Bar-B-Q Shack, Toccoa, GA. Once again, my south Georgia compadres may consider me a traitor with this proclamation, but with the finding of today's joint, it confirms my previous claims that there are more "good" bbq joints above the gnat line than below it in Georgia. The Shack is one more of those! Located on Highway 17 just on the outskirts of Toccoa is this somewhat of a "throwback" of a joint. If you want to get in on the Q action here, you've only got 3 days each week to try it: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The Shack's tee claim that "Herman Knows BBQ", and I have to agree.
Debbie and I had wandered up toward Toccoa to visit Toccoa Falls on this hot late Spring day, and of course, I had heard tell of The Shack some time back, so I Googled it and had it on the radar for the day. After a visit at one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Georgia and taking a minute to say a prayer in memory of those who died in the tragic dam breaking at Toccoa Falls College in 1977, we struck out for The Bar-B-Q Shack. Once finding it, it had all of the appearances of a potential winner! There were a couple of motorcycles mixed in with a few trucks and cars, and there was real wood smoke coming out of the pit area behind the dining area. Inside of the joint you do feel like you are stepping back into a joint that has been around for a while. It's warm wood finished interior and tables have the right things already on the table: paper towels, bbq sauce, and a huge pitcher of sweet tea. Debbie ordered her sandwich with cold slaw on it while I ordered the Pig Sandwich and a small bowl of Brunswick Stew. The very friendly waitress had our meal on our plates in no time flat even before I had sufficient time to taste the 3 sauces and study the patrons within the joint.
The sandwiches were piled high with good looking, clean barbecue chunks. I did get in a taste of the 3 sauces which were somewhat of a thin, vinegar based North Carolina style sauce. While one was marked "mild", we actually dubbed them hot, hotter, and hottest! The stew was of great portion sized and very good taste. The ingredients were finely ground and complimented the meal to a high level. Debbie remarked at how clean the barbecue was as it was free of both fat and heavy charring (despite the fact I can handle both without complaint).
This joint has a menu that is not cluttered with a lot of non-barbecue related food. You pretty much can choose between chopped bbq pork, chicken, and ribs. If you aren't into pretty standard bbq, you won't find a lot on the menu to serve as alternates.
I didn't get a lot of opportunity to get much history on The Bar-B-Q Shack, so I have a bit more work to do, but if you like barbecue and are in the Toccoa area on one of their 3 open days, I'd recommend choosing this place for dining. As far as bbq joints are concerned, it may be one of the best between Gainesville, GA and the North and South Carolina borders. As the shirt says, "Harold Know BBQ", and we could not agree more! The place gets a 5 on joint atmosphere and solid 4's on both the stew and bbq.