Monday, January 23, 2012

Old South BBQ (Smyrna, GA)

601 Burbank Circle
Smyrna, GA 30080

Old South Barbecue on Urbanspoon

This converted house turned BBQ joint has been one of Smyrna's favorite BBQ spots for almost 44 years now. It proudly holds the title as the oldest continually running eating establishment in Smyrna. Old South has character, charm, and regulars who swear by their BBQ and refuse to eat anywhere else. This past week Jamie and I decided to make the journey to this Smyrna staple to pay our respects and see what all the talk was about.

I like the lay out at Old South. There are only enough seats for about 40 people, if that. Many customers come in and are greeted by name as we find our seat. The open pit sits directly behind the counter and reminds me a lot of the kind you see at Williamson Brothers or Dreamland BBQ. I feel that sometimes these get treated as grills rather than smokers leaving the meat not as tender as you'd find in a closed smoker. We were graciously ushered to our seats where we placed our order.

The offerings are few here with chicken, spare ribs, brisket, and pork. I like the smaller menus at BBQ places. I feel like it allows you to focus on a few things and hopefully do those well. I would've liked to see some sausage on the menu, but I've gotten accustomed to not seeing that most places in Georgia. I ordered the three meat plate with pulled pork, pork spare ribs, and brisket. I requested the brisket from the moist end to give them their best shot at not serving dry or tough beef. For our sides we got the Brunswick stew and BBQ beans. I was starving on this day so our food couldn't come fast enough.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dickey's Barbecue Pit (Kennesaw, GA)

1610 Ridenour Blvd.
Kennesaw, GA 30144

Dickey's Barbecue Pit on Urbanspoon

I'll be honest, I didn't have huge expectations for Dickey's Barbecue Pit. I always hope for the best whenever I walk into a new BBQ destination, but I didn't set the bar too high for this one. I've never heard great things about Dickey's, but we still wanted to see if this Texas-based BBQ stop would hold its own here in Georgia. Dickey's got its start over seventy years ago in the Dallas area and has since spread to over 170 locations in the United States. They've had a lot of success nationwide so maybe they were doing something right. There are multiple locations in Georgia, but we decided to visit the newly opened Kennesaw location for this Georgia Barbecue Hunt stop.

I was a little turned off by the faux Texas decor when we walked in. On the other hand, I immediately noticed the pile of hickory wood and Ole Hickory smokers proudly displayed behind the counter. In my opinion, this automatically puts them ahead of such chains as Sonny's or Shane's Rib Shack. Jamie and I ordered two of the two meat combos. The first order had St. Louis style ribs (that boasted "fall of the bone!") and brisket with baked beans and coleslaw. The second order consisted of pulled pork, spicy cheddar sausage, mac 'n cheese, and green beans.

All of the meats are wrapped in plastic wrap to retain moisture waiting to be carved when you order. The food actually looked decent. The first thing we tried were the ribs which were surprisingly pretty good. They were well cooked, smoky, and moist. Thankfully they weren't "fall off the bone" as the sign suggested. This would just be evidence of overcooked meat. The only thing they really lacked was a nice crust or more texture on the outside of the ribs. The brisket also had a good smoky flavor, but that was about it. It was tough and chewy (from not being cooked long enough) and also lacked that nice outer bark. It was very beef jerky-esque. The pulled pork was flavor at all. It might have made a decent sandwich if it was lathered with some of their sauce. The last meat we tried was some of their spicy cheddar sausage. The sign should've read "Spicy Sausage Cheddar" instead because this stuff is packed with cheese...too much cheese. I love jalapeno-cheese sausage, but this was just too much cheese for me to make it enjoyable.

None of the sides really stood out here. The mac 'n cheese had high school cafeteria qualities while the beans and coleslaw were just OK. I'd recommend the green beans the most out of all the sides we tried. A decent meal here would consist of some of the ribs with a side of green beans if you're in a hurry and out of other options.

Not all BBQ in and from Texas is automatically great as evidence with Dickey's. On to the next stop...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Zeigler's BBQ (Acworth, GA)

3451 Cobb Parkway NW
Acworth, GA 30101

Zeigler's BBQ & Catering on Urbanspoon

For our first post of the New Year, I decided to head down to Rolling Bones in Atlanta...until I found out that it's still closed due to the fire they had back in September. My backup plan would be a place that's not too far from me in nearby Acworth. I've been looking for another place close to me that serves decent BBQ as JD's in Kennesaw has been pretty disappointing lately. I've seen the "Zeigler" name at a couple competitions, but still had never set foot inside their shopping center home. Today that would change.

Zeigler's is a pretty small place with an interior that reminded me of Community Q in Decatur. I would guess it can hold about forty people max on their busiest day. There's a good smoky scent in the air when you walk in. Something a little different about Zeigler's is that they primarily use pecan wood as opposed to most places in Georgia that we've visited that use oak or hickory. They proudly display Bad Byron's Butt Rub at the front, which I was informed is used on most of their smoked meats.

The Zeiglers weren't around on our first visit, but the friendly staff recommended we try their brisket (twist my arm). They seemed to be pretty proud of it. I ordered some of the moist end brisket along with pulled pork, green beans, baked beans, and Brunswick stew. The prices here are fair with this meal for two ringing up just under $17. They were kind enough to split it up evenly for Jamie and I without us asking. Their apple-bourbon BBQ sauce comes on the meat ahead of time, so make sure you ask them to hold off unless you're into that sort of thing. Luckily, it's not a ton of sauce so we didn't mind too much on this day.