Buckets of Barbeque

Hog Tied BBQ, Columbus, GA

There is a new BBQ player in town, and they go by Hog Tied!! They are located on the corner of Veteran’s & 8th Street. It is a little hole-in-the-wall BBQ joint, as you see in Columbus. They serve ribs, pork butts, sides and chili dogs. A few buddies and I went there for lunch during their opening week and here is how it went.  I walked in to a nice, clean place with no wait. (I usually make sure to go after or before the lunch rush when I visit a restaurant.) I walked up to the counter and checked out the menu. I knew right away that I had to try both the ribs & the pork, so I ordered the rib plate with 2 sides (Brunswick Stew & Potato Salad), a regular pork sandwich, and sweet tea.  The food came out quickly, and as you can see from the picture above, it looked pretty mouth-watering and tasty!  The rib plate contained 3 large ribs. It also had the 2 sides and included 2 pieces of bread. The ribs were dry rubbed, St. Louis Style cut, with a good smoke ring.  They were tender, fall of the bone meat, with a delicious, sweet and smoky flavor.  The ribs were great, but I would have liked at least 3 more on my plate for the price. The stew was served warm and was full of flavor. It had big chucks of white meat chicken, tomato, corn, & lima beans. I think with all types of BBQ, everyone has their own particular preference of sauce and stew.  While I prefer stew made without lima beans, it was still very tasty.  I think it should be served in a cup on the side, and it was a little on the shallow side when it comes to the portion size. The potato salad was mayonnaise based with diced potatoes, pimentos and spices. It was good but not my personal favorite.  They also serve baked beans, so I will have to try those next time that I visit Hog Tied. Slaw is on the menu, but it’s not BBQ slaw in case you are wondering.  It is a mayonnaise based slaw, made to be served with their slaw dogs.  I mixed their hot BBQ sauce with this slaw and put it on my pork sandwich, and I would have to say that it was very good eats! The pork was tender, had a great smoke pull and was very tasty.  I would have liked double the amount of meat on my sandwich and BBQ slaw and pickles served on it, but I will say the meat stands by itself. It really was a great sandwich, but was a little pricey at $2.50, compared to other local BBQ joints. While I was there, I also asked to try all three sauces. They have a hot, vinegar based mustard sauce, a normal (mild) vinegar based mustard sauce, and a sweeter vinegar based ketchup sauce. They were all tangy and had great flavor.  I think the ketchup based sauce worked very well on all the meats & bread. Now, I will give a little commentary on the tea. While the tea was definitely drinkable and good, it came from a weird machine. We are in the south, make your own tea!!! LOL! That is just my opinion. After I figured the machine out, it was no big deal, and I am sure it’s a time/money saver for the restaurant.  Overall, I give Hog Tied a rating of 4 stars out of 5, mainly due to the price for the portion sizes. Go visit Hog Tied and ask for Rodney.  Tell him we sent you and you want to try some of his delicious ribs!! Then tell me what you think.  Help support this new local BBQ joint. Your belly will THANK YOU!!! I will definitely be back soon.

HomeTeam BBQ, West Ashley - Charleston, SC

Let me start by saying…this place is awesome!  Fiery Ron’s HomeTeam BBQ was another stop on our South Carolina vacation.  I ordered the Combo platter, which includes chicken, 1/3 rack of ribs, pulled pork, and two sides and bread.  I chose collard greens and brunswick stew with an extra side of cucumber tomato salad and cornbread. To drink, I ordered sweet tea. The pulled pork was amazing. The smoke flavor was spot on and the meat was very tender and juicy. The BBQ chicken is off the charts good! The smoke flavor and rub are perfectly blended making it some of the best chicken I have ever tasted!!! The ribs were fall-off-the-bone/dry rub/St. Louis style. Pairing these ribs with custom made watermelon BBQ sauce made them even more delicious.  Since we are on the topic of sauces, HomeTeam BBQ has a great variety to please every palette that ranges from sweet to hot to mustard based and even Alabama white sauce, a mayonnaise based sauce.  They also have a homemade pepper sauce, which complements some of the most flavorful, sweet collard greens I have ever tasted. The secret is brown sugar.  The brunswick stew is good, but the taste and consistency are more like beef stew to me because it had more vegetables.  That is a personal preference though, and it was tasty nonetheless. The cucumber and tomato salad was tangy and refreshing!  Also some very rad banana puddin’. So if you get to the West Ashley part of Charleston any time soon stop in and check this place out. I give it a 5 out of 5 stars. Try it for yourself and let me know if I am wrong. Check them out on the web at http://hometeambbq.com.

JB’s Smokeshack, Johns Island, SC

Recently, I had the awesome opportunity to take a vacation with my wife and children to Charleston, SC. We drove out to see the historic Angel Oak on Johns Island, just outside of Charleston. At 1500 years old, the tree is thought to be the oldest living tree in North America. It was nuts!  On the way to visit the Angel Oak, we passed JB’s Smokeshack. From the outside, it’s your typical hole-in-the-wall BBQ joint.  You walk in and are immediately greeted by the owner.  Billy was on point and super hospitable to us!  He has a country cooking style buffet and a diverse salad bar. Both are stocked with some good eats!  The fried chicken is spot on. I must say, the pork sandwich with slaw and the vinegar bbq sauce is freakin’ fantastic!  His pork has an excellent smoky flavor and is super tender. The hickory smoke flavor stays with you as you eat the whole sandwich, but it is not overpowering.  I think the meat was more dry than what I am used to, but it could have been the time of day or any number of things. However, this did not take away from the flavor one bit!  JB’s has about 6 great sauces to choose from. They are all amazing, and I can’t wait until he starts bottling them. I wish we would have been able to stay longer and try more food. If you are in the area, you should definitely stop in and tell Billy hello! I rate this restaurant 4 out of 5 stars. Now go try it for yourself.  Check JB’s out on the web at www.jbssmokeshack.com.

Mike & Ed’s BBQ, Phenix City, AL

Today I had the opportunity to have lunch with our two new interns and several coworkers at the Mike & Ed’s in Phenix City, AL. I have been hearing about this place for some time now from a coworker (props to “Big Rob”). Let me tell you, it’s my kind of BBQ place. It is a small hole-in-the-wall joint that has that rustic feel with old signs, tin, & wood adorning its walls.  It’s just the way a BBQ joint should be.

On to the food…I ordered a chopped pork plate with a half pound of ribs, stew, potato salad, and tea. The food was spot on! The pork had a great bark, smoke ring, and pull.  It was very tender and moist! The ribs were dry rubbed loin cuts and were fall off the bone good. They had just the right amount of rub and smoke! Both meats could stand alone with no sauce. If you are a sauce boss like me, you will use it anyway…lol! They have 3 sauce choices on your table (all of which can be purchased in-store). Their darker sweet sauce is ketchup based and has a good hickory sweet flavor. Then there are mild and hot mustard based sauces. Both sauces are tangy, and the hot sauce has just the right amount of kick. I like to mix the sweet and the hot together for a nice flavor combo.

The potato salad was okay. It is not my favorite, but it is still good. The stew is thick and full of meat.  There is more and more flavor with each bite of pork. The meal also came with 3 pieces of white bread, a must with any BBQ meal. I left with a box of food, because the portion size was very gracious. It left me extremely full and satisfied. I give this place 5 out of 5 stars! Now I challenge you to go eat there for yourself and let me know what you think. It’s definitely in my top 5 in the Columbus area.

(Shout out to Spencer for the proof reading.)

Mac’s BBQ, Warm Springs, GA

My family and I are out to enjoying an amazing day. There is something about driving with the windows down and ending up anywhere that has its perks. We ended up in Warm Springs. We decided to try out Mac’s BBQ, est. 1987. The place was very clean and had a great small town atmosphere. They have a little smoke shack/walk up that you can order from. They also have a sit down restaurant you can eat in as well. Prices are average with their chipped sandwich running you $3.50. The service was friendly, yet slow, with a 10 minute wait to get our drink order. I ordered the rib plate with an extra chipped sandwich. My rib plate (around $9.00) came with 3, yes only 3, Spare Ribs. it also included, Brunswick stew, cole slaw, 2 slices white bread, and pickles. Everything was cold to room temp. Slaw was average, stew was on the thick side and average. The ribs however had a good smoke flavor. The meat was very tender and well seasoned. I wish they had come to the table hot. The pork sandwich was not that great, it was dry and bland. If I had not added the slaw, pickles and a ton of sauce, I would have skipped the sandwich. But I was hungry so I ate it anyway. Their sauce is ketchup/vinegar based (mild, medium, and hot). It is a basic sauce with its sweet and tangy flavor. I left full but, my family of 4 spent $44.00 there, and what we ordered was not worth the money. This is my opinion, so go check out Mac’s BBQ next time you are in Warm Springs, GA. and let me know what you think. I give this place a 2.25 out of 5 stars.

Shane’s Rib Shack, Newnan, GA

So something I don’t normally do is go to “chain” bbq restaurants, but Shane’s Rib Shack is what I consider a growing local chain that’s going that national chain route. (Really quickly I might add…) It has a very down home feel when you are there. Today, I ate lunch at the Newnan location after watching my son play his second football game. The staff was very friendly and the health rating was a 95. I ordered the Sampler which comes with 4 baby back ribs, pulled pork, 3 chicken fingers, 2 sides, and Texas toast. I also got a small tea. (THEY HAVE PEACH TEA!)  My bill ran me $13.46 after tax and the portions were just right. The ribs had a great smoky flavor and fell right off the bone! The pulled pork was moist and had a slight smoke taste. I substituted the chicken fingers for double pork because I don’t consider chicken fingers to be BBQ.  The 2 sides I ordered were fried okra and collard greens. Both of these are excellent choices. The okra had just the right amount of salt.  I have no idea what the secret is in the greens, but somehow you just cant stop eating them. They are slightly sweet and very tasty! As for Shane’s sauce, its a tomato/vinegar based sauce, not too thin and not too thick, with a nice tangy, yet smoky flavor. The hot version, however, is not my cup of tea. It’s good and spicy, but I personally think it has too much black pepper. I left good and full, and I will definitely stop in again. Great food for a great price. Go try it for yourself, and let me know what you think. I have to give my wife a shout out for proof reading my posts…hahaha. I give it a 5 out of 5.

Smokey Pig BBQ, Columbus, GA

So today my friend Ronnie and I went to Smokey Pig BBQ in Columbus, GA. I ordered the “Old Timer’s Plate, medium stew, Regular Tea. It ran me 8.45 with tax. The plate has bite sized pork, BBQ slaw, dill pickles, and 3 slices of white bread. This place only serves Boston Butts, no ribs, no chicken, etc. Its really good. They put the sauce ( which is a mild mustard based sauce) on the meat for you, there is no sauce on the table, if you want extra (which you won’t need) then you can go back to the counter and ask for it. Its a seat-yourself-after-you-order kind of place. The service is friendly and quick, and the portions are generous. The restaurant is a 3 generation family-owned and operated business. I left good and full. Go check it out for yourself. I give this place a 4 out of 5.

Clearview BBQ, Columbus, GA

So Clearview BBQ, in Columbus GA is one of my absolute favorite joints in my hometown. When you enter you are in a line that goes up to the counter. They have a great chipped sandwich for $.99 cents. But go ahead and order the “Old Fashion” all the way, chipped, medium. With medium stew and regular tea. The DO NOT Take cards so make sure you have cash on you. Is very reasonably priced and the food portions are great! The “Old Fashion” is chipped or chopped pork on Texas toast with BBQ slaw medium sauce, mayo, and pickles. Mayo? Yeah mayo, its freakin’ fantastic! This sandwich also comes in Chicken. Which is great also. They have great ribs too! Its off River Road. See this Google Map. Go check it out for yourself, but get there early or the line will be out the door. I give this a 5 out of 5!

Sprayberry’s BBQ, Newnan, GA

I visited Sprayberry’s BBQ on Saturday at lunch. They have been doing bbq since 1926. Its very clean and had a nice staff. I ordered the chopped pork sandwich, stew, and half slab of baby back ribs. The stew has the consistency of mushy oatmeal and is a little on the bland side. It was better if you added their sauce to it. Speaking of their sauce, it has a bite. It’s made mostly of vinegar, really thin,  but is pretty good when dipping your bread in it. The pork is very dry and is just average. The pickles are sweet and go well with the sauce and stew. In fact added those three together make the stew much tastier. The ribs are tender and have a good smokey flavor. They were the best part of my meal. And in fact were better after reheating at home. Al of that plus tea ran me 19.77 plus I tipped the waitress, who was very nice and kept my tea full, $4.00 bringing my lunch total to $23.77. A tad bit high for lunch but I wanted to try the pork, ribs, and stew, my three key elements to deciding if a place has good grub.Needless to say I left very full. Go try it for your self. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.