BBQ “Pit” Stops – Year in Review

As we near the one year mark of our shakedown trip that began on December 1st,  2019, we realized that we had done you, our followers, a great disservice.

Turns out, we’ve been sampling the sticky goodness that is American BBQ, without spilling the beans. Such a shame! We’re pretty sure this new Foo Fighters song was written because of it.

Queue the Q!

Rib Country BBQ – Blairsville, GA

This was the first place we ordered take-out from way back in April after things shut down due to the pandemic. There’s something glorious about sinking your teeth into delicious ribs, that you didn’t have to cook, after weeks of quarantine! The staff seemed very attentive to health and safety which helped ease our minds given the situation.

Hannah’s BBQ – Lenoir, NC

LIES! DAMNED LIES!!!

When we visit new places one of the first things JC does is look up which local BBQ place has the best reviews and praise. Hannah’s has a sign outside that suggests it’s the best BBQ in this small city in western NC.

This was, hands down, the WORST BBQ we had all year! The sauce was meh. The pork “ribs” were actually fatty pork steaks, the chicken was dry, the fries abysmal, green beans tasteless… we could go on but that would be useless.

Our recommendation, if this is the “best BBQ in town” we suggest skipping altogether. That is, if discovering ‘the best’ BBQ is your thing.

Bootleg BBQ – Floyd, VA

While strolling through the quaint little town of Floyd we saw this quirky mix of outdoor seating and yard art, a converted school bus, and a food truck.

Redemption!

We were a bit gun-shy after the last place but we decided to give it a whirl. And Bootleg did not disappoint! They even have a unique offering called Cocktails where they put your choice of Q in with all the fixin’s in a large plastic container. It was outstanding!

Your Pit – Vermilion, OH

The sheer volume of changes we’re all dealing with during a pandemic, from virtual school for kids, to job losses in tourism driven areas, to concern over staying safe and healthy, almost pale in comparison to the breathtaking decline in the restaurant industry.

If this blog post inspires you to go eat BBQ please go, right now! Your local restaurants need all of your support.

When we called Your Pit BBQ in Vermilion to order take-out, the craziness that is 2020 came into stark relief. They took our order, noted the very enhanced safety measures their staff were taking to protect themselves and us, and provided a 10-minute window of time for pickup. The odd thing was this window was more than an hour from the time of the call.

In more normal times, waiting an hour+ for a to-go order would be ridiculous. Alas, we stuck it out.

Boy, did a little patience pay off! Your Pit was the best BBQ we had outside of the South! They should absolutely be on your “pit” stop plans if you’re ever in this part of Ohio. We took the time to review and like their page on Facebook because we were so impressed.

Sawmill BBQ – St. Louis, MO

Few places conjure the essence of American BBQ quite like St. Louis. So much so that St. Louis is the only place in America to have a style of BBQ meat named after it and offered throughout the country – St. Louis style ribs.

I’ll have second’s please.

Funny thing is, Sawmill BBQ doesn’t even offer them! What they do offer is top-notch Q, unbelievably tasty sides, a bevy of sauces including a white bbq sauce that is can’t miss good, and a local favorite called Gooey Butter Cake.

This is the only BBQ restaurant we ordered from twice during the whole year! You betcha bottom dollar if we’re in St Louis again at some point a “pit” stop at Sawmill BBQ is gonna happen.

Hawg Wild BBQ + Catfish House – Hiawassee, GA

A recent “pit” stop was Hawg Wild in Haiwassee. We stayed nearby at the gorgeous Georgia Mountains Fairgrounds for three weeks and popped by one day to grab lunch for us and Erin’s mom and dad.

Lake Chatuge, GMF

As far as BBQ places go, Hawg Wild BBQ + Catfish House is pretty good. Take it from a couple of true southerners, who’ve devoured more than our fair share of the sweet, smokey, finger-licking, goodness.

Considering the parking lot of this place, tucked away in one of the prettiest places we’ve been all year, was damn near full every day, we’d say the locals, and tourists alike, agree.

4 Rivers Smokehouse – Tallahassee, FL

Often times we find that the side dishes offered by BBQ joints just don’t rise to the level of the meat. Of course, BBQ isn’t BBQ, unless the meat is the star!

Fried Okra Rockstar!

And while 4 Rivers Smokehouse is a chain, thus comparable to the Sonny’s or Smokey Bones of the world, they really do deserve credit for the attention to detail they pay their side dishes. They absolutely nail the side-dish-cum-super-hero-sidekick to high quality BBQ meat!

From the fried okra to cornbread, and some seriously delicious baked beans, you can’t go wrong with a plate full of goodness from 4 Rivers Smokehouse.

Yes lawd!!!

As we wrap it up, we thought we’d leave you with a song by the smokey, sultry, rockstar that was Jim Morrison and The Doors. The end….of our Year in Review of the BBQ.

Praise be to the BBQ pit master’s!

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