Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Moonie's Texas Barbecue (Flowery Branch, GA)

5545 Atlanta Highway
Flowery Branch, GA 30542

Moonie's Texas Barbecue on Urbanspoon

A Texas-style BBQ joint in Georgia...really original. We're already littered with many places making this claim. Some really good (Fox Brothers BBQ) and many not worth your time at all. But no, Moonie's isn't just "Texas-style" or Texas inspired, this is a real-deal Texas Barbecue joint that somehow has made its way into Georgia's graces. From the woods used, decor, meats offered, and beer selection, this place feels like you've stepped straight into some outlying town near Austin. Our friends at Socks Love Rub were actually the first to let us know about this up and coming BBQ spot in Flowery Branch near their house . I don't know much about Flowery Branch besides that the Atlanta Falcons train and are headquartered there. It's nowhere near where I live so I made a special trip to see how this food could compare to anything we've tried to date.

We pulled into Moonie's on a Friday evening around 6PM. I made sure to call ahead to ensure nothing was sold out just yet. With the limited hours I've heard Moonie's sells out more often than not. As soon as we got out of the car Jamie and I immediately noticed something different in the air. It wasn't your typical hickory log smoke that most Georgia BBQ restaurants use. There's nothing wrong with hickory. I actually enjoy it. This was post oak though. Post oak is something that you'll find at a lot of Texas joints across the state. I didn't realize how different it smelled until our Georgia BBQ adventures began. I haven't had enough experience with woods to be able to just pick smells out of the air (just yet), but it didn't take much to know that this wasn't our usual wood smoking. The outside has a small resemblance to Louie Mueller BBQ in Taylor, TX. It even has the double flags out front signifying if meat is sold out yet (flag's up, you're in luck...down, sold out). 

Once inside, the line was already formed about seven people deep. There's meat by the pound as well as some "plates" that Moonie offers (all served on butcher paper). Moonie (computer programmer by day) and family just recently joined the Atlanta BBQ scene after moving from the Austin area a couple years ago. After a lot of hard work, the doors finally opened to his dream job in the summer of 2011. When you walk in though it's still evident that Texas is very close to their hearts. Lone Star beer waits in the tubs while the Texas staples such as brisket, sausage, and ribs are available by the pound. Pulled pork and turkey are also available if the Texas trinity doesn't particularly do it for you. The sides are simple and few including baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, and creamed corn.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cowboy's BBQ (Covington, GA)

1066 Highway 142
Covington, GA 30014

Cowboy’s Barbecue on Urbanspoon

After no luck finding BBQ anywhere between Atlanta and Augusta on a Monday night, I was able to find a little BBQ spot off of I-20 in Covington later that week. Cowboy's BBQ is easy to miss since it's attached to a small gas station on Highway 142. BBQ might be the only type of food that can be more promising when attached to a gas station. I decided to pull over and give this two year old BBQ joint a try. The stale cowboy decor was a little offsetting at first, but I made sure to try and keep an open mind for their food.

Once inside the faux corny corral, I pulled up a chair and placed my order with the sweet waitress behind the counter. I'd try the baby back ribs, pulled pork, and brisket today. With a name like "Cowboy's" they better have some decent brisket. I ordered my brisket from the moist end to give them their best shot at quality BBQ. I noticed the smokehouse outside that housed either an Ole Hickory or Southern Pride smoker the best I could tell (owner later confirmed it was an end-loading Ole Hickory). I waited about fifteen minutes for my manly meat plate to arrive.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spiced Right Rib House (Roswell, GA)

635 Atlanta Street
Roswell, GA 30075

Spiced Right Ribhouse BBQ on Urbanspoon

A lot of people ask me how I can eat BBQ every day. It's actually pretty simple...I don't. As much as I wish I could, it's not always possible. This past week I had a craving for some properly smoked meat. Usually when this occurs, I'll hit up some of my favorite spots such as Fox Brothers, Community Q, Heirloom, or G.C. BBQ. I try to keep official "hunts" reserved for other times just in case it happens to disappoint and can't satisfy my "carnivorous craving." It's kind of our rule. If we're craving BBQ, then don't do a "BBQ Hunt." I made an exception to this rule for Spiced Right Rib House to hopefully quell the hunger. We didn't make this exception because we've necessarily heard great things about the Rib House, but it was mainly due to convenience and hunger pangs.

We pull up...empty restaurant. I try to make conversation with the young man working the register. He informs me that he thinks Spiced Right uses pine for their smoking. This can't be true and our small talk is over. If you don't know, pine is considered a resinous wood. These types of woods can burn off harmful toxins or tars in the smoke and thus aren't usually used for BBQ. The smoke byproducts can sometimes cause allergic reactions or just make you plain sick. We placed our order of brisket, ribs, and pulled pork with two Lone Stars and hoped for the best.