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North Florida/Georgia "Real" Barbecue

I'm going to be in the St. Augustine/Jacksonville area for the week after July 4th, and will have considerable time to kill. I'm looking for the best barbecue places within 4 hours or so of St. Augustine.

I lived in Florida for a few years in the late 20th century, so I'm familiar with the "chains" - Sonny's, Woody's, etc. Not that I'm knocking them, but what I'm looking for is the little independent place - the little 10-table concrete-block building 20 miles from anywhere, the guy selling smoked meats through a window in a grocery store, or even the guy that sets up a smoker in a gas station parking lot, and is only open on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 11:00 and 2:30. I want to see the pile of oak or hickory sitting out back, and be able to smell the smoke from the place 5 minutes before I can see it.

Any recommendations of this nature in North Florida or Georgia - say, north to Savannah, west to Tallahassee, and south to Vero Beach? If you happen to know that the place keeps odd hours, please include that info in your recommendation.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Greg, you beat me to it by a few minutes!

    I just logged on to ask the same question about possibilities in the Daytona/St. Augustine area - what a coincidence!

    You worded it much better than I could have. I hope you get some decent replys.

    I've stopped many times on my way north at the Georgia Pig in Brunswick, Ga. Opinions seem to be varied on this board but they meet all the criteria you've outlined. I've enjoyed it quite a bit over the years although I should qualify this by adding that I'm hooked on their chopped pork sandwich and rarely order anything else.

    16 Replies
    1. re: cucuzza

      I'll post if I dig anything else up. I've read a few good reviews of this place:


      Anybody got anything to say about it either way?

      I've read the mixed reviews of the GA Pig - it's only 2 hours from St. Augustine, though - might be worth a trip just to find out for myself...

      1. re: greghoffman

        GA Pig is one of my very favorites! Their BBQ is top notch, but their Brunswick Stew has to be the best in the world! The ambience is what the Mom & Pop places strive for. Give it a shot....you won't be sorry.

        1. re: 1stmakearoux

          georgia pig is not great bbq. it is average. not worth a trip from st. augustine!

          the link is to my post on ga. pig, but see the whole thread.....it's right up your alley, greghoffman.

          another thread to check out: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5160...

          1. re: alkapal

            Great threads - lots of good suggestions. I really want to try Fuller's, now. It's about 6.5 hours from St. Augustine - but a trip up the coast through GA/SC/NC might be nice.

            I could even stop at "South of the Border" on the way...

            Thanks for the pointers.

            1. re: alkapal

              I live in Brunswick and for the life of me I do not understand the love that the Ga Pig gets on this and other boards. I think a good bit of it must be northeners who don't know real cue & are too lazy to gey far off of 95 to search it out. Allens & Gary Lees both within a 2 miles of 95 are superior.

              1. re: beteez

                beteez, i can't believe that ga. pig's sausage is locally-made. it was *so far * from what i'd call good down-home sausage! and the 'cue was so very "meh"...i wish i'd known of the options you mention before that trip! however, even if it were a choice between sonny's & ga. pig, i'd go to sonny's, frankly.

                1. re: alkapal

                  Not to badmouth Sonny's - it's fine, and I'll eat there myself - but saying you'd take that over GA Pig isn't saying much about GA Pig. I'll probably look for Allen's and/or Gary Lee's.

                  1. re: greghoffman

                    Gary Lee's is the same exit as Ga. Pig 1-2 miles west of 95 on the right hand side in a small grocery store, Allens is next exit north go north on 341 around 1 mile on the right in Winn Dixie shopping center, great briskett & ribs.

                2. re: beteez

                  Not sure about "all the love", but they cook over wood, they chop the pork fresh when a sandwich is ordered, and the price is reasonable. What more do you want? Let's face it, BBQ is not rocket science -- light a fire (WOOD ONLY), throw some flesh on it, with or without a dry rub, get it nice and charred, slather with some sauce, and serve it up. These BBQ shows and cook-offs on TV have created an image of hi-line cuisine; which it s not.

                  By the way, I've eaten "Q" in Kansas City, Memphis, all over Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and both of the Carolinas. Only Q I haven't sampled is that from the Lone Star State.

                  1. re: cucuzza

                    there's a little more to making good 'cue than cooking over wood. and they didn't chop the pork while we were waiting (and i don't recall them slathering it with sauce -- to their credit). and their sausage was gristly, greasy.

                    i'm not fooled by tv bbq, i grew up with bbq.

                    1. re: alkapal

                      I agree with alkapa. You don't just fire up some wood and drop some flesh on it. And you shouldn't pre-slather sauce on it, a common mistake.

                      In southeast Fla., BBQ is way below average. There is zero smoke flavor and never any pieces with bark. Pulled pork here is bland and often mushy.

                      To me, BBQ is the most scrutinized cuisine that I know of other then "NY style" pizza. I don't care what kind of sauces they serve if their Q process is made for the masses. And the masses do not like smoke. $1000 smokers are merely a gimmick since they are not ultilized properly.

                      I'm stepping down off of my pedestal and if you want good BBQ in SE Fla, you need to do it yourself. Which reminds me, my perfectly smoked and dry rubbed ribs need tending to.

                      1. re: freakerdude

                        I dunno FD....I have one of those $1000 smokers.....A Big Green Egg....and I'm turning out Championship Caliber BBQ on it......I'm a KCBS certified judge....I know what championship caliber BBQ tastes like....and the BGE delivers!!


                        1. re: LargeLife

                          i'm guessing that freakerdude would say that you *are* utilizing the $1,000 smoker "properly."

                        2. re: freakerdude

                          In SE Florida the Georgia Pig on State Road 7 in Plantation (?) serves some mighty fine BBQ - chopped pork with smoky flavor and "bark."

                          For my money they make the best BBQ sandwich around -- stacks up well against any other, anywhere.

                          1. re: floridan

                            Yeah, I gotta agree here - Georgia Pig's chopped pork is intensely smokey and has the textural variance of bark/soft tender bits that is the hallmark of great Q. Beats anything else around that I've tried hands down. Unsure if these people knocking GA have tried its chopped pork, but it's definitely quality. Ribs, etc.. .meh, not quite as much.

                  2. re: alkapal

                    I won't argue "great"-an undefinable term IMHO but GA Pig is mighty good and after having "discovered" it on a drive to FL a few years ago, haven't found much better (really good enjoyable BBQ and sides. Oh yes, the sides - above average to be modest. My greatest disappointment is that I haven't been able to get back this year - no FL trip this year for us. Sadness comes in all forms.

            2. Smok'n Pig, just northside of Valdosta off I-75. It's not a tiny hole-in-the-wall but they're doing it right.

              4 Replies
              1. re: johnhicks

                Oooo - pecan-smoked. Might have to add it to the list...


                1. re: greghoffman

                  I recently ate at The Georgia Pig in Jacksonville.....Hole in the wall.....Real smoked meat....Generous portions.....Delicious.....


                  1. re: LargeLife

                    I don't see a Georgia Pig in Jacksonville. There's one in Ft. Lauderdale and in Brunswick, GA, but I can't find one in Jacksonville. Do you have an address?

                2. re: johnhicks

                  We drove 80 miles today just to try Smok'n Pig. The pork was undercooked, gristly, with no smoke flavor. The sides are straight off the Cysco truck. This is a chain (worse than Sonny's), just with an expanded menu. The tea was so weak, it was barely flavored water. Sauces are standard store-bought stuff. What a waste of a meal.

                3. Frog's in Williston, Florida, near Gainesville. Seats about 10. Limited menu, but the chopped pork sandwich with medium sauce is great. Anyone near there can tell you how to find it (I think it is on US 27). You won't regret it

                  1. So funny that you asked this. I just drove by Fred Cotten's yesterday and told the hubby it was time for a trip there. I love their sauce in bottles with holes pokes through the lid.
                    And their rib sandwich on white bread.

                    I like Georgia pig too - about an hour north of Jacksonville off 95. My parents ALWAYS eat there when driving by - actually come to think of it we do too. We just don't drive north as much as they do.

                    But Cotten's is what I crave.

                    Also my hubby eats at Jenkins downtown Jax a bit. I haven't been but he likes it.

                    1. Hehe...this brings up a place I ran across during a pit stop 2 years ago. If you are going to drive to Georgia Pig in Brunswick, maybe you should pull a pit stop at this trailer off of the Kingsland exit. I am a huge Q fanatic and here is my review from the past.

                      If you are ever on I-95 near the Ga-Fla border and are looking for some good bbq, stop off at the Kingsland/St. Mary's exit and try out Blues BBQ. It was the first of my 2 Q stops and it was really good. It's just a small shack located near the exit and they have a good sized smoker outside. You can only eat outside on their 2 benches or in your car.

                      I had the staple of a large chopped pork sandwich and baked beans. The pork sandwich was great and the well smoked meat had all of the nice crusted bits and moist too. Pork was smoked to the level that I prefer and they load the sandwich down to where it falls out the sides. They heat your buns right on the smoker and the Q is kept in the smoker. Everything that is smoked is directly pulled from the smoker and I saw them kicking out some ribs for the ppl in front of me. I had a yearning to try the ribs too but I passed them up. They have a fair amount of local paper articles posted on the windows. The beans were pretty good for a Q shack. The bbq sauce is a light mustard based sauce and not too sweet.

                      Blues Barbecue
                      1330 Boone Avenue Extension East
                      Kingsland, GA (Georgia) 31548-6511
                      Phone: (912) 576-8682

                      Blues Barbecue
                      1330 Boone Ave Ext E, Kingsland, GA

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: freakerdude

                        Thanks for the sugestions - Blues Barbecue sounds _exactly_ like the kind of thing I'm looking for. Are they still open? It appears that Larry Harris, the owner, had a problem with the law, based on a Google search...

                        I'll also have the check out Frog's.

                        1. re: greghoffman

                          It ain't the Blues (BBQ) unless they've had problems with the law....just kidding. My visit was over two years ago, as noted, so I'd get on the telly and call them.

                        2. re: freakerdude

                          Hmmmmmm... I smell a trip to Kingsland in our near future!
                          I have a friend up there, have to ask him about this place. He's in Brunswick, I think...

                        3. I'm no expert in GA/N. FLA 'cue but I really like Island Barbecue at the beach in Fernandina Beach, FL. Family business. Limited hours Wednesday - Saturday. They're behind the Hammerhead Bar on S. Fletcher. Excellent pulled pork. Smoky, juicy and flavorful.. The mustard based "Island Sauce" is very good. Brisket is good also. Call before you make the trip: 904.261.2017.

                          Locals in Jax like Jenkins. But not to my tatse.

                          1. My sister & I stopped at Blues on our way from Mass to Florida and I can not get it out of my mind. We picked up food and brought it back to our hotel where stopped for the night. We had our dog with us and did not want to leave her in the room. This place was great because everything was served in to go boxes. Everything was GREAT but the best part was the mustard vinegar sauce. It was the best ever, I wish this guy would sell it nation wide. Anybody that has a good recipe for this type of sauce let me know. We stopped back on the way home and I have called several times and the phone is still listed but noone ever answers. If it is open I would go, well worth any drive to get there.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: redhd29leo

                              Good to hear another chime in on this place. I was driving from N. Palm Beach to Waycross, Ga and then on to Atlanta. I just happened to see the signs and the timing was right. I'll stop at any Q joint anywhere if I am hungry.

                              1. re: freakerdude

                                Dang, FD....we cross paths alot!....I go to Waycross now and again too....Wife has family there....There's a BBQ joint in Waycross called "The Pig".....I don't think it's awesome but their little pressed BBQ pork sandwiches are pretty good....We go there just to buy the sauce....by the gallon....We really like it!.....Seems we need to meet up some Sunday afternoon and I'll smoke the meat!


                            2. I grew up appreciating the style of barbeque from the Piedmont area of NC, with the vinegar based sauce & slaw, so I'm alway on a quest for that. I've found no one outside of that area that serves it. I have found several places that do a good job with the pulled pork/pork shoulder, though:

                              Blackjack's Best Barbeque started in an old corner drive thru dairy store, then moved into their current location that formerly housed another BBQ joint that had been in Jax for years. (name escapes me now). I go here most often as they are most convenient for me, but the other two below are good as well.
                              blackjacksbestbbq.tripod.com 4610 San Juan Ave Jacksonville, FL 32210-3228
                              (904) 387-3900

                              Brown Brothers Barbeque
                              www.brownbrothersbbq.com 1522 King St Jacksonville, FL 32204-4514
                              (904) 388-9227

                              Mojo's has 3 locations, all slightly different. I've only been to the one on University Blvd. They offer several different styles of preparation and do a pretty good job!.
                              www.mojobbq.com 1607 University Blvd W Jacksonville, FL 32217-2007
                              (904) 732-7200

                              These are heads WAAAYYYY above Sonnys, Bono's or Woody's.

                              1. Just this past December on our way to FL we got off the road ( I-95) at exit 49 (Darien, GA) and lucked into a great lunch at Smokey Joe's BBQ Inc. All the usual choices and a couple of different sides. We enjoyed it very much and planned another stop on our return north but highway construction got us distracted and we had to replan for the next trip.

                                1. Okay - first of all - thanks for all of the great-sounding suggestions - I've definitely got more suggestions than time to try them all, but I'm going to try to hit as many as I can. How many of them are open for breakfast? :)

                                  So, I'm going to give a day-by-day report on what I try - what's good, what's not - at least my opinion. I'm barbecue-savvy - I've had the barbecue in NC, SC, Georgia, Memphis, Florida, Kentucky, Texas (even Minnesota) - all over - and I've got a reasonable-sized smoker in my garage that I bring out on special occasions (like a sale on spareribs or pork shoulders at the local grocery store or, say, Wednesdays). So, here's the first, albeit short, report:

                                  I flew into Orlando today (Sunday) - got in about 2:00, and needed to be in St. Augustine by 4:00 or so, so no BBQ en route. I found my hotel, and dropped off my stuff, and started looking around.

                                  Now a little old lady in a gas station in SC once told me, when I asked where to find a good BBQ place, the "no good barbecue place is open on Sunday", and since it was also a holiday weekend, I really wasn't expecting to find much open. I saw a dozen or so Sonny's, and was going to go there, just because they were open, and decent BBQ, but then, in a strip mall, I saw a Woody's - another Florida/South BBQ chain, and I remembered they always had an all-you-can-eat chicken special on Sundays, and the sign on the window confirmed this, so, since I'd missed most of breakfast and lunch, it was too tempting to pass up.

                                  I ordered the chicken, along with sides and garlic bread - I'm not a huge fan of sides - which was good, because they were out of a lot of them. The chicken was good enough - not real smoky-flavored, but tender, juicy enough, and, for smoked/roasted/grilled chicken, it was pretty tasty - nice crisp skin. The sauces were, well, just bad. I'm pretty sure the "sweet" was almost entirely ketchup, and the "Carolina" style wasn't anything like either the eastern or western Carolina sauces that I've tried. But, if I mixed about 60% sweet with about 40% "blazin' hot", it was not too bad, but the chicken really didn't need much of it.

                                  Not the best barbecued/smoked chicken I'd ever had, but for $5.99 for all-you-can-eat, it was a good deal on some decent chicken.

                                  Tomorrow I'm heading out to the Golf Hall of Fame, and then, perhaps, up to Jacksonville to try out some of the suggestions from there...

                                  1. Check this link, a friend of mine went on a road trip a few weeks ago and has been raving about this place ever since. It is called Walls' BBQ in Savannah, GA. The link: http://eatjax.com/?p=661. Let me know what you think, I haven't got the chance to ride up there yet, but it's on my list.


                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: CDB76

                                      I was planning on hitting Walls' today or tomorrow - heading up that way this afternoon - but it looks, from their Myspace page, that they're closed from July 4-22. Anybody got any news to the contrary?

                                      The rest of my family had been down here over spring break and this was one of the places they went and recommended to me.

                                      1. re: greghoffman

                                        Two Bubbas in Sav is supposed to be good. Southern Soul on St Simons is very good.

                                    2. First off - if it ain't pork, it ain't bbq. Even pork ribs just barely fit the definition. Next, IMHO 1styoumakearoux is usually spot on when it comes to southern food. I agree with him 100% on GA Pig. We have stopped coming and going up I95 since 1991 and the chopped sandwich has never disappointed us. When confronted with a bbq place we haven't been to before, we order and split a bbq sandwich (chopped or pulled) and order more or skip based on the taste of this simple sample.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: yayajac

                                        "pork ribs just barely fit the definition"

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          I tend to agree - unless it's still got a head and curly tail on it, it's not real barbecue... :-).

                                          When I make it myself though, I very rarely do ribs. Even with a rib rack, I can only get 4-5 slabs of ribs on the smoker - enough to feed 8-10 people - or 4-5 barbecue-lovers. I can put enough pork shoulders on there to feed 50-60, easily.

                                          1. re: greghoffman

                                            ""it's not real barbecue... :-)."""
                                            oh greg! i am not wading into that one!!! ;-)).

                                            ps, did you ever see the bbq smackdown we set up in madison square garden (well...theoretically at least)? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6254...
                                            <interesting thread...>

                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              That's quite a thread...

                                              And I'm really not a complete pork snob - I'll smoke chickens, turkeys, briskets, sausages - I've even put cheese in there before. I want to make my own chipotles sometime.

                                      2. Okay - two days of barbecue to catch up on...

                                        Monday first. I headed up from St. Augustine to Jacksonville in the morning to try out a few places. Blackjack's Best Barbeque, according to the website, was closed on Monday, so I missed that one. I did get to Fred Cotten's and Brown Brothers, along with two Caribbean places - Caribbean Sunrise Bakery and Rise N Shine Caribbean Restaurant.

                                        I first hit the Caribbean places, which were nearly across the street from each other on Main St. I'm a big fan of Jamaican beef patties, and tried one at both places. They were very similar, and both very good - meaty, spicy, good crust. I think the ones at Rise N Shine were the slightest bit spicier, but both were very good.

                                        Then, I headed just a little farther south on Main to Fred Cotten's. Smelled the smoke before I got there - even in the closed car. I went in and ordered a pork sandwich to go. It was about 4 bucks, and came with a mustardy sauce. The meat was chopped after I ordered it, and it was nice and juicy, and the sauce was good, but the meat didn't really do much for me - it didn't have a strong smoky flavor - there was just a hint, but I wasn't impressed with the meat itself.

                                        I then headed to Brown Brothers, in a little strip somewhere - the GPS directed me there, eventually, but there was a lot of construction around. I decided on the beef there - it just looked better than the pork. It was chopped to order, and served with a mustardy vinegar sauce, which was good, but overshadowed the meat, which was juicy, and good quality meat, but just nothing special.

                                        So, to recap - good Jamaican beef patties, pretty good sauces, and good sandwiches - I just wouldn't really call them good barbecue...

                                        I couldn't handle more barbecue for dinner, so I had a really good bacon/garlic calzone at Verrazano Pizza & Pasta in St. Augustine Beach - friendliest people working there, too.

                                        1. Tuesday's barbecue search was much more productive. I headed up from St. Augustine toward Savannah. First stop - Blues Barbecue. Or, what _used_ to be Blues Barbecue. It was a place that looked like the pictures I saw online, and it was at the location that the maps said it was supposed to be, but the sign said:

                                          G-Daddy's Real Barbecue
                                          "Just as Good"

                                          Guess we know the fate of Blues BBQ now. Anyway, there was a good smoke coming from the monstrous cooker in the screened-in area on the side of the shack, so I ordered a pork sandwich and a sweet tea. The guy took my order and walked out to the smoker, opened it up and pulled the pork right out of it, chopped it (very coarsely), and put it on a bun along with the (once again) mustardy sauce. It all came in one of those small square styrofoam sandwich containers, and when I opened it up, the meat was overflowing the bun, filling in all the area around it. It looked like it would be a mess to eat, which, I suppose, is why it came with a fork. I took a bite, and it was incredible. The meat was heavily smoked - you cold see the nice pink smoke ring inside the crust - and the sauce, even though there was a lot of it, just accentuated the meat - didn't overpower it, and didn't get completely lost. This was one of the bext pork sandwiches I've had in ages - probably among the best I've ever had. I'll probably stop on the way back...

                                          I then headed a few exits up on I-95 to Brunswick and drove out to Gary Lee's - about two miles west of I-95 - my GPS thought it was about another quarter-mile farther west, and I almost missed it. It's a little non-descript grocery-store-looking building on the north side of the road (which is good, because it's kind of a grocery/convenience store with a full-service meat counter that also serves barbecue). I had another pork sandwich - this one was even bigger, and sloppier, and didn't come with a fork. The meat was very good - if I hadn't just had Daddy G's 10 minutes earlier, I would have been really impressed. It was still really good - nice and smoky, and the sauce was more of a sweet tomato/ketchupy base, but with a bit of a kick to it. If you're in Brunswick, it's worth a stop.

                                          So, I "agonized" over the decision, but I just had to try out the GA Pig, since it was right there, and has gotten such differing reviews. I pulled into the lot and walked inside - it was just like everybody says - a layer of smoke hung in the air. You'd think that breathing that for as many hours a day as the workers do would be unhealthy - I felt a little short of breath by the time I left. The pitmaster greeted me as I walked in, and showed me the ribs that were just coming out - so I picked the "rib sandwich" instead of chopped pork, and a diet Coke (I was about overdosed on sweet tea...). The "sandwich" came out - two enormous ribs, and a bun toasted (no butter, garlic, or anything on it) and cut in half on the side. The ribs looked good - nice and dark, crusty on the outside - but drowned in sauce.

                                          Now, I'm currently living in Minnesota, where salt is about a spicy as they like it, in general. And the first thing I thought when I took a bite of the ribs was "Man, they would like these in Minnesota". No smoky taste, no taste to the crust - not even much salt - and I can't, for the life of me, remember what the sauce tasted like. I guess if I were in the area, and all the other places were closed, and I was really jonesing for barbecue, I'd go back, but, as others have said, I think it's surviving on it's past laurels. There were only two cars in the parking lot - none local.

                                          So, give Daddy G's a try - first exit north of the FL/GA border, if I remember right - east of I-95 between a gas station and a Wendy's. Gary Lee's is also darn good, but I'll have to add my voice to the GA Pig naysayers...

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: greghoffman

                                            Oh my gd.
                                            When I read your description of G' Daddy's I wanted to light candles, throw on some Barry White and read it again... slowly....

                                            I think I drooled a little.

                                            1. re: greghoffman

                                              It sounds like G Daddy's, previously Blues Barbecue, has kept everything exactly the same. Your review is very similar to mine from 2 years ago. Smokey, good bark, and a pink smoke ring are all signs of a proper smoking technique. I'm glad it worked out for you.

                                              1. re: freakerdude

                                                You could tell on the menu sign that they'd just painted over "Blues" and replaced it with "G-Daddy's" - looks like they painted over a few menu items, too, but only a few.

                                                There was a guy who pulled up as I was waiting for my food, and looked all confused - he was expecting Blues - said he'd been there before a long time ago.

                                                And I'd certainly think things would be pretty much the same - I _know_ that that monstrosity of a smoker they had there was definitely never going anywhere. I've got pictures of it, along with other sights from my trip, that I'll post when I get them organized.

                                                1. re: greghoffman

                                                  greg, forget the pics, just load me up a fed-x insulated container of that delicious smoky Q. (dang i'm envious that you have good bbq near-ish).

                                                  ps, i was just kidding about the pics! i would love to see the pics! (they'd make me even more envious that i can't eat there ;-).

                                                2. re: freakerdude

                                                  When I was in the USMC, I was stationed at Kingbay (Kingsland) for two years. I quickly found Blue's and visited regularly. It is one of my top 2 bbq joints that I have ever visited. Since then, I stop anytime I drive by. For a couple months it was closed due to renovation which I didnt understand since it souldnt take more than a couple days to renovate the whole place. When I finally did stop by and it was open, the name had changed to G Daddy's. If my memory serves me correctly the new owner is Blue's son but dont qoute me. I was assured that everything was exactly the same as it was when under the Blue's name. They were right, it was the same delicious bbq.

                                                  I never liked mustard based sauce but their's is amazing. I recommend anyone wanting good bbq to try theirs out.

                                                  The smoker in your pictures was made out of a large propane tank. I stopped in a few times when it was a smoker in progress being built on-site.

                                                  1. re: fuhrerstein

                                                    Damn. Making a trip around here soon, will definitely check out G Daddy's. Thanks guys.

                                                3. re: greghoffman

                                                  GA Pig has been a do NOT miss stop for over 20 years. Staff/managers have changed many times, but the PORK (PIG) BBQ and the sauce have remained one on my top 10 BBQ joints. Their tea is special due to the unique water supply. Ordering ribs and diet coke is like going to Bern's Steak and ordering chicken & beer. Ribs & brisket are not BBQ, just smoked ribs and smoked beef.
                                                  To beteez: I'm not a 'northener' and have had BBQ in most every county in VA, NC, SC, GA, TN, AL + many spots in TX, KS, etc. Including most other spots around Brunswick.

                                                  1. re: Onlytraveltoeat

                                                    Sorry - I still had most of my sweet tea from Gary Lee's (or was it G-Daddy's) in my car, yet, and I was feeling a little loopy from all the sugar...

                                                    I tend to agree - pulled/chopped pork is the epitome of BBQ, but the pitmaster at GA Pig recommended the ribs, I took him up on the recommendation, and I was disappointed.

                                                    I'm organizing my notes and pictures from my last few days on the BBQ trail - should be posted in a day or two...

                                                    1. re: Onlytraveltoeat

                                                      Do yourself a favor next time through travel west off of 95 & try Gary Lee's Market.

                                                      1. re: beteez

                                                        I did - my review's above... Mighty tasty.

                                                  2. I've got pictures, with captions and locations attached here:


                                                    I'll finish up the text reviews later today, probably.


                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: greghoffman

                                                      thanks, greg, for the show. i love the "wee-nee's" signs, and envy your access!

                                                    2. Okay - I'm back in Minnesota now, and have had time to gather my thoughts and organise things a little. After "Super Tuesday", hitting Gary Lee's, G-Daddy's, and GA Pig, I slowed down a bit on the barbecue. I'll condense the rest of the reviews into this post.

                                                      I got up on Wednesday, and, well, after three days of multiple barbecue meals, I really just didn't feel like I could do it again. But, I had driven by The Pit Stop, on Hwy 80 a few miles east of I-95, the night before, and it looked just like what I was looking for, so I had to give it a shot.

                                                      I stopped in there on my way in to Savannah for some sightseeing. It was about 10:45 in the morning, and they must have just opened. The sign out front said "Pork Sandwich and Fries - $3.99", and I thought that even if I just took a few bites of it, I was only out $4. I walked in and was greeted warmly by the lady at the register and the pitmaster. The interior was covered in all kinds of whacky stuff - everything from Barbie Dolls to Military memorabilia. I ordered the sandwich and fries, and a sweet tea to go, and after taking a few pictures, got in the car and tried them. First - good fries - tasted like they were fried in real lard. I took my first bite of the sandwich, and even though I didn't think I'd make it through, once I got started, I finished the whole thing in no time. The meat was coarsely chopped, with some nice pieces of bark in it, and an obvious smoke ring. It tasted good and smoky, and the mustard sauce complemented the meat well.

                                                      After eating at The Pit Stop, in the two hours or so that day it wasn't raining, I took a little tour around downtown Savannah, and then headed off to the Holland House for a late lunch. The Holland House was described as a typical "meat and three" place, and one of the better ones. It was a small restaurant - probably seated about 20-25, with a set of steam tables on one wall. The menu was a meat, two sides, bread, and a drink for $7. I had the fried chicken and some "red rice" - not exactly sure what it was - had some tomato and a little spice to it - okay, but nothing special. I skipped the second side - nothing looked particularly appetizing at the time. The fried chicken was really good, though - still crispy on the outside (even after sitting on the steam table), moist and tender on the inside, and nicely seasoned. It wasn't pan-fried, but was still really tasty. The cornbread was also good, and the half-and-half sweet tea and lemonade hit the spot after walking around in the heat for a few hours.

                                                      After lunch, I headed back to St. Augustine. I was too full to hit any of the barbecue places in Brunswick, again, but stopped to take a few pictures. I ended up having a sausage roll at Borrillo's in downtown St. Augustine for a late dinner - very good.

                                                      On Thursday, I picked up my daughter from soccer camp, and we were headed south to Melbourne. I asked her what she wanted to eat, after surviving on cafeteria food all week, and she told me that when the other campers heard that she'd never had Chick-Fil-A, they told her she needed to have that - so we did.

                                                      Then, on the way out of town on US1, we needed to stop for gas, and right there next to the station was a shack called "Smoky D's". We had just eaten, but we decided that, between the two of us, we could probably split a pork sandwich. That didn't sit right with the guy running the register, since the sandwich was $5, and a sandwich, side, and a drink were only $5.99 - made us sound kind of stupid for not getting the meal. So, since my daughter needed a bottle of water (one of the liquid options), and said she could go for some "yellow rice", we took the meal deal. The rice, was, well, rice. The sandwich was _very_ good. Fresh out of the smoker, very coarsely chopped (cubed is more like it), with a choice of four sauces. I stuck with the mustardy sauce - it was starting to grow on me. Nice smoky flavor, flavorful even without the sauce, which was served on the side. The sauce was a good blend of flavors - just enough mustard, but not too much. It looked like two semi-retired guys were running the place - I think it'd be a fun place just to hang out for awhile.

                                                      That was the last barbecue I had - once again, here are the pictures from the trip:


                                                      There are pictures of some of the places I went, and some I didn't, along with location links in Google Maps.

                                                      Thanks again for all the wonderful suggestions,

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: greghoffman

                                                        Shoot, Greg, wish I had caught this thread before you left Savannah. The best joint I ate at up there was 2 Bubbas. Man, that's great Q. The ribs I had there were so smokey my hands smelt like a tree for days. For real. Days.

                                                        1. re: johnmlinn

                                                          2 Bubba's was on my list - even in my GPS unit - but the timing/location just wasn't quite right. It was kinda out of the way from where I was heading, and by the time I got down the list to it, I was a little BBQ-ed out.

                                                          If my daughter gets her choice of colleges, I'll probably be heading down there a few times in the future - I'll definitely have to give it a try.

                                                          If you like smoky, definitely give G-Daddy's a try. It's not as smoky as what I make at home, but it was mighty good. When I smoke at home, I, the whole house, and most of the neighborhood smells like it for the next week.

                                                      2. This may be the best thread I have seen on Chowhound. Barbecue GOLD!

                                                        1. in jax try hiram's or jenkin's , ( i like bono's but only the original on beach blvd.

                                                          in savannah try johnnie harris

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: conch

                                                            Last time I was in Jax....in April.....I ate at a BBQ joint called The Pig...or The Georgia Pig....on Normandy....and it was quite good....at least on the day.....We had pulled pork sammiches...ribs....and chicken....And everything we had was properly smoked and delicious....sides solid....I'd hit that place again.....


                                                            1. re: LargeLife

                                                              The Pig in Jacksonville was always one of my favorites. They used to have four locations, and the one on Lem Turner Blvd on the northside was the best. I worked near there back in the '70s and ate there a lot! The Normandy location is the only one left. The place I really miss, though, is the Plantation BBQ, which was located near Five Points. It has been gone a long time.

                                                              1. re: skyking96w

                                                                Awe - The Pig - has some GREAT sauce, took my son about 2 years but has duplicated it to perfection, The Q on the other hand is not as good, chunks of grisel and fatty in the pork sandwich. Typical drowned on white bread NE Fla GA style. I started to eat there in 1988 and haven't been back in probably 5 years.
                                                                A local joke is you better be close to a toilet when you leave there. Fries are decent.

                                                                I like a good dry rubbed rib - Mojo is really good, just not a lot of meat for the money, Sticky Fingers is another local chain less meat for a lot of money but good flavor - neither one has any bark on the ribs.
                                                                Bulls BBQ off I-95 at Baymeadows - is not that great at all but has the all you can eat deal and no smoke flavor.

                                                                For a treat look for a little hole in the wall place on St Augustine Rd just north of Emerson ave. Can't remember the name but really good, food and a lot of it. The trailer trash special is fried shrimp and pork sandwich with load of french fries - you feel your arteries clogging.

                                                                There was a guy that had a screen room with HUGE cooker on the side of US 301 north of Ocala - would pick up orders for the family and friends when I passed thru there, gone now but man was that great stuff.

                                                                1. re: dixiedog

                                                                  The name of the hole-in-the-wall place on St. Augustine Rd. is Checkers BBQ. The guy who runs it is 'Art' - the same guy who used to be resident at the Palms fish camp up on the Northside out Heckscher Dr. I haven't been by in awhile, but they do indeed smoke meat and deepfry some considerable bit of seafood at his establishment, if my memory serves me correctly.

                                                                  1. re: mezzrow

                                                                    Checker, not checkers ( a fast food chain) is indeed excellent. I haven't had their smoked meats but their Friday and Saturday all you can eat buffet is tremendous. Art is quite a character,and a terrific cook. You should make reservations, and there is one seating- 6:30 I believe. No alcohol served, but you can byob. Lots of fresh local seafood and traditional southern sides. At some point Art will come out and serve fresh hot cajun shrimp from a huge cast iron skillet. Love that place

                                                                2. re: skyking96w

                                                                  (Sigh) I miss the Plantation too. It has been a long, long time. Those were simpler days. I can't really remember the 'cue so much, but I sure remember going to the Plantation after ball games all those years ago. The old Green Derby was just a couple of blocks away on Riverside, right up Rosselle St. Gone forever. They only live in our minds and memories.

                                                            2. King's Taste Barbecue located in Eustis is a great place about 2 hours from St. Augustine. It’s a tiny little concrete bunker with a barred window and a smokehouse out back. They start serving Q around Friday afternoons and close when they run out, usually around lunch time Sunday.
                                                              It's located in the bad part of town but since there's usually a county mountie picking up take out, it's generally safe. Seating is limited to a few picnic tables under the trees outside. I think they have one or two sides but it's the Q that makes the trip worthwhile.
                                                              Be forewarned, the sauce is of the mustard variety, something unique this far south.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: bkhuna

                                                                I will second BKhuna's suggestion. however i think the quality varries depending on the visit. I have been when they are great and the next time not cooked long enough. If they are cooked right,,its heavenly. There are several places in lake county that have great bbq! I will list my top 5.

                                                                1. The Damn Smoker norh of eustis on 19 (this is my personal favorite open weekends only)
                                                                2. Kings in eustis
                                                                3. sugarboos in mount dora (I usually end up here because its close) Consistatant quality
                                                                4. Mikes ( a roadside stand at the corner of limit and 441) good sauce!
                                                                5.Bc's general store in yalaha
                                                                6. Jack benny's or "jacks" in clermont on hwy 441 ( good sauce and cooked perfectly)
                                                                7. Grandaddy's bbq on old 441 in tavares (comes highly reccommended)
                                                                8. The old crow on north hwy 19 north of umatilla (just like eating at grandmas with no beer)
                                                                9.holy smokes on 19 in eustis. nicley done with doctored store bought sauce.
                                                                10. Roadside BBQ (hommade sauce) on 527 and 46 behind the church of god.

                                                                1. re: mountdorahound

                                                                  Have you tried Brotus's in Groveland? He actually does fried fish now, I tasted it today & was surprised at how light and flavorful it was. (LOVE his Carolina pulled pork & slaw sandwich, but today someone else picked it up and there was no sauce on it, and the slaw had green pepper chunks in it, it was tasty but not thrilling like it was in recent past.)

                                                                  What about Pine Street BBQ in Leesburg? Mustardy sauce if you are into it- behind the hospital, walk up only. The sweet potato pie is a little chunky but check out the ribs. Not always 2 thumbs up, sometimes we have been disappointed.

                                                                  I really don't care for Jacks, have had it a few times and to me it lacks soul...

                                                                  Will I find BC's right on the same strip where Yalaha bakery is?

                                                              2. We just ate lunch at G-Daddy's (FKA Blues BBQ) in Kingston, GA, yesterday en route from Santee, SC, to south FL, and I am already trying to justify making a 5+ hour drive back north just to eat there again. After a lifetime of eating BBQ in restaurants, roadside pitstops, drive-thrus and dives in search of the perfect Q, I felt that yesterday I found the Holy Grail.

                                                                G-Daddy's served up the chopped pork I've been searching for all these years--smoky yet still moist; intensely flavorful, with just enough sauce (vinegar-mustard) to enhance--but not drown--the rich, full, smoky porky goodness. We sat the plastic picnic table outside G-Daddy's and ate our fill and then some, but still I wished that we could have eaten more: it was *that* good.

                                                                The place itself is like something from a dream: wedged in between a Wendy's and a McDonald's stands a small building and two plastic picnic tables, all engulfed in a cloud of pungent smoke. The smoke fills your chest with every breath and penetrates your lungs as you wait to order and eat. A sign proclaims, G-Daddy's BBQ, "Just As Good". While I never ate at the old Blues, I'd heard great things~so I hoped that G-Daddy's really would be just as good.

                                                                Alongside the small building stands a screened-in smoking area with a smoker the size of a Chevy Suburban. A man inside the screened-in area pulls pork, ribs and chicken from the smoker and chops everything to order. Behind the smoking area is another enclosure where two men convert massive tree trunks to fuel for the smoker. As we pulled up, one man was slicing cross-sections of wood with a chain saw and the other was using an axe to chop the cross-sections into large chunks. Feeding and running the smoker is serious business here.

                                                                When I placed my order, the man behind the window said, "Get ready for the best pork you've ever had." Friends, he wasn't lying. The pork was outstanding in every way, from the smoky flavor of the large hand-chopped chunks of pork to the juicy texture of the meat and the crispy bits of skin mixed throughout. The beans (sweet but not overly so) were tangy and had minced jalapenos in them. The cole slaw was finely-chopped and, while not the best slaw on the planet, proved the perfect counterpoint for the smokiness of the chopped pork.

                                                                I would strongly encourage any true BBQ fan to go out of his or her way to try G-Daddy's. I, for one, can't wait to go back.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Mrs1737

                                                                  do you mean Kingsland, not Kingston?

                                                                  1. re: karenfinan

                                                                    Yes, I meant Kingsland. Apologies for the mis-type.

                                                                2. I grew up in Kansas City, and barbecue is practically a religion to me. Piggy's is the only barbecue restaurant in Tallahassee that I would consider eating these days. The meat is sliced in front of you, the brisket is perfectly cooked and moist/flavorful with tasty burnt ends, and the sides are tasty. I haven't tried their ribs yet because I haven't been able to get past their amazing brisket.

                                                                  1. Smoking Pig is mentioned in this thread. They show a Top 10 in U. S. rating on their website. I suppose someone rated them there. Anyone care to comment.