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.