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Southeast BBQ Tour

I'm doing a drive from the snowy north to the sunny south in March, with my 84 year old father. Civil war sites, and BBQ is all he has on his radar.

I was wondering if anybody knows who has a comprehensive guide or website, with recommendations/critiques of solid BBQ joints throughout the south.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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  1. There was a long journal of a BBQ tour in past chowhound archives. Sweatman's in SC, Holly HIll, is a prime spot -- we were just in Charleston but couldn't get there. Just posted a short review of Charleston spots we chowed at. You might enjoy stopping at one or two.

    2 Replies
    1. re: berkleybabe

      I agree with Sweatman's in Holly Hill is a Do Not Miss.

    2. you really didn't say where you were going... but I would begin here -- http://www.carolinabbqjoints.com/

      1. This site is a good overview on NC bbq: http://www.ncbbqsociety.com/index.html

        I would also recommend doing a search on Chowhound for the states you will be traveling in...this one may be of help: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/640498

        2 Replies
        1. re: carolinadawg

          In NC if you follow the NC BBQ trail on the NC BBQ society page you will hit most of the great spots in NC.

          1. re: Jesco

            The only problem I have with the NCBS trail is the requirement that the places have to have been in business for at least 15 years. I could see that if you were publishing a book, but a website can be updated instantly to reflect a closing. This causes them to leave off "new" places like Blackbeard's(in business for approx. 8 years) and Jason Grill(actually new in this case). You would think that helping out these new places would be the highest priority if you're looking to promote traditional barbecue.

            That said, it is a really good list, and hard to go wrong if you follow it.

        2. Athens Ga has two GREAT BBQ spots: The BBQ Shack on Lexington HWY and Jot em Down BBQ on Macon HWY. The best spot, Hot Thomas, is just outside of Athens in Watkinsville on HWY 15.

          1. Shealy's BBQ in Leesville, SC.

            1. If you are going to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park (http://www.nps.gov/kemo/index.htm) near Marietta, Georgia be sure to go here: http://www.davepoes.com/ Many say it is the best BBQ around Atlanta (along with the restaurants of his two former partners).

              Famous for the beef brisket because it is not common in GA but the pork is excellent also. Also noted for the creamy 3 cheese "mac and cheese" with rigatoni. It's a hop skip and jump from the Park. But don't go too late. It closes "when the BBQ runs out".

              Read all about it: http://www.yelp.com/biz/dave-poes-bbq...

              1. If you get to Asheville, find Ruby's. It's a neighborhood joint with really great ribs, an old timey atmosphere, and 25 kinds of home made barbecue sauce. I'm also a ribs freak, and very fussy. This place meets my standards. Try the collards ... they do them right.

                Ruby's Bbq Shack
                8 Beverly Rd, Asheville, NC 28805

                1. Maurice's (multiple locations around Columbia, SC) is pretty good and each restaurant basically has a confederate museum inside. If you do go to Columbia, make sure you go to either Palmetto Pig (near Univ. of S.C.) or Little Pigs (near Ft. Jackson). The three of these specialize in South Carolina bbq with the mustard based sauce.

                  1. Sweatmans - for sure.

                    NC BBQ - It'll be a great resource for filtering reviews.

                    Ruby's - It's now on the map

                    Athens & Marietta, GA - this trip may take longer than I thought.

                    ...and the SC mustard based sauce? Pick 1 I have to go to.

                    I can smell the smoke from here.

                    If anyone is interested, I started a Google BBQ map (http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF...) of my propsed router to keep organized.

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: WileysHungryAgain

                        If you go to Sweatman's (or anywhere in the eastern half of SC) try hash. You might love it, you might hate it, but you probably won't find it anywhere else.

                      2. I really did love Sweatman's the one time I made it there. They are only open on the weekends, thoug, so you will have to plan accordingly. Assuming you will hit NC, SC, and GA, you may want to check the boards at Steve Raichlen's site as well as the reviews on RoadFood.com

                        1. Hash? OK I'll look for it.

                          Bennett Place? Uh, what''s there. Enlighten me, and I'm there.

                          I'll also check out Roadfood.com and the other guy, Steve's sites.

                          Thanks, we head out this morning.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: WileysHungryAgain

                            Allen & Sons is only 20 minutes from Bennett Place site of the largest troop surrender of the war. Even closer is Bullock's. They have BBQ and an extensive menu of other southern food.

                          2. Allen & Sons in Hillsborough, NC (5 min detour off I85) for pulled pork (eastern NC style bbq).
                            Lexington #1 (Honey Monks) in Lexington, NC for best western NC style bbq.
                            Dreamland BBQ (original) in Tuscaloosa, AL for best ribs and sauce.
                            Big Bob Gibsons in Decatur, AL for white bbq chicken.

                            1. Well I've finally made it to the BBQ belt. So last night was my 1st stop. On strong recommendation, I attempted to go to Bill Ellis BBQ. No one even answered the phone, so I moved on. Parkers in Wilson would be the next in line.

                              First off they close at 8:30pm, so I barely made it., and had to carry out. The fried chicken was really good as were the sides, however I can only imagine that their best work happens earlier in the day. The pork sandwich was so so. Not enjoying the food at the shop surely takes away from the quality and even more so the overall experience.

                              Today for lunch it's either Allen & Son's, Lex #1 in Hillsborough or maybe Honey Monks, depending on where I land. Lex #1 is not the same as Honey Monks right?

                              Stay tuned for more from the BBQ Belt.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: WileysHungryAgain

                                Lexington #1 and Honey Monk's are one in the same. The official name is Lexington BBQ #1; Honey Monk's is a nickname. It is located in Lexington, not Hillsborough. Be aware there are 2 Allen and Sons. You want the one located at the intersection of Hwy. 86 and Millhouse Road near Hillsborough, NOT the one in Pittsboro, NC. You will also find that many bbq places close early, have odd hours, close when the bbq runs out, etc.

                                1. re: WileysHungryAgain

                                  "Not enjoying the food at the shop surely takes away from the quality and even more so the overall experience."

                                  Not really. Parker's isn't good barbecue. You can't take away quality that wasn't there in the first place.

                                  1. re: Naco

                                    You should also be thankful Bill Ellis was closed, as it is not destination barbecue. Whoever strongly recommended you go there should not be trusted.

                                  2. re: WileysHungryAgain

                                    Good point about calling. Tried to go to Allen and Sons but they are closed on Monday. Many of these places are family run or in places where there is no local business after 8pm. The hot dog joints are the same way; open during daylight hours.

                                    1. re: nickdanger

                                      On further rec's, we made it down to the Columbia, SC area ad made it to Smoke (www.eatsmoke.com) Really a unique spot. Then a bit south to Santee and the Lone Star (bit of a misnomer) BBQ & mercantile. Solid offerings and a very friendly staff.

                                      Today onto some of the Jacksonville area spots. Please help me narrow it down.

                                      Pick 2

                                      - Pig Bbq
                                      - Georgia Pig
                                      - Blues Bbq
                                      - Fred Cotton

                                      1. re: WileysHungryAgain

                                        Is the Lone Star a little cabin in the woods? Last time I tried to go, it was closed and looked deserted? I can only speak to the GA Pig, whose only attribute is that it is close to 95. Not worth the exit, IMO.

                                        1. re: WileysHungryAgain

                                          Loking forward to your report. Hope you had a good trip and found some good 'q.