Bobby’s BBQ – Fountain Inn, SC

Name: Bobby’s BBQ
Address: 1301 N Main St, Fountain Inn, SC 29644
Order: 1/2 lb brisket, 1/2 lb pork, 1 original sausage, 1 jalapeno cheddar sausage, corn pudding, mac and cheese, green beans (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Monk: Octavius “Tay” Nelson and his wife, Sarah opened Bobby’s BBQ in Fountain Inn, SC after Tay spent a few years learning how to smoke from YouTube videos. Yes, really. Tay actually originally grew up in Fountain Inn and Bobby’s is named after both his dad and brother (Bobby Sr and Jr) who both passed away within a few months of each other in the late 00’s. Tay came up with a barbecue seasoning first in 2010 and the restaurant came later in 2018.

The restaurant is central Texas-inspired which as mentioned above, Tay learned from watching different tutorials on YouTube. The Texas of it all is evident if you take a peek into the smoke room and see two huge offset pits with stacks of wood.

As for the barbecue, I found it to be above average but not transcendent. The brisket had good flavor but was not the most neatly sliced by the meat cutter, who hacked and sliced through the end of a brisket.

The pork was dry which is almost to be expected from a Texas-style joint at this point.

On this day, they had two sausages, both an original and a jalapeno cheddar. Of the two, I preferred the jalapeno cheddar, though both were above average.

From a sides perspective, both the mac and cheese and corn pudding shone, and I particularly liked the corn pudding. The green beans were a bit bland and were cooked within an inch of their life.

Bobby’s BBQ is a great story, with food that mostly backs it up as well as a great setting. It’s worth seeking out in the greater Greenville area.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Brisket – 3.5 hogs
Pork – 2.5 hogs
Sausage – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 3.5 hogs

Edley’s Bar-B-Que – Nashville, TN

Name: Edley’s Bar-B-Que
Address: 908 Main Street, Nashville, TN
Order: Half rack of ribs, green beans, corn bread (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Speedy: Recently, I got a surprise call from John Tanner of John Tanner’s Barbecue Blog letting me know that he and wife Nancy were coming to Nashville for a weekend and wondered if I wanted to join him for a meal. We initially decided to go to Shotgun Willie’s – a joint I’ve been meaning to get back to, with Edley’s as a backup plan if there was rain (as Shotgun Willie’s did not have indoor tables last time I was there). Well, sure enough, it was a pretty nasty Saturday, so we moved our lunch to the backup spot. 

Monk: John and I grabbed lunch last October at Midwood Smokehouse while he was in Charlotte visiting relatives so I was happy it worked out for Speedy to meet up with him. John’s a smart, cultured guy who knows his barbecue but also a heck of a lot more. I was certain he and Speedy would get along famously. 

Speedy: I don’t go by Edley’s often, as it’s not among my favorites in Nashville, but the last time I had gone, the brisket sandwich was above average, so it was time to go for a proper review. The restaurant now has four locations (three in Nashville, one in Chattanooga), and this visit was to the East Nashville location, which is a decent sized restaurant with a nice patio and good craft beer bar. 

Even arriving by 11:30, the restaurant was starting to get a little crowded. John and I went up to order while Nancy secured a table.

John and Nancy both opted for the pork plate, but I chose the half rack of ribs, as I’ve never ordered that from Edley’s before. The food came out quickly and it was time to dig in.

Unfortunately, this meal didn’t do anything to change my opinion of Edley’s. The ribs came well seasoned and drizzled with sauce, but were a bit overdone. The flavor was fine, but didn’t stand out as anything special. I did have a bit of pork as well, which came sauced with a brown sugar-y sauce that sweetened the pork a bit too much. Another average offering. The green beans were good, and included chopped bacon, and the cornbread was very good (and a little spicy!).

The highlight of the meal was definitely the company; I enjoyed hearing about John and Nancy’s travels, and particularly their visit the previous day to Ramey’s – a whole hog joint between Nashville and Memphis that I haven’t had time to visit yet (but definitely will). John, I hope we can have another ‘cue meal soon.

For more on Edley’s Bar-B-Que, check out:
Marie, Let’s Eat!
John Tanner’s Barbecue Blog

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 2.5 hogs
Ribs – 2.5 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 2.5 hogs

Checking In: Noble Smoke

Monk: It’s been over a year since I last got takeout from Noble Smoke and much longer since I had last dined in. Recently, I found myself in the neighborhood just down the street getting my second COVID vaccine shot, so beforehand I decided to treat myself to lunch on their patio on a nice Spring day.

As everything is a la carte at Noble Smoke, I ordered a Lexington-style chopped pork sandwich ($8), a 1/4 lb of smoked turkey ($5), and a side of Anson Mills hush puppies ($4).

Speedy is on record as proclaiming Noble Smoke’s sandwich the best pork sandwich outside of Lexington. And he’s not wrong. As has been well documented, the pork shoulders are smoked in a brick pit that was fabricated to mimic the pits of Lexington Barbecue (owner Jim Noble got permission from his friends the Monk family). Topped with a red slaw on a fresh baked bun, it’s quite a satisfying sandwich. I’d be tempted to go with getting just two of those next time instead.

Speedy and I have both been into trying smoked turkey at more places so I went with that as a side. Noble Smoked has a very good version of smoked turkey, smokey and not overly dry. The sandwich might be a good switch up order sometime in the future.

Noble Smoke’s hush puppies are made with cornmeal from Anson Mills in Columbia, South Carolina. I find them to be the best hush puppies in Charlotte, no doubt.

Noble Smoke has a daily rotation of fruit hand pies ($4), and on this day they had blueberry, which was fantastic.

Noble Smoke continues to knock it out of the park. On a nice day, their patio is a great setting, with their pallets of wood from Carolina Cookwood providing some separation to the parking lot in addition to setting some nice ambiance and the recent introduction of a beer shack for outdoor drink service. I hope to spend more Spring and Summer afternoons on that patio.

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