Randy’s Bar-B-Q – Savannah, GA

Name: Randy’s Bar-B-Q
Date: 6/25/21
Address: 750 Wheaton St, Savannah, GA 31401
Order: Large ribs
Pricing: $

Monk: The Monk family had occasion to spend a few nights in Savannah recently and ahead of that trip, I performed my customary barbecue research and pickings seemed to be a little slim.

B’s Cracklin’ Barbecue closed their location there late last year as Bryan Furman plans his next move in Atlanta’s westside.

Wiley’s Championship BBQ placed #2 by Southern Living readers in the 2020 poll, but its competition lineage gave me slight pause.

Unfortunately, Savannah hasn’t had a barbecue renaissance like Charleston, a city 2 hours north on Highway 17 that it so often gets compared to.

Finally, I settled upon Randy’s Bar-B-Q via True Cue’s Georgia list and despite their having no real social media presence I dropped off the wife and kids in downtown Savannah and made the short trek a few blocks outside of the eastern edge of historic downtown.

Randy’s is a black-owned barbecue joint run by Randolph Frazier, and they have quite the local following. I arrived to a line of 20-25 people which is apparently not unusual for a lunch crowd.

Unfortunately, they were out of chicken so all I went with a half track of ribs, which came drenched in their bright orangey/yellow sauce and placed on slices of wheat bread (surely they must have been out of white).

Randy’s Bar-B-Q smokes their meat in smokers just outside of the small cubic brick building that was painted once upon a time by Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) students. This building is rather small and Randy’s is takeout only.

The ribs were well smoked and while the tangy sauce wasn’t my favorite, I recognized that Randy wasn’t catering to my taste but instead that of the community in which Randy’s serves.

Randy’s Bar-B-Q is worth a stop not only because of their smoked meats but also to step outside of your barbecue comfort zone.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – N/A
Ribs – 4 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs

Peg Leg Porker – Nashville, TN (RE-REVIEW)

Name: Peg Leg Porker
Date: 6/18/21
Address: 903 Gleaves St, Nashville, TN 37203
Order: Full rack of ribs, pulled pork, smoked wings, Kool-Aid pickles, cole slaw, smoked green beans, french fries (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Monk: Peg Leg Porker is a new-school Nashville barbecue institution, even inspiring a little bit of a Martin’s vs Peg Leg rivalry for barbecue enthusiasts in the city. Despite Speedy now living in Nashville, our only other review to date was from nearly 6 years ago a few years before Speedy had even moved to Nashville. While we had briefly stopped in for some wings at the bar last time I was in town 3 years ago, I had not officially had a meal there on the books. I made sure to change that with my most recent visit to Nashville to visit Speedy as well as my real life Bros.

Speedy: Peg Leg is not my favorite barbecue in town (in fact, it comes in at #4), but it certainly is worth a visit for anyone spending any amount of time in Nashville. Located in the trendy Gulch neighborhood, it is easy to get to but gets crowded fast, so we showed up for an early-ish lunch and after a short wait, placed our order at the counter.

Monk: My understanding is that the ribs are the star of the show for Peg Leg, and this full rack did not disappoint. Peg Leg does Memphis-style dry rub ribs and there were perfect bites all around.

Speedy: Agree, Monk. The ribs have always been my favorite part of any meal at Peg Leg, and I do think these are probably best in town – maybe in the state. The generous rub offers plenty of spice and flavor, and no sauce is needed. 

The pork (served unsauced) is pretty consistent in that while flavorful, is always a little dry. There are sauces provided, but I always prefer not having to use extra sauce if not needed, but in this case, it is needed. So while still enjoyable, the pulled pork is a notch below the ribs.

Monk: The smoked then fried wings come with the drumettes, wingettes, and wing tip all attached which from my experience isn’t the norm for a wing at a barbecue restaurant.

Speedy: …Quick interjection: Central BBQ wings are also served this way. Ok, carry on…

Monk: The wings are also finished with a dry rub and were more successful than the pork for me. I had the wings on both of my trips to Peg Leg Porker, and I will probably get them on my next visit, whenever that is.

Speedy: Definitely agree, Monk. Wings and ribs are the pro order. And you know what – I’m just fine with that. The other solid order, which was skipped on this go round, is the yardbird half chicken. It uses the same rub and is equal to the wings. This is a popular item at Peg Leg, and for good reason. But not worth passing over the ribs for.

Monk: Of the sides we ordered, the one I want to call out is the Kool-aid pickles. This is a Delta-region delicacy where Kool-aid mix is literally added to the pickle juice so that the pickles take on the color and flavor (looked to be “red” on this day), resulting in a sweet and sour experience in the form of a crunchy pickle. Just awesome.

I agree with Speedy’s statement above that Peg Leg Porker is definitely worth a visit when in Nashville. Now that I’ve experienced a full meal there, I’ll go with the ribs, wings, and Kool-Aid pickles next time I visit Speedy in Nashville.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 4 hogs
Ribs – 4 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Wings – 4 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs

Q39 – Kansas City, MO

Name: Q39
Date: 6/8/21
Address: 1000 W 39th St, Kansas City, MO
Order: Beef brisket plate (with burnt ends), add pulled pork, side of white bean cassoulet (link to menu)
Pricing: $$$

Speedy: I recently embarked on a cross-country roadtrip with my brother (same parents variety, not blog-about-barbecue-with variety), which took us through Kansas City. Of course we had to find a place for ‘cue in the burnt ends capital. After a bit of research, we settled on Q39, a more up-ish-scale restaurant that is (relatively) new on the scene, opening in 2014.

We walked in on a Tuesday night, and the place was packed, but after a short wait, we were seated. Q39 has tables and a wait staff, and a large bar area, as well as outside seating. It’s decorated in a rustic fashion, and overall, was a nice atmosphere.

My order was easy – the beef brisket plate (which comes with burnt ends and slices), but I did add on some pulled pork and the Bro went with the housemade chipotle sausage plate, as well as the onion straw appetizer.

While service was good overall, the wait was a bit longer than normal for a barbecue joint (perhaps due to the crowd), but still, our food was out shortly.

Let’s not bury the lede. In Kansas City, burnt ends are king, and Q39’s burnt ends were the star of the show. Tender but not too fatty, with a nice sauce that had a hint of sweetness, every bite was flavorful and a real treat. At Q39, there is a burnt ends appetizer (which they were not serving that night), but otherwise, you cannot order the burnt ends alone – only with the brisket plate. This is too bad because the slices on the brisket place were not too exciting. They were served with sauce already applied, which was necessary on the lean brisket that was on the dry side. It still had decent flavor, but paled in comparison to the burnt ends.

Monk: Interesting that you can’t get the burnt ends without ordering the brisket. I wonder if this is the norm in Kansas City, or a case where Q39 is looking to save costs.

Speedy: Hard to know, Monk. I assume they’re cooking full briskets, so trying to sell at the same rate. I think this also explains why your brisket just comes lean – the point has already been used. The pork was also served sauced, which I felt was a mistake. The “zesty” sauce does have a vinegar base, but is also loaded with sugar, favoring sweetness over tang. The pork was cooked well and had decent flavor, but the sauce took away from the flavor for me.

Monk: I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that a KC barbecue joint uses a sugary sauce on their pork.

Speedy: The Bro’s sausage was my second favorite part of the meal. The homemade sausage had good flavor, nice snappy casing, and was not greasy at all. Overall a good effort. 

The white bean cassoulet is a side I’ve never seen our heard of, but from a taste standpoint, it was basically Brunswick stew. It was very hot out – so not stew weather – but I would order it again. The Bro loved his baked beans (I didn’t try any), and the onion straws (with barbecue remoulade) were really good, and worth ordering.

Overall, I would recommend a visit to Q39 to anyone in Kansas City, especially if you focus your attention on the burnt ends. 

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3.5 hogs
Burnt Ends – 4.5 hogs
Brisket – 3 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Sausage – 4 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs

Whispering Pines BBQ – Albemarle, NC

Name: Whispering Pines BBQ
Address: 1421 US-52, Albemarle, NC 28001
Order: Chopped pork tray with red slaw, hush puppies, Cheerwine (link to menu)
Pricing: $

Monk: After lunch at Log Cabin BBQ and a short hike with the Monkettes at Morrow Mountain State Park, the plan was to hit up Whispering Pines on the way out of town back to Charlotte and maybe get the girls some dessert or ice cream. That is, until we pulled into the parking lot and I sadly realized it was drive through or curbside service only.

Nevertheless, once I realized the situation I got in one of two drive through lines and snapped a photo of the woodpile while waiting in line. That’s right, because while Log Cabin BBQ utilizes a gas assist wood smoker, Whispering Pines is all wood and deserved of their place on True Cue’s list of wood-smoked NC barbecue joints. Read a little more about the family behind both joints in my Log Cabin review linked above.

I ordered my tray, paid for it in cash (no cards accepted here), and headed to a Dairy Queen 20 minutes down the road in the town of Locust, NC. There, I ordered the Monkettes a Blizzard and cone and had some bites in the front seat of my car.

While the pork had less bark than what Log Cabin served, there was definitely a more pronounced wood smoke flavor. I wished I had eaten here first, and that I had been able to eat it inside the restaurant. I feasted off the leftover pork for a few more meals at home over the next few days, putting it on Martin’s potato rolls which made for a fantastic sandwich.

The slaw was a little too coarsely chopped for me, and maybe even a little on the sweet side. The hush puppies were standard.

Overall, a good experience (albeit takeout) from Whispering Pines BBQ. I will definitely try to make it back once they reopen inside dining.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – N/A
Pork – 4 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs