Good Smoke BBQ, East Rochester, NY

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Rick’s Smokin Pig, Gainesville, Georgia

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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! 

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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.

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If you’re in the area and need some ‘cue, the Dillon Smokin Pig is worth a stop.

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Anna’s BBQ, Kirkwood

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Ribs ready to eat

A great spring weekend is about to come to a close with some tasty memphis style ribs.

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No. 68 Melvin’s Legendary Bar-B-Q since 1939

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.

Melvin's Ribs & 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.

Melvin's chicken with collards and limas

Melvin’s chicken with collards and limas

Melvin' pork plate with collards and sweet potato souffle

Melvin’ pork plate with collards and sweet potato souffle

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.

Melvin's Sauces

Southern Red and Classic Yellow bbq sauces at Melvin’s

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.

Melvin's Ribs

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.

Melvin's pickle bar

Melvin’s pickle bar

I recommend Melvin’s if you are in Charleston. Good for the whole family.


No. 66 Thatcher’s Barbeque and Grill

Mmmmm pork

If you are in northwest Georgia, and find your way to the town of Trenton, you might as well make a stop at Thatcher’s and have some tasty ‘que. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Cloudland Canyon State Park a number of times in recent years, but this is the first time we descend the west side of the mountain and visited Trenton. I am glad we did because I did not leave disappointed.

Thatcher's Barbeque & Grill

Thatcher’s is half walk-up, half sit-down. I didn’t go in, but there was what appeared to be a small indoor dining room off to the side of the walk-up window and beyond that a cozy screened porch with a good number of tables and what looked to be old BW3s booths reclaimed for the porch. We got our orders from the walk-up window and took a seat at picnic tables in the shade.

Thatcher's mighty menu

The menu is expansive. All of your typical bbq goodies, and the sandwiches, and burgers, and wings, but none of it feels like it doesn’t belong. They have a variety of nachos which they call shovels, and a variety of buckets which are tots or fries, all of which are topped with any number of mouthwatering toppings. Take for instance the Porky Bucket full of tots topped with melted cheddar cheese, pork and bbq sauce. Then there is the spud patch, at least 9 different baked potato options, again all stuffed with a variety of deliciousness. I need to tried the Chick N’ Green spud that is topped with grilled chicken, mozzarella, fried broccoli cheese bites, butter, and sour cream. Others include the Cowboy Pork Spud, the Bacon Spud and the Philly Spud. Thatcher’s seasonally serves brunswick stew and chili (October thru March).

pork okra, mac-n-cheese, slaw

I had the pulled and chopped pork plate with okra, mac-n-cheese, slaw, and a piece of Texas toast. The pork was smokey, tender, and flavorful. It came with a side of thick deep red tangy sauce that was a good compliment to the meat. The mac-n-cheese, man talk about cheesy, it was ooey-gooey, awesomely cheesy. That’s the kind of macaroni and cheese I want to arrive when I order from a bbq joint. They used a big tube pasta, penne. I think some of the best I’ve had over the years have been penne and rigatoni pastas loaded with cheese and baked to perfection. The okra was delicious, light batter and fried right.  Slaw was good too, a creamy style, but not overly so.

holy mac and cheesy batman!

Recommended

Good Hours: Monday through Saturday 11-9

Take credit cards


No.64 Whistling Pig Cafe

I visited Pine Mountain, Georgia and Franklin Delano Roosevelt State Park today and while in town had the chance to get some ‘que. We went to the Whistling Pig Cafe on Main Street. The cafe has a full bbq menu, but also serves a number of other menu items including some very good looking cakes. I am still kicking myself for not grabbing a piece of the electric green key lime cake! I did have the large chopped pork bbq sandwich, two sides (fried okra and their sweet and spicy beans), and a sweet tea which was all of $10 with a tip. It was good stuff. The meat was very tender and moist, served on a large bun topped with a couple of pickles and a sweet dark red sauce. The fried okra was hot crisp and tasty – pretty sure it was just prebreaded frozen stuff, but whatever, it’s good eats. The sweet and spicy beans are their version of baked beans/pork and beans. they had good flavor, not as spicy as one might have expected, but good nonetheless – I used my last piece of okra to sweep the last drips of bean sauce from the cup.

One of my dining companions got the burger, and insisted it was a valid choice over BBQ because they make a good burger. I’ll take his word for, especially since he’s been there a few times. Another at our table got the q-tater, a nice fat baked potato stuffed full of chopped pork – it sounds popular since he raved about it and the server told us they can go through 40 or 50 a day!

Sauces – there were two on the table, one a bit brighter red with a tinge of heat and another that was deep, dark, brown-red in color – must have been packed full of molasses. Both were very tasty. Overall I was quite content with my lunch today and certainly a lot of others like the place – for a Wed. afternoon the line certainly kept growing while we were there. I recommend a visit if you are in town visiting FDR State Park, the Little White House or Callaway Gardens. There is another bbq joint up the street called 3 Little Pigs – I’ll have to try that one next time I am in town.