206 North Tennessee Street
Cartersville, GA 30120
Another spot that's been on my short list recently has been Scott's Walk-Up Bar-B-Que in Cartersville, GA. You walk up to the restaurant, walk up to the counter, place your order, and wait for the food to be brought out to you. I suppose a lot of BBQ places these days share the same "business model," but it still makes for an interesting BBQ joint name. I've heard that owner, Scott Panter, was very involved in the BBQ competition scene with a lot of success before deciding to open up his brick and mortar restaurant. Restaurant BBQ and competition BBQ aren't always a seamless transition so I was curious on what kind of food would make its way to the table. Restaurant BBQ and competition BBQ are two completely different beasts. Competition style focuses on one bite of BBQ while the other aims to make a great meal.
The GBH team had one of our most memorable BBQ experiences on our first ever visit to Scott's. When we "walked up" and sat inside we both noticed how quiet and dimly lit the whole place was. It had a "Walking Dead" post-zombie-apocalypse feel. This isn't usually the mood you try to achieve at a BBQ spot. It was shortly announced that all the power was out which made a little more sense. My best non-electrical background explanation was that some of the wires had crossed near one of the breakers. That sounds pretty official, right? Anyways, we were still able to place our orders even though there was no ice or active credit card machines. They said if we didn't have cash that we could just come back later and square everything up. Now that's good people.
My $20 bill was worth a half pound of pulled pork, half rack of ribs, one all beef sausage link, and a side of baked beans...not too bad. Scott's only serves brisket on Fridays and we were in luck because it was Friday! We were also shortly out of luck since their three briskets that they cook sold out by noon and it was 12:30. Scott uses a gas-wood fueled Southern Pride smoker which hopefully wouldn't let anything get too far off the path of edible BBQ.
The pulled pork we indulged in was pulled into long, fresh, flavorful strands of pork shoulder interwined with smoke-kissed, delicious pieces of outer bark. No sauce needed here, folks. While a pork butt might be one of the easiest things to smoke, it's still nice to see places do it well. More than 75% of places we visit can't decently smoke a pork butt which should tell you a lot about the rest of the menu. Our meal went down hill after the pulled pork though. The ribs were old, tough, and greasy. The all beef sausage tasted like it was straight out of a pack of Oscar Meyers. That's not a good thing in the BBQ world.
I know I've got to cut them a little slack since the whole place had been operating without power. The pulled pork was great. I'll have to come back another Friday to hopefully get some of their brisket that I've heard good things about. Not sure how the fresh ribs compare to the ribs we had, and I'd avoid the beef sausage if ever visiting Scott's