Linkdown: 11/25/20

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Eater Atlanta’s Mike Jordan speaks to a number of Atlanta-area pitmasters to get their take on “Georgia-style” barbecue, with the consensus that there is a style, but that you have to get out of Atlanta to try it and its not quite up there with the other “major” styles of barbecue.

The question of “what even is Georgia barbecue” seems to come up every few years and while I’m far from an expert when it comes the Peach State, I follow the lead of people who know more than me. Robert Moss notes in his latest issue of The Cue Sheet that Jordan didn’t quite venture far enough outside of Atlanta to get a true sense of Georgia-style barbecue. That is, chopped barbecue sandwiches, Brunswick stew, cole slaw, and sometimes a regional dish called chicken mull from the Athens area.

Finally, to get an even more impassioned defense of Georgia barbecue, I highly recommend you read our friend Grant’s missive from a few years back over at Marie, Let’s Eat. Grant knows more about Georgia barbecue than just about anyone out there, having done the legwork to travel to the farthest corners of the state in search of true barbecue. When it comes to Georgia barbecue, heed his word. In particular, he urges you to explore the Athens area:

What you might want to do is start in Athens, because some of the best barbecue in the country can be found here. Not too many people pish-poshed this notion, but a couple did, so let me be very clear: I think that Memphis is one of this country’s best barbecue cities. It’s home to Payne’s, Leonard’s, and the Bar-B-Q Shop, and they’re all amazing, and there are at least a dozen other darn good places there. I agree that Lexington NC is certainly one as well. I have only been here three very short times, but I’ve had four downright excellent meals and would love to return for a very long trip. I’m perfectly prepared to accept that Lockhart TX is one. It is unlikely that I will visit anytime soon, but I can believe the hype I hear. Its advocates are reliable correspondents. Kansas City, quite probably. Calvin Trillin believes in Arthur Bryant’s, and if you haven’t figured out how much debt I owe Trillin, you’re not paying attention.

So I’m not dismissing any other city when I say that the Athens area deserves to be given the same accolades. There’s room for it as well. I’ll say that the triangle formed by Zeb’s in Danielsville, Paul’s in Lexington, and Hot Thomas in Watkinsville is the region that I mean, and those three remarkably good restaurants are all in my top twenty somewhere. (They’re actually not in my top ten, about which more in a moment.) The photos accompanying this story come from our last weekend in Georgia before the move. We revisited Paul’s and Hot Thomas, along with Bill’s, which is just across the Clarke County line, outside of Hull, and Scott’s & BJ’s, the only one of these four with an actual Athens address.

(Not so) coincidentally, here’s Eater Atlanta’s list of best barbecue restaurants in the area they rolled out along with the “What is Georgia Barbecue?” article.

Native News

Adding Perry’s Pig Pickin’ BBQ in Mint Hill to my list

…same with The Smokehouse at Steve’s in Graham, courtesy of John Tanner’s Barbecue Blog

New merch from Stamey’s

Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ has opened its first location outside of Connecticut in Asheville’s South Slope by permanently parking a food truck on Coxe Ave

Non-Native News

The new Buc-ee’s in Florence, South Carolina will serve South Carolina barbecue alongside Texas barbecue

Home Team BBQ recently broke ground on its sixth location in Greenville, SC

Midwesterner on Midwest barbecue

How to make John Lewis’ green chile barbecue sauce at home, courtesy of Eater

Helen’s Bar-B-Que, by John T. Edge

Adrian Miller’s “Black Smoke” makes this list

Sometimes people are the worst

…but sometimes things work out

LOLZ

Jack’s Bar-B-Que – Nashville, TN

Name: Jack’s Bar-B-Que
Date: 11/11/20
Address: 1601 Charlotte Ave, Nashville, TN
Order: Three meat combo – brisket, pork, sausage, collards, baked apples, cornbread (link to menu)
Pricing: $

Speedy: One place in Nashville that does not get nearly enough love (including from yours truly) is Jack’s Bar-B-Que, a true OG of the Nashville ‘cue scene. Jack Cawthon opened his first restaurant on lower Broadway in 1989, and now has three locations including a different spot on Broadway, in the North Gulch on Charlotte Ave (where I visited this day), and in North Nashville. I have visited the Broadway location several times, but usually weekdays during lunch (back when people went to offices), or weekends while honky tonkin’ (back when people went to bars). I always told myself I’d write a review when I had time to visit and order more of the meats, and that time finally came.

Monk: I remember offices and bars…

Speedy: The Charlotte Ave location is much more spacious than on Broadway (I haven’t been to the North Nashville location), but in both places, you walk up to a cafeteria style line to order. Like a good Texas joint, the brisket and sausage is sliced right in front of you, but the pork has been pre-chopped. The sides, likewise, are in warming bins. The order of a three meat combo was an obvious one, though I was sad to leave out the ribs. Alas, next time.

Before diving into how everything tasted, let’s talk about value. The three meat combo is $17, which includes generous portions of each meat, two sides, and cornbread. If that was weighed out and served by the pound, you’d be paying close to twice that. Their by the pound prices are several dollars lower at each meat, including only $16.25 for a pound of brisket.

Great, so the barbecue is priced like it’s 2013, but how does it taste? Damn good. The brisket has a nice pepper flavor, and plenty of bark. It’s moist and tender and tastes great. It doesn’t quite melt in your mouth like the top-tier Texas brisket, but overall, it’s very good.

The pork at Jack’s is Tennessee pork shoulder. This may not be a popular opinion, but I prefer the shoulder to whole hog. The reason? The outside brown. The shoulder from Jack’s has plenty of outside brown chopped in. I didn’t taste any dip chopped in, but it was not dry at all. They call it Tennessee pork, but this is the closest I’ve come to finding Lexington-style pork shoulder (which we all know is the best) in Tennessee. Truly outstanding.

Monk: Now this Tennessee pork shoulder is intriguing, and something I gotta try the next time I’m in Nashville.

Speedy: The sausage was the one meat that was a slight disappointment to me. While smoked well, the flavor was a little plain. Next time, I’ll skip the sausage.

I don’t talk about sides much in my review, but I enjoyed the apples and the collards and absolutely loved the cornbread. Just a nice stamp on a great meal.

All the times I’ve been to Jack’s Bar-B-Que, it’s consistently been quite good. While not the sexiest place in Nashville (and certainly not the newest), it remains one of the best.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 2.5 hogs
Brisket – 4 hogs
Pork – 4.5 hogs
Sausage – 2.5 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs

Jacks Bar-B-Que Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Linkdown: 11/11/20

Featured

Even in the midst of a pandemic and all that 2020 had to offer, Tim Carman of the Washington Post went ahead with his annual “best barbecue joints in DC” list, with the main change being that he got takeout from every joint he tried. And he found that, even while getting more and more expensive, the state of barbecue in DC is strong and only improving. To wit, three of the joints in his top ten were brand new to the list.

Cheers to Tim Carman for pushing ahead!

Native News

10% off today for veterans and active duty military at Wilber’s Barbecue

Have you seen Apple City BBQ’s pig? It was recently stolen from the Taylorsville barbecue joint.

Midwood Smokehouse’s brisket cheesesteak makes Charlotte Magazine’s list

Non-Native News

Another writeup on Desiree Robinson, 2020 Barbecue Hall of Fame Inductee

Several barbecue restaurants in Columbia are offering Thanksgiving specials

Four Savannah barbecue joints that offer comfort food during COVID

Smoked Turkey Explosion in Texas:

The Athens episode of TrueSouth brought together neighbors; watch at the link below

Linkdown: 11/4/20

Featured

A trio of John Tanner Barbecue stories on NC barbecue joints – Rick’s Smokehouse, The Barbecue Center, and Midwood Smokehouse – including where I (Monk) was able to meet up with him in Charlotte. I enjoyed a meal with John – he got the pork combo platter and I got the brisket – on the patio at the Park Road location of Midwood Smokehouse a few weeks back on a warm October weekday. John certainly has his bona fides when it comes to barbecue – he is a certified True ‘Cue Inspector for the Virginia and DC Metro area and has an impressive archive of reviews over at John Tanner’s Barbecue Blog – and is an even nicer man to boot. I enjoyed our lunch conversation that ranged from barbecue to NASCAR to John Coltrane. Be sure to check out his blog and like his Facebook page.

Native News

Blues on Franklin gives Chapel Hill a new barbecue option owned by three generation of Tar Heels

QSR Magazine interviews Sam Jones ahead of his Raleigh restaurant opening later this year and some of the challenges faced due to COVID-19

Picnic is selling to-go coolers of barbecue or fried chicken

Non-Native News

Dozier’s BBQ is worth the drive, and in Houston that usually means a lot of driving

Interview with Evan LeRoy of LeRoy & Lewis from Austin 360

In Texas, Thanksgiving means barbecue (much like every other day)

In Texas, bakeries also sell barbecue cookies