Saturday, January 22, 2011

All BBQ is not equal

My family loves bbq. Well, my family loves food and to quote my momma, "We're from south Mississippi, and we know what's good!" Now that we all live in Georgia, we still know what's good! LOL At least what we think is good anyway.  I have discovered that not all bbq is created equal, some bbq places are really good some are so-so and some are plain awful. I have noticed that in all of our bbq tasting, that different parts of the country have different styles of bbq. And what's good to me, might not be to you and vice a versa.

SO here's the run down of some of our family's favorites. I will mention the not so favorite places too, but will not mention their restaurant names as to protect the well, or not so innocent, because if it tastes bad it ought not be served!

Our number 1  favorite place is Sticky Fingers in Chattanooga TN. My hubby loves ribs (I don't) but I did split an order with him there...and from a non rib lover these were awesome! The meat was tender, fell right off the bone  and did not get stuck in my teeth...( A good rib is tender and the meat should not get stuck in your teeth) LOL We had the dry rub....totally awesome...hit the spot. My oldest boy had the ribs with the sauce on it, he liked the sauce better than the dry...but he raved over their ribs. On another visit, I had their bbq pork sandwich was pretty awesome too.

Our Number 2 pick is Poole's BBQ in the N Georgia Mountains. We love trying mom and pop local restaurants instead of chains, but we do eat at chains too. We knew this place must be a hit because when it opens the parking lot is always full and usually there's lots of bikes there...Bikers don't eat bad food! So we gave it a try. VERY down home, friendly, great service...great sweet tea and their BBQ pork sandwich was the best ever and this place wins the sauce award...loved their sauce. I wished I would have ordered a Large sandwich here instead of the regular. So if you're headed to the mountains in the fall to see the leaves turn yellow or if you're just up there anytime try Poole's BBQ. You can't miss it! It's a yellow building with Pig tombstones allover the yard!

Jim n Nicks is # 3 on our list. It's actually a chain, but the food is always good! The cheesy muffins brought out before a meal are great. You can't eat just one! We have tried lots on their menu. The smell of bbq permeates the air as you drive up...I love their bbq sandwich, their hamburgers and even their catfish (cause it's farm-raised form MS) But fried catfish is another blog entry for later.

Number 4 is Shane's Rib Shack in McDonough GA. We live very close to the Original shack. It opened just a few years ago, and has been a hit and is now a chain. Shane's is noted for their generous portions, you do get a lot of food  for the money here. His sauce is one of the BEST! Everything at this restaurant is good and believe family has tried a lot off their menu. We love the ribs, and pork sandwich, chicken wings and the fried okra is my favorite side!

Number 5 is Glenn's BBQ in Conyers , GA. When we first moved here over 20 years ago. Hubby and I would eat here every Thursday night. Several years later the family owned business decided to retire, but recently they have re-opened  in a bigger place with charming decor and the food is as good as I remember.

Number 6 on our list is OB's BBQ in McDonough GA. It has good family atmosphere, a fire roars in the fireplace in the winter, the smoked chicken is delightful, the brunswick stew is one of the best. The Savannah chicken salad made with their smoked chicken is great! The portions are generous and the price is reasonable.

The above BBQ joints are hits with my crew, but over the years we have met with a few "fails" as my oldest would say. Recently, we have hit two down right "bombs" and we would not recommend them to anyone. I will only describe our experiences with out revealing their actual whereabouts because maybe just maybe we hit them on an off day, but I don't think so!

Our first recent "bomb" of a resturant came as quite of a shock to us...we were expecting great things as the name of the resturant has a successful cooking show on tv. This  bbq place was located in TN. We found the place located on a river and the atmosphere was nice, the staff was friendly, but the food was less than delightful. I chose a side that I had never heard of and thought I'd give it a try. I had bbq spaghetti. Not only did it taste bad it did not present well on the plate either...the bbq beef seemed dry and tough as well. None of us were pleased with our lunch choice of the day, but the sweet tea was good!

Our next "fail" also came as a shock to us because we had heard so much about the restaurant , some had given it rave reviews.  The restaurant was family owned for over 80 years and located in a town not too far from our home, so I had high hopes, but I was disappointed. I ordered the bbq beef, chopped with Brunswick stew on the side. When the waitress brought our food, my youngest said to me that the stew looked like Emily's dog food...I was hoping he didn't say it loud enough for the waitress to hear. My oldest, later said it looked like something else to him, but I won't mention that here. My hubby ordered bbq chicken and was expecting bbq chicken on the bone like a 1/4 chicken...nope he received 2 boneless char grilled chicken breasts similar to those you purchase in your local Sam's store, and it was topped with bbq sauce. He also ordered a side salad, which was a saucer full of lettuce shreds with a few tomatoes on top, since he picks off tomatoes, he basically had a plate of salad shreds. Salad shreds and a few tomatoes does not a salad make! If you're going make a salad, make a salad! Their bbq sauce has a very vinegary based sauce that actually burned my throat. BUT many people do enjoy the vinegar based sauce, but not us. The price was also very high. So not only was our taste buds dissatisfied so was our wallet!
I took a photo of the food that my youngest said resembled our dog's dogfood.

Like I have said before, we enjoy eating and trying new places. We enjoy bbq, but as with everything, different strokes for different folks. Some people like what others don't. I hope you have enjoyed reading our take on our favorite and not so favorite bbq places around the southeast


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