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

Linkdown: 5/5/21

Featured

Congrats to the first class of Kingsford Charcoal’s Preserve the Pit Fellowship. If you recall, the winners of this inaugural class will receive a “grant along with immersive training and one-on-one mentorship with industry leaders throughout 2021 to turn their business aspirations into a reality.” And it’s an impressive list of mentors from which they’ll get advice: Kevin Bludso, Dr. Howard Conyers, Devita Davison, Bryan Furman, Rashad Jones and Amy Mills. I look forward to seeing what happens for each of these fellows as a result of this direct mentorship. The winners ae:

  • Cory & Tarra Davis – Grand Rapids, Mich.: Owners of Daddy Pete’s BBQ since 2012, Cory and Tarra Davis have a passion for barbecue that they share with their friends, family and community. Through the fellowship, their goal is to build a stronger foundation for their business operations to ensure their restaurant continues to successfully operate beyond their generation.
  • Chef Shalamar Lane – Carson, Calif.: As the head chef and owner of My Father’s Barbeque, Shalamar brings southern hospitality to California by using delicious barbecue as a way to bring people together. As a result of the mentorship, she hopes to improve her management skills to further her business’ success and continue to teach her employees and community about the history of barbecue.
  • Ronald Simmons – Kenansville, N.C.: Ronald and his family own Master Blend Family Farms, LLC, which provides whole hogs and premium pork products to restaurants and private owned businesses in his community. They’ve hosted farm tours in collaboration with several local schools and hope to transition one of the farms, which has been in the family for over a century, into a farm school and develop a whole hog barbecue station to share their heritage of barbecue and create a path of opportunity for future generations.

And in more good news, the response to the initial call for fellows was so overwhelming that an additional 10 pitmasters were selected to receive a one-time $7,500 grant. Those winners are:

  • Melissa Cottingham – Melnificent Wingz (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • Aaron Gonerway – Plates By the Pound BBQ (Denver, Colo.)
  • Pamela Henry – Pam’s Magic Cauldron (Smyrna, Ga.)
  • Daniel Hammond – Smoky Soul Barbecue Chicago (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Brandon Norman – Memphis Original BBQ (Atoka, Tenn.)
  • Demetris R. – Making The CuTX (Newport, Vt.)
  • Erica Roby – Blue Smoke Blaire (Dayton, Ohio)
  • Christopher Simmons – The Qulinary Oasis BBQ (DeSoto, Texas)
  • Gerald Vinnett – Big Papi’s Smokehouse (Destrehan, La.)
  • Eddie Wright– Eddie Wright BBQ (Jackson, Miss.)

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Southern Soul Barbeque – St. Simon’s Island, GA

Name: Southern Soul Barbeque
Address: 2020 Demere Rd, St Simons Island, GA 31522
Order: Three meat platter with pork, brisket, and sausage with Brunswick stew, hush puppies, collards, and potato salad (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Monk: Southern Soul Barbeque is a highly-regarded barbecue joint located in the Golden Isles of Georgia, specifically St. Simon’s Island. In 2018 it tied with Lexington Barbecue in a Southern Living reader’s poll after winning the 2017 poll. On my way back from Spring Break in Amelia Island, I made the family take an hour’s detour to check it out. My expectations were sky high.

Southern Soul is housed in an old gas station and smokes their barbecue in Lang Smoker stick burners, so they immediately check a couple of important boxes. For a first time visitor, parking is a bit of a mess seeing as how it is situated on a traffic circle, but that could also be considered part of the experience.

For our three meat combo I went with with pork, brisket, and sausage. Even though there will almost certainly be a line when you visit during the lunch hours, the line moves quickly and the food came out within just a few minutes. We got a picnic table underneath the awning and I dug in.

Starting off, the pork was on the dry side and a buddy who visited later in the same week noted the same thing. It cried out for one of their excellent sauces.

The brisket was haphazardly cut and was quite fatty with not all the fat rendered completely. While not the prettiest it had actually did have pretty good flavor. A carefully arranged Central Texas tray this was not.

The sausage had good flavor but was also on the dry side. The mustard sauce paired quite well with it.

Each platter comes with Brunswick stew and although you can substitute it for something like fries, I wouldn’t suggest it. This was the best Brunswick stew I’ve ever had, which is a nice tribute to the nearby town of Brunswick that (apparently incorrectly) claims to be the birthplace of the stew. Whatever you do, be sure to get the Brunswick stew.

Our hush puppies came out fresh and were perfectly cooked orbs with a slight hint of sweetness. The collards were somehow both too bland and too spicy; it needed several dashes of vinegar. The potato salad was solid.

Overall, I left a little Southern Soul Barbeque a bit disappointed. I was all set to load up on their well designed merch but after the slightly disappointing meal I opted not to. They’ve got a great reputation, so perhaps I hit them on an off day.

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

Linkdown: 2/3/21

Featured

Shortly after my first visit to Mr. Barbecue in Winston-Salem in March of 2019 (which I greatly enjoyed), a spark caught fire in the pit house and nearly burned the entire restaurant down. Last I had heard, it was on track for a May 2020 opening and brick was being laid in the smokehouse but clearly that didn’t happen as scheduled (which can be excused during a pandemic, of course). Thankfully, the silence was not a bad omen as WXII is reporting that Mr. Barbecue will reopen later this month.

This will be one in the win column for classic, wood-fired NC barbecue joints, a sometimes rare occurrence these days. Of course, Wilber’s Barbecue in Goldsboro came back from the dead last year under new ownership and there are a host of new or announced restaurants that are smoking barbecue the old fashioned way (most of which seem to be in the greater Raleigh area). But more often than not, these older joints are closing (see Allen & Son, Bill Spoon’s, Bill Ellis Barbecue, The Original Q Shack, among others). But not today, Satan. Not today.

Now, just cross your fingers and toes until late February…

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Big Mike’s BBQ is opening a location in downtown Cary after expanding to Apex last year

Make your own Cheerwine barbecue sauce with Cheerwine syrup

Non-Native News

Smokejack in Alpharetta, GA is a “must-visit” according to The BBQ Review

Moe Cason has announced his plans for a barbecue restaurant in Des Moines, IA, and pulls no punches when it comes to other restaurants in the area

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