecue. Old Phil Beaubian will never win the contest for quantity, but this little low volume dive is unbeat for quality. I started with a great small serving of stew. It really was great, but I don't know that it would top the list of the over 60 something q joints I've hit over the past couple of years. His barbecue, though, was top notch. Simply good, long stranded pulled pork gently topped with his Murrayville Barbecue Sauce which is sort of a North Carolina vinegar sauce. No real variety here, but it scratches the bbq itch for sure. Phil and Littlebit are two friendly folks for sure, so we struck up fairly deep conversation that turned into being downright comical. I finally told Phil what I was up to, and Oh My Gosh...that's when the fun begin. Phil and I visited the little kitchen, food prep area, and smoking pit. Aint much to write about, but dang it puts out some good food. When we got to talking about my reviewing bbq joints, he quickly fixed me up with some beef brisket....my friend forever. Phil had slow smoked this brisket to perfection. I love ribeye steak, but this brisket would top even a M&T Meats marinated ribeye!!!
If you haven't figured it out yet, Phil is quite a character. The next thing we had to do was to go to the shack outback where he opened up a cabinet and unveiled his kareoke machine. First we were serenaded by Littlebit as she did a Patsy Kline tune. Then Phil had to have his turn doing an Elvis tune.
Of all the bbq visits that I've ever done, this one was truly the most "interesting".
Despite the fact that I wouldn't recommend taking someone who you really wanted to impress to eat at this joint, Phil's Hickory Pig on Thompson Bridge Road north of Gainesville is a winner in our book.