Monday, February 11, 2013

J's Southern Smoke BBQ, Cumming, GA.


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 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. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cash's Smoke House BBQ, Franklin, NC

Cash's Smoke House BBQ, Franklin, NC.  "Where the Locals Go!"  Franklin is a beautiful small town in the southern part of the North Carolina.  It is only about 15 minutes or so north of the Georgia border, and it really has something of the feel of "older" North Carolina.  Franklin really got added to my "go to" list a couple of years ago when one of my old Cochran friends, Ben Dykes, shared that he and Sammy Haupt frequently drove up there searching for bargains.  Knowing Ben and Sammy, there had to be good bargains there to get their endorsement!!!  With a couple of really good antique malls and a few good antique stores, we've found some good deals over the past several years.  Franklin is certainly less "touristy" than Highlands and some other towns, and while it has its share of franchise type dining establishments, it has at least one bbq joint worth checking out.  On the south side of Franklin is the Whistle Stop Antique Mall.  Right behind the mall you'll find Cash's. 

This is truly a mom and pop operation.  On this particular Saturday, we found Michael and Amy Cash running the joint.  Ms. Cash was taking orders at the window while Michael was tending to fixing the plates and keeping his eye on the bbq that was in the small, commercial type smoker.  Debbie had been wanting a bbq sandwich with slaw on it for some reason, and that is an entree that is available at Cash's.  I ordered the bbq sandwich and Brunswick stew which most of my readers will know is my typical first visit order.  The food was up and out to us in a quick minute.  There's no real dining in available at Cash's, but there is an "enclosed" room that you can sit in if you want.  This particular January day, though, the weather permitted us to eat outside at one of their tables.

Both Debbie and I loved our sandwiches.  The meat was tender, moist, and sufficient in quantity.  The Brunswick stew was also better than average stew.  The color of the stew was attractive, its taste was rich with sufficient pork in the stew, and it consistency was excellent.  There was just enough meat in the stew to add both flavor and texture.  We tried out Cash's various sauces..only three if my memory serves me correctly.  The "hot and sweet" sauce ended up being our favorite.  Though I'll always try the typical NC vinegar sauce, it still isn't one of my favorites.

All in all, this place is winner.  Friendly service by two seemingly very nice people.  The food is excellent, and the prices are fair.  While I might could go higher, this little joint certainly gets at least a 4 and the 5 point scale.  We'll do Cash's again, but meanwhile, if you know of any other bbq joints we have to hit in NC, drop me a line!!!  So, if you are on the Georgia side of the border, Oinkers in Clayton is a recommended stop.  If you miss that stop and really want barbecue, ride on up through Dillard and into Franklin, NC.  There are a couple of potential options for barbecue in Franklin that will keep you satisfied while the misses has you walking row after row of antique booths!!!