Field Correspondent Brother Fred Schauer writes from Austin:
Ate at Ruby's last night. Just outside the U Texas campus. They have lots of things, but this is Texas so I had beef brisket barbecue. Appropriately cooked -- falling apart but not so much that distinct slices could not be recognized. Decent sized portions but not massive. Nice flavor, with not too much smoke. Good very tangy sauces and excellent spicy vinegary coleslaw. No atmosphere, which is just the kind of atmosphere you want in a barbecue place. Simple, non-pretentious and informal, in an Austin we-wish-we-were-old-enough-to-have-been-hippies way. My wife had pork ribs, served as big distinct ribs and not as a rack. Again very nicely cooked and easy to eat, with good flavor and good sauces on the side. (P.S.. Franklin's is described as having a two hour wait. In my view, nothing is that good, but we might still see if we can do it tomorrow for an early lunch.)
The despatch ends here, and it is not known whether the Schauer party succumbed to a two-hour wait. Watch this space.
community Q BBQ
1361 Clairmont Rd
Decatur, GA 30031
"Emory to field football team."
Undefeated since 1836. And counting. Georgia State'll have to find somebody else to whup up on.
Okay, football's a distraction and it promotes gambling and all that.
How about barbecue? I'm betting that's a distraction, too. I decided I had to check out community Q BBQ [sic], which has been Yelped to the skies by Jerseyites and Lon Gislanders.
This place shares a tiny strip mall off Clairmont with a bunch of other world cuisines. It is not licensed, so you will have to brownbag your own icy cold Jägermeister shots. Or you can just leave and drive over to Fox Bros., but don't even think about taking a left turn out the parking lot.
It was lunch time and a tad early for shots, so I ordered at the counter and sat on a bench at a scratched-up down-at-Morey's-type table with some people who didn't look all too academic.
What you see is what I got. The sandwich had a fluffy mouthfeel like the meat was chopped but it was not chopped. It was advertised as "pulled" and looked pulled. There were burnt bits on the meat, but they were strangely not crunchy, but fluffy too. The ample meat was served between two slices of white bread that look like they were some kind of marbled white/wheat bread but that's only because of the way they toasted it. I prefer a bun but I liked the way the bread was toasted but it was not quite equal to the meat weight. When that happens what you have is a struggle to keep the sandwich from turning into a barbecue plate, which I do not order because I don't see why I should have to do all that work to put a sandwich together, which is what I always do if the order gets mixed up and I happen to wind up with the pork plate anyway.
There were thin-sliced see-through pickles on the tray and some sauces on the table. You get two sides ($11) so I got fries and collards. It was a mess of fries, skin-on, limp, but with crunchy bits where the skin is. There was seasoning salt on the fries, which always seems like gilding the lily to me.
The waitindividual came by while I was eating and laid down a spritz of Clorox on a place that was just vacated. He noticed my chagrin and said he wasn't going to squirt me not to worry. But a mist of bleach droplets is not my idea of salubrious atmosphere. I'm as much of a germophobe as the next paranoid schizophrenic but c'mon --please-- let me finish my meal first.
Anyway. I snooped around afterward and determined to my satisfaction that the meat must be cooked in one of those Southern Pride-type contraptions against which me and the Prince of Wails are on a campaign (watch this space for Duchy Originals Barbecue).
Rating: OK! (if you're from Manhasset or Massapequa).
A terrible, ugly rumor is circle-atin' that says Bill is out of business. Bill is here to tell you it is not so. True, Bill's hit traffic has been down somewhat ever since the first so-called debate. But I expect a complete recovery come Wednesday, November 7. There will be a needed stimulus beginning that day to encourage wasting time elsewhere than the prediction markets (e.g., PredictWise, my personal favorite) and the poll compilers (e.g., FiveThirtyEight, in case you've been without electricity or something and haven't been keeping up). I myself have no desire to participate in this quadrennial circus, nor to approach it except from the Olympian heights of meta-analysis.
For those of you who remain undecided, you may choose between the advice offered me by my brother Lee, who holds that Romney and Ryan are a two-headed anti-Christ, and my sister Louise, who warns of the consequences America faces should it return Barak the Baby-Killer (Barbecue-Killer, too, the story is told) to the Highest Office in the Land.
If the Lord truly wanted to destroy America, all He'd need to do would be to put Election Day on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving instead of three weeks ahead of it. Anyway, in case you are in the Richmond, Virginia, area and can't remember when you last had some good barbecue, check out this guide to the Richmond barbecue scene.
Southern Soul Barbecue
2020 Demere Road
Sea Island, Georgia
This licensed place is conveniently located on one of the few traffic circles in the state of Georgia. Outdoor seating aplenty, with a view of the sun setting over the marshes and light planes dropping down onto the runway of the general aviation airport next door.
The outstanding items on the menu are the Brunswick stew (the eponymous town is right across the Intracoastal) and the fried green beans, which taste like hush puppies. Good way to get the dog to eat the veggies. The sandwich itself was creditable but I could not swear it was outstanding.
I had trouble focussing on it because I was struggling with the draft I had ordered. I thought it was cider I'd been given by mistake, but I guess it was one of those Belgian-style brews that tastes like it's had air freshener spilled in it. Lucky for me, there was a lot else on tap (including PBR, which I'd never seen anyplace except in cans or on the floor).
So, this rating is tentative, because I will surely be back.
JL's Open Pit Bar-B-Q
Exit 3 off of I-475 bypass
There's a lot to like here at this barbecue place, which is licensed and has a take-away window. The only downside is that there is a ding sound that is tripped every time anybody comes or goes in or out the front door -- a ding sound like a toaster oven or a microwave makes when time's up. A small complaint, but enough to drive some people crazy (especially if they start out halfway crazy already).
I was a bit frazzled from being on the hiway driving my lady wife down to the coast to visit with our daughter. So I forgot protocol and did not specify "no sauce." The menu said "chopped, sliced, or pulled" and I followed the trend and said "pulled" (when Bill was growing up in Alabama there was no "pulled" unless it was somebody's finger).
The sandwich came on a toasted bun, and looked to me like it was chopped. It was sauced but luckily with a decent sauce that was a lot like pickle juice. And with pickles, too. There was a bit of outside meat (aka "crunch meat") but not enough to make me worry much about cancer. The fries were crinkle-cut and not bad. Had a little crunch to 'em.
Fox Bros. BBQ
But the hedgehog knows one big thing: ice-cold Jägermeister shots from an ice-cold shot dispenser don't go well with anything. Except maybe a katzenjammer and lifetime of regret. "Our House Wine Is Jägermeister" translates: Beware! A four-to-a-customer limit helps somewhat, but "four-on-the-floor" is an old saying not to be forgotten.
The barbecue is good, especially for a trendy, in-town place in a repurposed filling station that recently had a tree fall on it. I sat at the bar and was offered a Watermelon Marguerita, but opted instead for a Sweetwater IPA and a generously proportioned pulled pork sandwich (a tad pricey at $9.95). The meat had burnt tips and was thick like turkey meat (is the suggestion of dryness only that? --sauce-ers need not fret). It came on a toasted sesame bun, with pickles. The plentiful side of fries was of the skin-on-the-end, floppy but crispy variety, square in cross-section like a 4 by 4.
The smoker is on the premises, the pork shoulder stays in there for 12 hours.
1600 Marietta, Boulevard, Canton, Georgia
Cantonese barbecue, and why not? If it's in Canton, it's Cantonese! Geddit!!??! (as Glenda Slagg might say). Shuckin' aside, I am finding more and better closer barbecue places everytime I turn around, it seems like. This one is Todd's favorite, too, I am told. And man is it good. You know it's the real deal when you can sit and roll up your ball of wax while you stare into a real, log fed, wood-fire pit. (Beer served.)
A hard-to-beat chopped sandwich with flecks of outside meat. Skip the fries. They're big, skin-off, and textureless. They do not rise to the mediocre level. The sauce is no help, either.
But the barbecue is genuine and delectible, which is what you go to a barbecue place for. (Anybody ever brown-bag fries?) Ask for pickles and they lay them on you here. Thin, crisp crinkle-cut dills are precisely what barbecue needs (and all it needs) to reveal its full splendor.
A hint of sweetness in the untoasted bun was not offensive.
Old Clinton Bar-B-Q House
2645 N. Columbia St (Hy 441 Bypass)
Milledgeville, GA 31061
478 454 0080
Serendipity is what happened when you blowed out a tire on your truck and you as a result have to wait 2 hours in a barbecue place while the repair truck comes from Macon. The Old Clinton serves the real deal. Succulent, slow-smoked pig shoulder, with all the pickles you can shake a tire iron at.
I did not try the fries but I did order a second sandwich, which I know is contrary to protocol but the first one went down so fast I had to have another. I would've had a third if the repair truck has taken any longer than it did.
The ladies working there are real nice and so I asked if I could see the smoker pit. The counter lady had to consult with her over-lady, who said their insurance would not allow it. I said I understood and did not press the issue. But I lied: I did not and do not understand.
When did the insurance company become the boss of us? I'd like to know. Like, "Well, the fella that got hurt came back to look at the smoker and I guess he musta just fallen in...." Yeah. It happens all the dang time.
But what a way to go. (And think of the savings!) Anyway, this is a place I am going to put on Bill's Barbecue World Map straight way, and by the power invested in me I hereby award: