Papa Buck's BBQ. Metter, GA.
"HOME OF THE PIGZILLA"
Anyone who has driven the stretch of I-16 between Macon and Savannah very much knows that there are only a couple of even halfway decent exits to stop and eat along that stretch. If you leave Macon heading toward Savannah, you really don't want to stop in Dublin as you have barely been on the road for less than an hour. By the time you get to Metter, you are thinking, "my gosh, I didn't think I'd ever find a place to take a break!" Well, the good news is that Metter has several good options for taking a break, including getting barbecue. Years ago, I had discovered Jomax BBQ, and it was very good as best as I remember. It did not, however, leave me with the feeling that "I've got to make it a priority to go back anytime really soon."
Let me digress just a moment regarding Metter. My first real appreciation for the town of Metter came back around 1992 which would be about 25 years ago. At that time in my life, I was into road cycling. Three other friends of mine from Eastman (Wayne Smith, Joe Taylor, and Rae Taylor), where we lived at the time, decided to do the second half of one of Georgia's great cycling events, Bike Ride Across Georgia. We had joined up with BRAG in Eastman on a Thursday with the goal to end up in Savannah on Saturday of that week. Day 1 of the ride was filled with enthusiasm and great adrenalin flow. We spent the night in Vidalia, and then Day 2 would have us riding from Vidalia to Statesboro. There are some things that you learn in taking up new adventures, and one of the things you learn in long distance cycling is effectives uses of things like Vaseline and baby powder. Without getting highly descriptive, we were so glad to get to Metter about mid-day of that trip to find a drug store in order to find some much needed Vaseline!
They've said for a long time "things are better in Metter!" While I can't say it is a place that I have a desire to live, I can say it's work a stop along I-16 to grab a barbecue meal. On this day, I was traveling alone to Savannah. I had heard of Papa Buck's www.papabucks.com, and I had wanted to eat there at some point. I made it a priority to time my trip accordingly. I got to the joint, and it certainly qualifies as a "joint", before the lunch crowd really began gathering (and they eventually did about the time I was leaving), I easily found a seat and within an acceptable period of time was waited on by one of the several waitresses who all wore tight pants with a Papa Buck's T-shirt for the top. Knowing the young, south Georgia redneck population the way that I think I do, I'm guessing that some of these guys were showing up partly for the barbecue and partly because of the friendly waitress staff!
The barbecue offerings at Papa Buck's are exceptional. The menus is relatively extensive with offierings including bbq chicken, pulled pork, pork loin, ribs, brisket, turkey, hamburgers, and chicken fingers.
Home of the PIGZILLA.
Advertized proudly, both inside and outside of the building, is something about "Pigzilla". The Pigzilla is 3 pounds of pulled pork covered in bbq sauce and served on a 1 pound Hawaiian sweet bread roll. The challenger has 45 minutes to consume the entire meal. Allegedly folks will drive from long distances to take on this challenge.
I skipped the Pigzilla and went for my typical first visit meal. I ordered a barbecue pork sandwich and a small Brunswick stew. The order came out quite promptly, and as evidenced in the picture, it had a very good appeal. First, the stew. The stew was a good mix of meat, sauces, and vegetables. The color was appealing and the flavor was quite good. There was a good mix of corn, tomatoes, potatoes, but some of my favorites such as okra or small butterbeans were scarce to non-existent. Overall, though, I'd give the stew a good 3+ on a scale of 1 to 5.
The barbecue sandwich was ample in size. The appearance was good, however, the meat was pre-sauced and the option of sauce on the side with several sauce options apparently doesn't exist. There was sauce on the table for adding more to the meat, and I did that mainly to explore their sauce. It was a good "middle of the road" sauce that wasn't too sweet nor too hot. The barbecue as well gets a 3+, but frankly, it was really good.
By the time that I was wrapping up my meal, the place had begun to fill. You could tell this was a local favorite. A couple of law enforcement groups showed up, loggers, farmers, old-timers, and even couples enjoing a mid-day barbecue adventure all showed up. I paid my very inexpensive tab, and then continued my journey to Savannah.
Given the variety on the menu, there are several more reasons why I'll stop in Metter again one day. I can't wait to try a brisket order as well as their ribs. In conclusion, though they are nothing much to look at from the outside, both Papa Buck's and Jomax come highly rated as a place to dine along the I-16 route to the Georgia coast.