A little remiss …
We’ve been pretty remiss in keeping up our barbeque blog this year, and for that we offer our humble apologies. Things have been busy around the TL3 Headquarters, but we have been eating (and I’m still working on my slow-smoking skills).
A great recent discovery came during a recent trip to play shows in Georgia. Susan had been following a place in Atlanta called Fox Bros. Barbeque on twitter for a while, so we decided to give it a try. Plus the menu offered something called Jalapeno Chips, so I was definitely on board.
Fox Bros. is located near the Little Five Points and Candler areas of Atlanta and is a quasi-hipster joint that goes well with its neighborhood. Barbeque aficionados say there are a coupla things you can look for on the outside of a ‘que joint that tell you whether to enter or not. One is a full parking lot, which FB’s had at 4:00 on a Saturday afternoon. The other is a smoker and a large pile of chopped wood. Got it. We’re in.
Judging from the plethora of Widespread Panic posters in the joint, I’m assuming that the proprietors are probably in their 30s, pushing 40. I forgive them that form of decoration, however, as the main room also featured a large photo of the late Deacon Lunchbox, the Poet Laureate of Ponce DeLeon Avenue.
All in all, it’s a funky little joint. The waitress was friendly, and the atmosphere was relaxed … oh yeah, and the food. Right on, baby, right on.
We started with an order of the aforementioned Jalapeno Strips; basically pickled Jalapeno slices lightly battered and deep-fried. Holy crap, they were delicious. Crunchy, salty with the natural acid of the vinegar and hint of heat from the pepper. I could’ve eaten my weight in those.
The ribs I ordered were smoked to perfection, with a tasty rub that was neither too sweet nor too spicy. The sauce selections were quite good, really more varied than the joint’s claim to being Texas-styled ‘que implies. Susan and Bill’s pulled pork was tender and hand-pulled in large chunks.
They do it right. The tea was sweet and the sides were tasty. Oh, did I mention the refreshing watermelon margarita Susan had? Oh yeah.
Other places we’ve neglected to mention in the last few months …
Bread of Heaven – a fantastic little all-you-can-eat soul food joint in Alcoa, out by the Knoxville airport. You know it’s good when you pull up and see a half-dozen 55-gallon barrel smokers in the front yard. Killer pork, sausage, mac and cheese, smoked chicken thighs and plenty of veggies. Good folks too. On their fifth anniversary, instead of having a party to celebrate, they closed up and went to downtown Knoxville to feed the homeless. For that alone, they get the TL3 Seal of Approval. But the food stands on its on, the best I’ve had since Bully’s in Jackson, Miss., in the 1980s.
- Sweet P’s BBQ and Soul House – yeah, I know we’ve mentioned them before, but we’ve since been back several times and got to try the ribs. Hands down, the best around here. Just wanted to update with that TL3 Seal of Approval.
- KD’s in Midland, Texas – Good enough to make you forgive ’em for being the birthplace of GW. Old-fashioned Texas barbeque: ribs, chicken, brisket and sausage kept warm on the grill and served on a tray covered in butcher paper. Ancient warehouse building with tables and chairs everywhere they can fit ’em and a line of folks out the door. They pile it on your plate and charge you by the pound. Lots of good sides, including several selections of peppers. Everything a barbeque experience should entail and more.
- Ridgewood Barbeque in Bluff City, Tenn. – another of those places that’s been around forever, Ridgewood is located in the mountains outside Johnson City. We went there on the recommendation of our buddy Rob Russell. Go early, because they close early. At 2:30 on Saturday as we found out. I think we were the last ones allowed in the door on a chilly but sunny January afternoon. Place probably looked no different in the 1950s as it does today. The only difference is that the smoking shacks outside have absorbed a lotta hickory over the years. You can smell ’em from a pretty good distance. Nothing fancy here; just good barbeque (they chop their pork as opposed to pulling it). And it’s damned good.
- Tom’s Barbeque in Memphis – We found this one in a Diners, Drive-ins & Dives book and stopped in for a rib plate on our way out west in March. Great ribs with a unique Greek spice-infused rub. And some of the friendliest folks you’ll find. When we placed our order at the window, they asked where we were from and was it our first trip to Tom’s. When we answered, the owner called to the kitchen: “A little something extra for Knoxville, please.” In addition to our already-substantial plates, they brought a separate to-go container packed to the gills with samples of their pulled pork, sausage and fried bologna. Everything was good and smoked the way you want it to be: not overwhelming with the smoke flavor so the natural taste of the meat comes through. Tom’s definitely gets the TL3 Seal of Approval.
I know I’ve neglected a few stellar spots (I could write a few pages on the green chili sauces of New Mexico, but will have to be another time), but maybe this will help in your future travels. Until next time … bone appetit.