Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rib Country, Blairsville, GA

"So Good It'll Make You Squeal" is their slogan, and parts of this claim are true even if I had received at least one comment that was not particularly endearing for this location. This entry sort of has a funny story to it, so hang in there. Rib Country has four locations. Two in Georgia (Cleveland and Blairsville) and two in North Carolina (Murphy and Haynesville). I'd eaten a couple of times at the one in Cleveland, but on today's drive through the North Georgia mountains Blairsville was the stop. The place was buzzing on this beautiful October afternoon with leaf lookers from all over Georgia crawling through the mountains. Few counties in Georgia can match Union for its beauty in October. After a very short wait, Debbie and I were seated in this very well done little joint. Rib Country has their interior done just about right. They've got lots of folk art and relics of the past on the walls and throughout the joint. They've got paper towels on the table, and the placemats are paper grocery sacs like they used to have years ago!

Debbie ordered up the bbq sandwich, a side of fries, and a diet coke. I ordered the pork sandwich and cold slaw. The slaw was really good even if it was rather small in portion size. We both thought the bbq was good in both consistency, cleanness, and taste. We tried out two of their sauces. The sweet was good but highly akin to something that would come our of a Kraft bottle. Their "tangy mustard" (Lord forgive me) was actually pretty good.

This bbq joint does have a couple of downsides from our critical point of view, and it really has more to do with menu options as opposed to quality. Debbie claims the fries are mediocre in that its pretty sure they came out of a frozen bag. Secondly, their ice is cubed and not crushed. You always get extra points for crushed ice! While the menu is actually pretty good and sufficiently varied even for those who don't do pork, there are a few options that would make it better. First, they don't offer Brunswick stew...not good. Second, they don't offer turnips or other forms of "greens". That's such an easy one to fix as well as a great way to recycle pork and chicken trimmings.

As an overall comparison, Rib Country is probably the Blairsville area's best joint, it rates below some other options back down Highway 515 (Poole's). Now for the funny conclusion. As we were leaving, they were actually trying to decide to close the place for the afternoon. If you remember the Andy Griffith episode where Goober had bought the gas station along with Andy and Floyd, you'll remember that Goober ran out of gas on the opening day because he forgot to place the order for more. Ha ha!!! Same thing happened today at the Blairsville Rib Country. They ran out of gas and were telling customers they could not serve either french fries or ribs!!! That pretty well tells you that they don't cook over straight wood, and while most high volume joints do either I would guess, I'd say it is a pretty bad goof up to run out of gas in your bbq joint on an October afternoon in North Georgia!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bill Miller Barbecue, San Antonio, TX

Bill Miller Barbecue Joints in southern Texas are seemingly everywhere, but contrary to my typical "generous" blogs, this one doesn't get much of a rating. I'd actually been told that joints like Rudy's and County Line were pretty good picks, my location put me nearest a Bill Miller joint. They've got something like 60 joints in southern Texas. I'm really not going to waste my or your time on a complete review, but the joint fit more in line with a Waffle House for BBQ than anything else. The ribs were yesterday's leftovers, and if I couldn't do brisket any better, I would not bother. Oh well. Next time I'm in southern Texas, I'm doing Rudy's at whatever the cab fare.

Monday, October 18, 2010

'Cue Barbecue, Cumming, GA

'Cue, Cumming.
Several weeks ago we were "thrilled" to learn that Cumming was getting its own 'Cue BBQ joint. The original location of 'Cue in Milton had already been critiqued, and my couple of visits to that location had been good visits. Having its original influence from "Swallow at the Hollow", 'Cue's fixings are some of the overall best you'll find. Everything you have at this joint, whether its the sauces, bread, or desserts are all homemade with their own recipes. Even the buns (more like big pieces of bread) are homemade right at the location, and you can tell it!!!

Today's visit was especially nice as I was getting to enjoy it with co-workers Joey and Valery. Sharing the BBQ joint experience with both family and friends far beats the solo experience, even though I won't turn that down if I get the chance.

On today's visit, I was suffering from a weekend full of doing my own bbq and attending a church homecoming at Big Creek Baptist Church in Coolidge, GA, so I was having to watch the intake. My order deviated from the normal as I ordered a pulled chicken bbq sandwich and a cup of their awesome Brunswick stew. Joey and Valery ordered pork sandwiches. Their reports of the bbq were great as you would expect 'Cue to be. This was my first bbq chicken from 'Cue and my first experience at the new Cumming location. Located on Highway 20 south of Cumming, 'Cue is easily accessible for a lunchtime break.

To the meal. The bbq chicken was really fantastic. The fairly good sized pulled chunks of pulled chicken made for a really good portion size. When piled on the thick sections of 'Cue's homemade bread, it was really out of this world. The meat comes seasoned with their awesome Kansas City styled sweet sauce. I had to try their outstanding South Carolina mustard bbq sauce, and they've really got it down. 'Cue also has as an option their thin, vinegar based North Carolina sauce. The Brunswick stew that 'Cue fixes up is quite good. The consistency is just about right. The visible vegetables include tomatoes, whole kernel corn, and a few butterbeans. The meat appears to be a mix of both pork and chicken which is alright by me.

All in all, 'Cue's got great food, and I am thrilled that they now have a Cumming location. They are located in an area that, though is very busy, has struggled to support a couple of other dining establishments. I do highly recommend this place and overall, it get's a 4+ on our 5 point scale. Special thanks to Valery and Joey for the treat!