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Looking for the best BBQ all over the south

Hi all, I am traveling Sales Guy who has the south as his region......over the last couple of months I have decided to make it my goal to find the very best of Southern BBQ and really understand what makes every state and town's specific BBQ dialect so special......so I would appreciate a shove in the right direction, and please only locally owned institutions no chains.......If you could enlighten me as to the best BBQ joints in the following towns or in a town with in a 30 min drive I would appreciate it.......Valdosta, GA.......Huntsville, AL..........Chattanooga, TN.........Lake City, FL.......Charleston, WV.........Huntington, WV........Roanoke, VA.......Wilmington, NC........Jacksonville, NC.........Columbia, SC.......and Hamilton, VA.........Miami, FL.......and if any one of you want to give me the best slow food, fresh from farm, city staples....or localy owned high end cuisine I would greatly appreciate it, and for all of it I promise to try it and write a good or bad review shortly after I have eaten there......Thanks and Safe Travels

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  1. Huntsville, Al. I will go ahead and break one of your rules and suggest Dreamland. They make my favourite ribs. Not smoked but slow cooked over an open fire right in the dining room. It's a small chain though.

    I'd make the drive over to Decatur at least once to go to Big Bob Gibson's. They're an institution in the south and the home of Alabama White Sauce. A white BBQ sauce that they finish their chickens in. It's outstanding.

    In town Little Paul's is quite good too although their ribs are back ribs and not as good as side.

    If you're running on 81 south Roanoke and need to make a stop near Wytheville, give Skeeters a try. Really cool place with some great hot dogs. I blogged about them.

    Happy Eating.


    2 Replies
    1. re: Davwud

      Thanks for the posts I will be down to try everything you say with the exception of Dreamland, been to the original in Tuscaloosa and the one in Huntsivlle, it has gone waaaaaayyy down hill since the O-G, owners sold out and it chained up........I am excited about all the others, but here is a tip for you try Thomas's on 71 best smoke on ribs I have had yet

      1. re: peruju80

        Did that and was disappointed. You can read about it here. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/575379
        Dreamland has been almost all a hit but I've never been to the original and it was already chained by the time I got there. So I have nothing to compare it to. I also live in Canada but my in laws are in HSV so I'm still somewhat of a Neophyte.

        Also, if you're down near the square, you need to check out Wild Rose Cafe. It's a breakfast/lunch thing and she usually runs out of food. Really good.


    2. peruju80,
      I am afraid your post may be a little too "aardvark to zymurgy". I may be wrong, but I don't think you will get many replies. If you are new to Chowhound, you may not know that bbq may be the single most discussed food item, particularly on the South board. Spend a few entertaining and informative hours using the above search field with a narrowed scope - EX: bbq Columbia. It will be fun and you will be amazed by the passion bbq arouses.
      I travel the South also, Va. to Florida and am always on the lookout for smoke and a woodpile!
      Another suggestion: look at hollyeats.com's bbq section.
      Have Fun!

      1. Re Hamilton, VA: Northern Virginia is not a great place for cue. The nearest place of acceptable BBQ quality would be 20 miles east at Willard's in Chantilly, not far from DC's Dulles Airport. Willards is often mentioned as the best in Northern Virginia, but that's a back-handed compliment. Their best, IMHO, is their ribs. They do not have the necessary atmosphere: no sawdust on a concrete floor, no tin roof (they're in a small strip mall), the building has not yet been condemned, and the neighborhood isn't enshrouded in smoke. But it's not uppity, either. Some of the tables and chairs have seen better days so you can imagine it'll eventually wear down to acceptable. The walls are enshrined with the names of great barbecues joints around the country. Nevertheless, when I'm craving cue, it's where I go (about 10 miles away), and I'm not disappointed because my expectations are not for great cue.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Potomac Bob

          The best Q in Va IMHO is "Pigs R Us" in Martinsville. (They compete and cater as "The Checkered Pig") Mind you they are only a couple miles as the "pig flies" from NC.

          Down US 29, the only Chowish Q I have found is Silver Pig in Madison Hts (just north of L'burg on Bus 29). Owner is a NC transplant.

          I agree "best in NO VA" is a backhanded complement, but the above two are up to anything you will find in NC.

          There is another Q joint in Nellysford, Nelson Co,, but I have not been by when they are open. I have heard really good things tho.

          1. The BEST that I have had is at the Brick Pit in Mobile Alabama. I had the pulled pork and it was awesome. They have chicken and ribs too. The sauce is just perfect. Another place that I frequent is Old Clinton in Clinton Georgia. Again, pulled pork - it's good but can't top Brick Pit!

            1 Reply
            1. re: sunsuze

              Old Clinton is very good, but it is in Gray, GA.

              1. If you ever make it to Baton Rouge you must try Pimanyoli's Barbeque on Airline Hwy. It is excellent.

                1. slightly more than 30 min drive from Jacksonville but
                  Parkers BBQ in Greenville, NC
                  Bill Ellis BBQ in Greenvilel, NC
                  Hog Heaven- Washington, NC

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: countgrog

                    30 minutes is nothing if the food is first rate.


                    1. re: countgrog

                      There is a satellite Parker's in Greenville, but the original Parker's BBQ and Bill's BBQ are bother in Wilson, NC.

                      If you happen to head toward Greenville from Jacksonville, you'll pass Ayden, NC along the way. You owe it to yourself to try Pete Jones' Skylight Inn...the best traditional Eastern NC bbq in the state.

                      1. re: JayL

                        your right Bill Ellis is in wilson, Parkers is in both Wilson and Greenville

                        also like Wilburs in Goldsboro

                    2. For a true taste of VA BBQ try King's in Petersburg, about 2 mi. west of I-95 on Crater Rd.
                      Between Columbia and Charleston try Duke's #1 in Orangeburg, off I-26 by several miles...ENJOY!

                      1. my wife added in B's BBQ in Greenville. She is from Washington, NC and says its the best of all the Eastern joints. Just hard to catch them open.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: countgrog

                          I read where the cooking house at the Skylight burned to the ground. They are now using a back up smokehouse

                            1. re: Jesco

                              They cook with live wood coals in an old traditional smokehouse. Fires happen. It's part of the business.

                          1. Gonna hate myself in the mornin cuz it's a chain....Corky's in Memphis.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: funejack

                              Don't hate yourself. The Poplar Ave. Memphis location the original and has it's place. It is loved by many. I have eaten there many times. However, IMHO it doesn't meet the criteria of the OP's quest.

                              1. re: Tee

                                I agree, we have eaten at Corkys on several occasions and its been fine. There are just many better spots in Memphis I perfer (The Cozy Corner is my favorite)

                                1. re: countgrog

                                  I would take a Cozy Corner sausage (or bologna) sandwich - hot- over anything at Corky's. Too bad they only do lunch as it makes eating there( for me , anyway) a rare experience.

                              2. re: funejack

                                Corky's blew it for me when they opened a branch at Sam's Town Casino. The "BBQ" that they were putting out there was nothing short of horrible. God only knows how many tourists went back to the Midwest or wherever they came from and told their friends "we tried some Memphis BBQ when we were down there, and it wasn't any good"...

                              3. Jambone on Hwy 98 in Santa Rosa Beach, FL east of Destin and west of Panama City, FL would be my recommendation. It is truly an exceptional BBQ place. I think it is worth going out of the way for. If you are near Birmingham, AL, the city is loaded with some great BBQ places.


                                1. There is little place in McCormick, SC that is called Rubbies. It is on 378 between McCormick and Savannah Lakes at Lake Thurmond. It is just a little resturant/bar, but it has some of the best ribs that I have ever eaten. You DO have to call ahead to find out if they have any left or call early in the afternoon to let them know you are coming and that you want ribs. They do sell out fast. We have a week-end home in Plum Branch, SC on the lake and we are about 15-20 minutes from them so we have eaten there often. If you are ever in that area, give them a try!!!

                                  1. The Old Hickory House in Atlanta (actually in Dunwoody) is where my family loves to go. Family owned since 1953. And the Brunswick Stew is sinfully delish.

                                    Old Hickory House
                                    5490 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd, Atlanta, GA 30338

                                    1. I like Jim n' Nick's. Dreamland is not that good to me.

                                      1. In Wilmington, NC, go to a place downtown called "The Basics." Plan B. would be Casey's on Oleander.

                                        In the general vicinity of Columbia, try Watford's BBQ in Bishopville, or try Hite's in Batesburg. Brown's in Kingstree is the best in SC that I have had, but it is pretty far out of the way.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: reeeems

                                          I'd head to Jackson's Big Oak Barbecue on Kerr Avenue between Wilshire and Wrightsville. Always was my favorite in Wilmington.

                                        2. Spiced Right in Lilburn, GA (about 20 min east of Atlanta) is my favorite. It's a good old rickety house with additions sprouting out so they have more wall space for their pig trophies and BBQ fest award plaques. I haven't been in about a year and heard they have done away with their buffet, but hopefully the recipes haven't changed - yum!

                                          1. OMG - You are truly missing out by not coming to Memphis. BBQ and Elvis - that's what we're known for!!! Lucky for you, you can have some Corky's dry ribs (a MUST) FedEx'd to you. Check it out.

                                            And Dreamland is a must as well. As their slogan says, "Aint nothin like em nowhere"

                                            Good luck and happy eating.

                                            1. Charlie's BBQ: I-85 at Pelham Road exit. Greenville SC. 29615
                                              Old Hickory House in Atlanta or Charlotte
                                              Pierce's BBQ in Lightfoot VA
                                              Dreamland (several locations

                                              Pierce's Pitt Bar-B-Que
                                              447 E Rochambeau Dr, Williamsburg, VA 23188

                                              1. I love Pierces bbq outside of williamsburg va off of I64
                                                and love the county grill in Yorktown Va. (the Hampton location isn't as good