We made a lunch stop at the relatively new Greater Good BBQ in the Oakhurst / East Lake neighborhoods today. I do believe this is the 2nd outpost of GGBBQ that started over in Tucker. We were very pleasantly and genuinely greeted when we arrived. The restaurant is bright and happy, with a big patio that will be nice on summer nights. Though you walk right in to the counter and cash register, the restaurant is full table service.
We tried the pulled pork, ribs, collards, baked beans, and mac n cheese. All was very good, the meat was moist, tender, with a nice balance of smoke and bar; good without sauce and well complimented with any of the 4 sauces. I favored the Carolina sauce and the Hot. The hot seemed to have a good kick of cumin, whatever it was, I liked it.
The mac n chesse was good and clearly baked, where as the baked beans are not baked. There is also an overly earthiness to the beans. I think it might be an over abundance of celery seed, maybe even some green pepper helping to pump the savory taste. I’ve run into this flavor in the beans at other places. I’m not a huge fan, I like sweeter baked beans as opposed to the more savory stewed beans. You get some white bread with a meat plate, but it’s not just a slice, it is a delicious, lightly grilled piece of TX toast.
We’ll definitely be back. The prices are good and more importantly the food is really good, and the service was great.
I paid a visit to the Old Brick Pit Bar-B-Q on Peachtree Road nestles in between Chamblee and Brookhaven in the near-in suburbs of Atlanta. If you read about the restaurant it was started nearly 40 years ago and changed hands about 10 years ago. Reading some of the online reviews, some folks say nothing has changed including the decor of the inside of the restaurant. I will say it seems to me they are holding strong to the original BBQ recipes, but they have definitely put some effort into updating the building, or at least it appears so to me. Evidence of change is visible.
I will say this place is very much the classic Georgia style of barbecue, chopped pork (hams) and brunswick stew are the center of attention. All in all I thought the food was solid. The restaurant was empty besides one other visitor when I stopped on a Friday evening after 6, but a few folks came in and out to get some to go. I suppose they do more of their business during lunch, at least I hope so considering the loneliness of the place on Friday evening. So back to the food. I tried the combo plate which got me 2 ribs, some chopped pork, slaw, stew and 2 slices of white bread.
The pork comes covered in their vinegar based sauce and a warm sidecar of it as well. I liked the sauce – they keep it simple, no issues here with 6 different sauces on the table and trying to figure out which one you like, aside from a bottle of red pepper sauce and some more of the vinegar sauce on the table, it’s this or nothing, and this was pretty good. The chopped pork had flavor on it’s own and was not soggy, nor greasy. The ribs on the other hand didn’t show me much; pretty dull aside from the slather of sauce (which was not the vinegar sauce). The slaw is a creamy slaw, and they hit it with a little dill, but it was very mildly dill flavored. Stew was tangy and mild, lots of pork, corn, and tomatoes. I ate it all, and would go back for more. No ground meat in it, which is in my opinion a good thing.
This place has been around a long time, and frankly if they keep making good pork and stew they should stick around, so go give it a try and go back again and again. It really is an old brick pit, you can see it right behind the counter as soon as you walk in the door. Some folks have said online that if you go you will smell like the pit the rest of the day. That did not happen to me, but you could smell the smoke outside – always a good thing.
Ok, so it’s been way too long since I have posted anything new, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been eating some bbq from time to time!
The latest visit was to Good Smoke BBQ in East Rochester, NY. They prominently display over 100 trophies and awards for competitions and best-ofs, and most appeared to be from just the last few years or so.
We started with the Pig Candy, basically a big pile of bacon tossed in their rib glaze sauce. The bacon was pretty crisp and the sauce added a bit of sweetness, for the candy effect. My only complaint was that the bacon wasn’t hot. We were there just after they opened, I would hope this was made fresh, but it was surprisingly cool, to lukewarm at best. I think hot bacon would have caramelized the glaze, and frankly I just like hot bacon.
Sauces, they have six, all pretty good in my opinion. I liked the vinegar sauce the best. It was a little darker, so not as much like a typical North Carolina vinegar sauce. I swear I tasted Coca-Cola in it, maybe they let the Coke go flat and add it to the sauce…I don’t know, I may experiment with that myself.
All in all the food was good, too better. Certainly better than a lot of the typical Georgia style that I am regularly subjected to. I would put them close the being in the class with some of the standout joints in Georgia. Ribs were tender, seasoned, and cooked right. Mac-n-Cheese was good, but could have used a little flavor boost, salt or sharper cheese, our some hot sauce. I had the pulled pork sandwich, it seems they dip or soak their pulled pork in a sauce, otherwise I just don’t know how it had the color it did. It was good, but once all the food was delivered, I felt like I didn’t really have use for the 6 bottles of sauce on the table…Maybe had I just gotten a meat plate and not the sandwich they would not pre-sauce it. Cornbread squares are sweet and cakey, not my preference, but still tasty. I still think Weaver D’s in Athens, GA makes the best corn muffins.
I definitely recommend Good Smoke BBQ. I wish they would pump in some smoke scents into the restaurant, it was noticeably void of they delicious smell of smoking meat. The smokers are outside, and I was able to catch a whiff before we left, to know it was real, but yeah, the missing scent in the air was a noticeable void in the ambiance. I will also say they have a lot, but not too much on the menu so you can get a burger, or grilled chicken or fried bologna, or Cuban sandwich and take dining companions that may want more choices that pulled pork or ribs.
I ended up at Rick’s Smokin Pig in Gainesville, Georgia recently. It’s been a couple weeks since I was there so my memory of our is a little fuzzy, or it just wasn’t that memorable. I know I cleaned my plate so it wasn’t bad!
I recall the pork was prey good, definitely had some nice pieces of the “bark”on my bun. The meat comes dry on a bun, I went crazy used two sauces side by side; the Sweet and Spicy and the Original, both were good and tangy, I couldn’t decide which I liked better. The third was pig vinegar, obviously a vinegar base. I thought it tasted a bit earthy, but it wasn’t bad, might have been nice on some collards.
I had for sides as you can see, okra and mac-n-cheese. The okra, I would be shocked if it weren’t store bought frozen okra. He’ll I but it sometimes too, but the best joints bread it themselves. The mac was ok, again I ate it, but it didn’t stand out among the best I’ve had our made.
If you’re in the area and need some ‘cue, the Dillon Smokin Pig is worth a stop.
I made my first visit to Anna’s BBQ in the Kirkwood neighborhood of Atlanta this weekend, and I have to say it was quite good, definitely work a visit.
Anna’s is clearly a family run joint with family photos on the wall and mama in the kitchen cooking up some good ‘cue and sides. I had the ribs combo with pulled pork, Mac-n-cheese and collards. The ribs had a great smoke ring and were almost falling off the bone…some bbq judge might think they released the bone to easily, but I was the judge Saturday and I judge them delicious.
The pulled pork was tender, but with some great crispy bites from the outside of the butt. They put sauce on the pork and ribs, and there’s only one bbq sauce on the table, aside from a bottle of hot sauce. If you want to control your sauce, make sure to ask for the meat dry. However, the sauce, simple as it was too choose from one, was good; A little sweet, a little tangy, and nothin’ to shake a stick at. It was a good compliment to the meat.
Sides were good too, the Mac-n-cheese was a tad bland for my liking, but still good. I hit it with a dash of salt and was good to go. It’s real baked Mac, not some of the Velveeta slop some places try to pass off as macaroni and cheese. The collards were meaty, and a dash of pepper vinegar from the table bottle made them even better. My big old plate of food came with just one small cornbread muffin, I wish I had three it was so good, this is my kind of cornbread, reminded me of the muffins Weaver D makes over in Athens.
All-in-all, my first impression of Anna’s is that it’s a solid bbq joint where you will leave with a full belly and satisfied taste buds. The menu is fairly broad with ribs, pork, chicken, rib tips, wings, and I think brisket. A sign on the wall said they have a fried chicken special on Fridays, 3 full wings fried, and some sides. I want to go back for the fried wings!
Was down Newnan-way this week and stopped at Sprayberry’s for lunch…the one out by the interstate. It doesn’t have the same charm as the location in town but it has the bbq and really that’s all that matters. I had a chopped pork sandwich, slaw, and mac-n-cheese. It was all pretty good. I think next time I should try the sliced pork or even the whole fried catfish. The mac was homemade, but not the best, needed some salt and was kind of greasy or wet. The slaw is sliced cabbage, some green bell pepper, vinegar and sugar. I dislike green bell pepper so I could only taste the tannic nip of the pepper – not my style. I like a bit more complex slaw than these simple kinds…I’ve made the simple vinegar slaw myself too, it just needs a little more seasoning and color to be really good.They sauce the pork on the sandwich a little and then bring a dish to the table with extra for spooning on. It’s, as you can see bright, rich red thin and tangy; pretty good stuff. All-in-all Sprayberry’s is ok based on the couple of times I’ve been there. I’d stop again, but I’ve had much better ‘que elsewhere.
A few weeks back we were down on the coast and while in Charleston, SC for a day, sought to find good low country BBQ. We ended up at the James Island location of Melvin’s Ribs and Que.
Apparently the family history of this joint dates back to the 1930s and the secret sauce has been in the family since the beginning. There is another restaurant nearby called Bessinger’s Bar-Be-Que which is also related. Reading some of the history written on both places web sites, it sounds like there were a variety of restaurants over the years including a small chain of Piggie Parks, which are also a family spin-off and seemed to exist in great quantity around Columbia, SC. Also in reading about Melvin’s I see Melvin passed away in October of this year, just a few weeks before we visited.
So how was it? Good eats, the sides were standouts. All of the sides that we tried were good, the sweet potato souffle was like candy. Good collards, lima beans, mac-n-cheese, cornbread, really it was all good. I had my obligatory pulled pork plate and some ribs. The pork is hickory smoked and before they serve it, they pour on and mix in the secret sauce, which is a very good mustard vinegar low country sauce. They also had on the tables a Southern Red Sauce, which didn’t show me much. It seemed to be just some ketchup stirred into the regular yellow sauce. Stick with the classic. They also sell their sauces by the bottle or the gallon (or maybe it was half gallon; it was a big glass jug!) A couple other varieties of sauce were available by the bottle as well.
I really enjoyed the pork, it was tender, hard not to be soaked in sauce, and flavorful. My wife had the smoked chicken and spoke highly of it, as I recall I didn’t get a bite! When ordering I wanted ribs too, but not a $19 combo plate. When I asked the kid behind the register if I could just get a single rib sampler he recommended I get the kids rib meal, which worked perfectly – my 3 yr old could eat sides and I got my 3 rib sampler. The ribs had good flavor, but were a bot dry, probably the only part of the meal that was a bummer.
If you eat in at Melvin’s they have a pickle bar with whole jalpenos, banana peppers, cherry peppers, and a spicy garden mix. Good stuff to much on while waiting for and with your bbq.
I recommend Melvin’s if you are in Charleston. Good for the whole family.