Archive for the 'BBQ' Category

BBQ Thursday: Smokin Pig, Clemson SC

Smokin Pig

This weekend the wife and I made a short run up to Clemson to visit a good friend and scout out some barbeque before this weekend’s trip.  I knew they would probably be too crowded this weekend and our friend kept telling me all summer that the Grit Tree better do a BBQ Post for The Smokin Pig before the game.  He kept saying that the Smokin Pig was worth the drive over but wouldn’t say more so not to sway my opinion.  So who am I to turn down a BBQ invitation?  And let me say, it was good.  The best description of this place came while we were eating when he said you can find a joint that does one thing exceptionally well but this place does everything good.

The Smokin Pig looks like it may have been an old garage and has a nice waiting area outside with corn hole and tether ball, benches and a large menu board to contemplate while you wait.  We might have waited five minutes and then were called inside to order in a line and then search for a table in a packed restaurant.  Apparently we weren’t the only people who were thinking BBQ Saturday.

Smokin Pig menu

We must have hit the restaurant at a small lull around 1:00 because the wait outside was 5 minutes, no wait in line and we had our food within 10 minutes.  But right after we sat down the place became swamped so I can see why our friend said we may have to wait a while. I decided to go with the pork, brisket and wet rib plate with a side of stew and okra. Among the table we also had some dry ribs, sweet potato fries and sweet potato crunch.  If you go, get a side of sweet potato fries covered in honey and eat them as soon as they hit the table cause they’re much better hot.

All in all I was very happy with the que.  The wet ribs had a very nice crust on the outside and were not sloppy sauced while the dry ribs were good but I still preferred the wet.  The pulled pork had a good smoke flavor but did need a little sauce.  On the table was a sweet molasses which I wasn’t a fan of, a Carolina gold which was very good, a hot which was just the sweet with red pepper but the pepper improved the sauce greatly and a vinegar sauce which fit the pork perfectly. After we finished eating I was told there is an extra hot sauce that is very good but you have to ask your waitress for this. Next time I’ll know. The Brunswick stew was a thin tomato base with pulled pork added which gave it a great smoke flavor but had a tad too much corn for my liking and I know Corbin would refuse to eat any because I found a hunk of potato sunk to the bottom. Now my wife’s favorite part was the brisket. It was so slow cooked that it tasted like roast beef but if you get a bite with the fat cap and burnt seasoning on the outside it couldn’t be beat. Oh and they serve all the plates with a damn good yeast roll.

My Clemson friend asked that I grade the barbeque just to give an idea of my opinion. Keep in mind I also love MAC football and hate wearing shoes so takes these numbers with a grain of salt.
Pulled Pork: 6.5/10 Great smoke flavor but not terribly juicy
Wet Ribs: 8/10 Great crust, moist and not overpowering sauce
Brisket: 8/10 Extremly tender with nice burnt end crisp and fat
Sweet Potato fries: 12/10
Facial Hair: 10/10 Now this place is staffed by all college kids and when we were done eating my friend asked our waitress, who kept our glasses full the whole time which I think is key to a good restaurant (BTW she did not have a beard), about tailgate options.   Well she sent over a young guy who looked like Grizzly Adams with a man beard to give us the low down on the catering menu.  Very nice guy and when we were done sealed the conversation with a strong hand shake.  What more can you ask for?

So if you are passing through the Upstate and have time, I’d definitely recommend the Smokin Pig.


Smokin Pig plate*So I was an idiot and took a picture of the table instead of my plate so here’s a picture off their facebook page.

BBQ Thursday: Fincher’s

Fincher’s Bar B Q


This past weekend the wife and I made a short trip south to see Corbin and his new “pup” and let me say to everyone and especially BuyPropertyUcheeDawg, she is as sweet as her mother and did not cry once while we were there.  But back to the reason why everyone came to visit us from Dawgbone; if I was going to be meeting up with Corbin we had to have some barbecue for lunch.  I had planned the trip earlier in the week to get to Macon around 1:00 and stop for BBQ at Holcomb’s in Greensboro but Mrs. Corbin asked that we come a little earlier so I had to save Holcomb’s for another day.

Once in Macon and after visiting with the pup, Corbin and I ventured out to pick up BBQ and bring it back home to the ladies.  Our first stop was at Satterfield’s but they are only open during the week so Corbin suggested that we try the Macon favorite of Fincher’s.  Now, either because he was looking out for his guest or values his own life, he took me to their location on the Gray highway and not the original location on Houston Road.  Fincher’s has the look of an old fast food diner with the kitchen in the back, counter at the front and a few tables to the side.  Not too much inside seating but that’s okay.  We got the family pack which was two pounds of pork, a pack of buns, stew, and a side of slaw and headed home.  This was very reasonably priced at $25.


The stew was good, as you can see from the picture it was a little runny but if I would have had it in a bowl with balls of white bread it would have been great.  Poor planning on my part.  Now to the BBQ.  As my wife says, I was way too harsh on this que.  It was moist, had some smoke flavor but not too much, pulled nicely but they killed it in sauce.  They didn’t smoke this pig, they drowned him.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decently good sauce with vinegar and mustard flavors but I hate when restaurants sauce their meat before serving it to you.  All in all we enjoyed the BBQ.  Fincher’s is the type of place that is good, I would eat again if offered to me but I would not drive from Athens just to try again.  It’s BBQ that I would eat for lunch on Friday but I can’t in good faith crown it the best of Macon.  So Macon readers, how far off was I in my assessment?


BBQ Thursday: Pulaski Heights Edition



Pulaski Heights BBQPulaski Heights BBQ

Saturday the wife and I had some time to kill before a full day of running around town and neither one of us wanted to fix lunch at home.  So I thought that was a perfect reason to get out and try the new BBQ joint just off downtown in Athens.  Honestly, anytime is a good excuse to go eat BBQ but it makes the sale easier if I can come up with a reason.  Pulaski Heights BBQ is located on Pulaski Street just north of downtown and St. Joseph’s Church.  Go down through the little neighborhood until you reach the train tracks and the Leathers Building will be on your left.

A little background first.  Pulaski is owned by the former executive chef at Five and Ten but does not have a coat and tie feel to it.  The restaurant is located in the Leather’s Building which used to factory so the inside has an open feel with exposed beams and wood, concrete floors and just the right amount of Athens townie.  They also have a nice area outside for when the weather gets warmer and a nice large bar.  The wife and I got in just before any of the lunch crowd so we decided to sit upstairs which has huge glass and a nice view.

We both decided to go with the pulled pork and I got mine with a very large fresh baked roll and she got her’s with a corn tortilla.  Honestly, the roll was so large and the bbq so good it didn’t need to be on a sandwich but she said the corn tortilla was just the perfect amount of bread to meat ratio.  Now the BBQ was great.  I’d say the best in Athens.  Nice burnt edges.  Great smoke ring.  Very moist, and really doesn’t need any sauce.  If you want any, doesn’t need it, they have two sauces; one a sweet ketchup base with just a little kick and a oil and vinegar sauce with spices.  The two combined are good but once again, not needed.  As for the sides we got smoked cauliflower which wasn’t great, potato salad which was pretty good and the stew which was just tomato based with pulled pork and corn.  Not bad but would choose something else next time.  This place does meat and does it well and when I’m looking for bbq that’s all I really care about.  Now they do serve all the pork with a few house made pickles which are great.

So all in all, the best BBQ I’ve had in Athens, I’d recommend it to anybody and as soon as I can I plan on going back to try their ribs.


If you want a more complete write up, check out the Banner Herald’s take.

Call For BBQ Reviews

When we started the Grit Tree, our original goal was to provide UGA Football commentary, but also present a different take on things throughout the year.  We can only talk about basketball and recruiting so much.  So we decided to have some BBQ Reviews of different joints across the state.  Well, that has kinda of slacked off recently.

So in an order to help bolster our content AND make things more user friendly, we are having an open call to BBQ Reviews.  If there is your favorite BBQ joint and you want the world to know about it, go there, order a plate, take a few pictures with that smart phone, write a review, and email us the review.  In the review, include the resturant’s address and website.  Email us at thegrittree (@) gmail (.) com.  If you travel around the state, and want to send multiple reviews, that is fine.  Don’t feel like there is a limit to the participation!  Also include your name or screen name.  We’ll post these as we get them on Thursdays each week.  And if the place you go to is bad, it is ok to write a negative review.  Don’t be afraid to speak the truth.

Bon Appetit!

The Grit Tree

BBQ Thursday- Daddy D’z BBQ Joynt

No doubt that many of our faithful readers will make the trek to Atlanta this Saturday to watch our Dawgs play Horse Mouth Moore and the Broncos from Idaho. I’m going to recommend a bbq joint, or as they call it, joynt, that you must put on your agenda for an early lunch.

Daddy D’z BBQ Joynt may be the best bbq in the state. It’s not at #1 on my list, but it’s up there. Many I talk to, including my beautiful mom, do have it at the very top. It’s hard to fault. The ‘cue is simply out of this world. Mouth watering, tender juicy meat, cooked by local Atlantan’s. I won’t give the typical review today; instead I’ll simply encourage you to try it out for yourself, either this Saturday or another time. It’s near the Ted, just google it and you can find directions. Easy to get to off I-75, it’s easily one of the gems of Georgia.


It may  not look like much from the outside, but as we all know, that’s where you find the best ‘cue. This is true, southern style, soul cooked bbq. Instead of ranking everything on the menu, I’ll just tell you that it’s north of 4.5 out of 5 in every area.

And a view from inside…

And finally, I’ll leave you with a peak at their meat. If this doesn’t make you crave some ‘cue today, you’re not Southern.


Do yourself a favor and stop by Daddy D’z BBQ Joynt soon. You can thank me later. Go Dawgs!


Light BBQ Reading

Garden and Gun has ranked their top bbq sandwiches. They’re scattered across the greater Southeast, so I expect there are a lot of new ideas in their list. Either way, it should fuel your hunger for bbq on this hot Wednesday. Maybe we’ll rank our top 21 one day.


BBQ Thursday: The Butt Hutt

The Butt Hutt

We’ve covered BBQ in Athens before, but there’s one place that has become one of my favorites: The Butt Hutt.  My roommate and his girlfriend ate there a few months ago, so I decided to try it then. All I can remember about my first time at Butt Hutt was that I had to come back. I went last week to have their full meal.

The Butt Hutt is located next to UGA campus on Baxter Street between Lumpkin and Milledge, located in the same building as Jimbo’s Gas Station.   I think it has become so popular that they have opened another one in Elberton, Ga.

You can tell the pic is dated. We haven't had clouds & rain since March...

End of a Gas Station

The owners know their BBQ trinity of meat, stew & slaw, and they pull off all three really well.  I ordered the BBQ pork plate so I could try all three, and it was excellent! The plate:

Meat 4.75/5
I like my pulled pork moist, with smoky flavor, and served plain.  This meat was all three.

Stew 5/5
Like my fellow posters, I’m picky about my stew.  A bad stew can ruin an entirely good BBQ meal, but that’s just my opinion.  Butt Hutt’s stew was right on the money.  It was a great balance of all the ingredients plus a little bit of kick. And after having it  I loved the fact that i had more stew than BBQ meat (which is saying a lot).

Slaw 4/5
The Butt Hutt offers two different types of slaw, vinegar based and mayo based. I talked the waitress into getting me half of one and half of the other so I could try them both out. The slaw was made fresh. It was more cubed than rough chopped, which didn’t bother me. They were both good, but I was more a fan of the mayo based slaw.  The vinegar based slaw with the vinegar sauce on the BBQ was just a little too much vinegar.  All in all, the variety was nice, but I’ve had better.

Sauce 4/5
The Butt Hutt offers 4 sauces Sweet, Vinegar, Hot, Mild. Now, in my opinion sauces are good to have, but if the meat is cooked right you don’t really need it.  All of the sauces were good and you could use them to mix and match.  If you like all of your BBQ Vinegar, you can get the Vinegar slaw and use the Vinegar sauce– same with Mayo Slaw and Sweet Sauce.

Environment 5/5
Not to mention that you basically park a gas station, the Butt Hutt looks like a BBQ restaurant in Athens should. There’s only room for seating around 20 in the place, plus there is red and UGA stuff everywhere. The first time I went, Mike “Big Dawg” Woods was there eating and talking about about the football team with the waitress. Awesome stuff.

The Wall

The Wall

If you’re ever in Athens around lunch or supper, check out the folks at The Butt Hutt. You won’t be disappointed.


And… picture to leave you with:

I think this was the Big Dawg's truck

BBQ Thursday- Smoakies Bar-B-Que, Crisp County, GA

Smoakies Bar-B-Que

I have traveled down Hwy. 257 south a thousand times in my life, passing Smoakies Bar-B-Que each time as I travel into Cordele on my way to I-75. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I have never stopped. Maybe it’s because I always stopped at AB’s in Hawkinsville, Scott’s in Cochran, or waited until Tifton or Valdosta to eat ‘cue. My wife has been on me to try this “cute little place outside of Cordele” for quite some time. It just so worked out that she and I could meet there earlier this week, and I will not make the mistake of waiting so long to dine there again.

Smoakies Bar-B-Que, referred to simply as Smoakies from here on out, is a small block building in the middle of nowhere outside of Cordele, GA on Hwy. 257. On the outside of this block building is a mural of a tree with a bear in it. There’s a rough parking lot with a billboard outside announcing you’ve arrived. If you’re not a native, it’s probably an easy place to cruise on past. That’s probably the main reason I’ve never stopped before. The smokehouse is out back and you’re greeted by two palm trees in big pots as you enter. There’s also a Pepsi machine outside, though I’m not really sure why. As I sat in the parking lot, or whatever you call it, I couldn’t help but notice the amount of folks pulling in and out. I thought to myself that we must be in for a treat.

The service at Smoakies was absolutely top notch. As soon as we walked in, a man, presumably the son of the original owner, greeted my wife and I and told us to have a seat. What stuck out to me was that this gentleman was wearing a starched white shirt and a tie, along with his blue jeans. He was a very gracious host, very kind and eager to serve. We had tea on our table instantly. He also mentioned that his mom makes a fresh batch of banana pudding every morning. I told him to go ahead and plan on bringing us out a large portion after we had the ‘cue. It seems that this is a multi-generational business, completely family run. I don’t know this to be fact, but that was the assumption I made.

After glancing at the menu, we ordered. I had the usual- sandwich, stew and slaw, while my wife opted for a plate of pulled pork, onion rings and stew. Lucky for me, I got to eat most of hers after I finished mine.

So…on to the meal. The food was brought out really quickly. The tea was just good ol’ South Georgia sweet tea. It wasn’t overly sweet, but just right. They offered a wide variety of sauces- a mild vinegar based, a mild mustard based, rib sauce and chicken sauce, both a little hotter. I had to try them all and decided that I liked the mild vinegar based the best. Purely personal preference; my wife liked the mustard based a lot.

The sandwich was very good. They did not have any sauce on their meat, which I like. Don’t mess with the meat, let the patrons do that. It was moist, tender, and very good. The sandwich was plenty for me, and I didn’t even order the large. I topped it off with a touch of the vinegar based bbq sauce and couldn’t put it down. While it wasn’t the absolute best bbq I’ve ever had, it definitely ranks up near the top. The meat was very fresh and seemed like it had just been pulled. Again, I reiterate that it was very tender. On my personal scale of 1-5, I give it a 4.5. Simply put, it was good.

The stew was almost as good as I’ve had. My wife raved on and on about it. I told her she could rank it, and she began by giving it a 5! I talked her down a little, because it’s hard to beat Mrs. Gayle’s stew, which is the only perfect 5 I’ve ever had, so she conceded and gave it a 4.5. I probably would have given it a 4.25, but that’s being picky. It was a stewy stew, mixed well and very consistent. I could have eaten more, given the chance.

I was also very impressed with the slaw. Slaw, when done right, can really compliment a bbq meal. This slaw was done well. It wasn’t runny, nor was it too thick. I’ll judge their slaw on a comparative basis- though it wasn’t as good as their ‘que nor their stew, it was as good as any slaw I can remember at a bbq joint. That said, I’ll gladly give their stew a 4.75, a really strong rating! It was the perfect complement to a sandwich, stew and tea.

After demolishing my plate and cleaning up my wife’s, our gracious host brought out the banana pudding. I am here to tell you, that was possibly the best banana pudding I have ever had (sorry, grandma.) You could tell that this gentlemen’s mother puts a little extra love and care into her desserts. It was simply  outstanding. I rarely give out a perfect rating for anything, but this fine lady deserves a 5 of 5 for her banana pudding. If you are ever in the area, even if you’re not hungry, do yourself a favor and stop in for a bowl of her banana pudding. You’ll thank me later. I could go on and on about how good her pudding was, but you get the point.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable visit to a quaint little barbecue joint in rural South Georgia. The atmosphere was excellent, exactly what you envision when thinking about a small ‘cue joint in rural Georgia. Small block building, family run business, a dozen tables inside, it was ideal. Smoakies gets my overwhelming approval, and I strongly encourage you to make a stop by if you’re ever outside of Cordele. It’s not 2 miles away from I-75, Exit 102, so you don’t have to travel too far off the beaten path. However, it seems as if you’re in the middle of nowhere when you arrive. The service was perfect, and you could tell without a doubt that you were in the South. I can’t wait for my next chance to stop at Smoakies Bar-B-Que. Do yourself the favor and drop in when you can.


BBQ is not a Verb

I’d like to draw your attention to a new blog that has entered the blogosphere: BBQ is not a Verb. Though in its infant stage, I expect great things. Or at least another venue to read about something we all as southerners know a little something about.

Enjoy yourself some ‘cue from your favorite local joint while you watch the Weekend Rounds of the Masters!


BBQ Thursday: Blue Ridge Mountain BBQ

Had to go to Blue Ridge last week, where I got to tour a trout farm, so it was quite a haul up there.  But the sun was shining, there was a Jimmy Buffett concert replay on XM 55, and I made my mind up early in the morning I was going to eat some ‘cue for lunch.  Life was good.

I decided to try Blue Ridge Mountain BBQ, right off downtown Blue Ridge (note:  if you are ever indowntown Blue Ridge, there is a used bookstore that has some neat books.  I was there last winter and bought Elvis is Dead and I Don’t Feel So Good Myself for under $20.  They had a bunch of other Lewis Grizzard books.) 

The building seemed to be a relatively newer place, and like every other tourist town in North Georgia, the place was a log cabin.  The inside was decorated with old signs, but not authentic old signs; the old signs you buy at the Cracker Barrel.

Just a side note for any travelers:  they are closed Mondays.  There was a good lunch crowd, and the menu had a lot of different choices.

I ordered a BBQ Sandwich combo with a side of Brunswick Stew and a sweet tea.

Very large portion.   It was priced pretty good…all that for around $7.  I had to scrape some of the meat off the sandwich and just eat it out the basket.  That was the only way I could negotiate such a large sandwich. 

The tea was good.  Not too sweet, but just right.

First, the stew.  It had a very strong tomato taste.  Very strong.  Not that it was a bad thing.  The stew was good, just a little different.  Not the best, but I didn’t think it was all that bad.   

Now the big boy sandwich.  Must say, I was disappointed.  The sandwich was quite hard to eat.  The meat had very nice smoky flavor.  Flavor was excellent, but I found the meat to be a little dry.  Seemed like yesterday’s meat. 

Some folks will tell you that real BBQ doesn’t need any sauce.  Well, that is true in some cases, but I do enjoy sauce.  Blue Ridge Mountain BBQ had lots of different sauces to choose from:

Hot (red bottle), Sweet (yellow bottle), Vinegar and Mild (clear bottle).  Like I said, I like sauce, especially when the meat left some to be desired.  Well, the sauce here was not that impressive.  There was no discernible difference between the sweet and hot sauces.  The Vinegar sauce was almost like putting water on the meat.

Perhaps I caught them on a bad day.  Not a totally bad place.  Not as bad Georgia Bob’s.  But it just wasn’t all that good.  On the way home, I passed a sign for a place called the Pink Pig just south of Blue Ridge.  I wish I had eaten there.



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