While Jo and I were preparing for the Peachtree Road Race on the afternoon of the 3rd, she mentioned that she’d seen this thing in Southern Living naming the best barbecue in the South and there were two Atlanta places. She couldn’t remember one of the names and the other had “Pit” in it. I, being obstinate insisted that she must have misheard and it was “Pig” not “Pit”, then named a series of Atlanta-area barbecue with “Pig” in the name, Hickory Pig, Blind Pig or any Pig, but she insisted it was “Pit”.
I consult the Oracle (Google on my phone), and I find the Southern Living article about the Pit Master at Old Brick Pit Barbecue in Chamblee. I ask her if that’s the place and DING -we have a winner. So it goes on the list.
On to the 4th, after the Peachtree Road Race we’re heading up Peachtree from Buckhead to meet Colleen at Seasons 52 and there Old Brick Pit is on the right. I lament that we didn’t plan to meet Cole there and Jo compromises, “we’ll pick some up for dinner on the way home.” Agreed. On to lunch. Then back to the Old Brick Pit. I go in to order and the first thing they say is, “We don’t have any ribs.” Dang! Strike one. On we go toward home and we swing into REI for a few minutes. A few turns into 90. As we leave, I realize that we’re still only ten minutes away and they WERE cooking more ribs. I pull back into the parking lot and walk back inside just in time to hear them say, “we’re out of ribs and pork.” Strike two. (See the footnote for how this story works out).
Now I have it set in mind that I HAVE to eat at this place. Today for lunch I made the drive down to Chamblee for barbecue. After reading some of the review from Marie, let’s eat (a magnificent food blog, BTW), he talks about how empty OBPB was when he ate there. Both times I went in on the 4th, the lot was over half full and today, it was up to 65-70%.
The first thing I noticed when I walked in the front door (propped open with a newspaper stand) was the strong smell of smoke. If the restaurant smells this good, surely the barbecue will be smoky as well. The second thing that I notice is the HORRIFIC traffic flow – you walk in the door to get in line which blocks the only pathway back from the counter to the rest of the restaurant. While in line, I was forced to move out of the way of someone coming in, or going out, or getting a refill, or going to a bathroom no less than seven times. The fact that there was a bench against the window directly across from the counter which cut the walking path in half, didn’t help the flow. The third thing is the giant brick pit behind the counter, dating to the inception of the place, 1976.
After the two failed attempts earlier in the week, I decided that I needed to “sample” the fare, so I ordered a Rib Plate (1/2 pound of ribs, slaw – which I substituted for chips, white bread and stew) and a Barbecue Pork Sandwich.
I’m not typically a Brunswick stew fan, but this was really good. It was thin and really meaty, based on their sauce, which was vinegary and peppery and fairly hot, with the only additional ingredients that I could see of tomato and corn.
Kind of smoky, with a little bit of crust / char. They were tasty, but needed some sauce (not the best sign in a rib) and the sauce was not the best. Independent of the stew, the sauce was very vinegary (something of which they brag on their web site) and peppery. I did clean every bone and left that plate, along with the stew bowl, clean enough that a non-feral dog wouldn’t give either a decent look. Then I turned my attention to the sandwich
I took the first bite and realized that at least one side of the bun was soaked in their sauce. So I separated the sandwich and tried a bite of the pork which wasn’t soaked in sauce. The first thought was it was dry. The second was that it tasted like a pork roast. I ended up eating about a third of it and called it a day.
Footnote: After two strikes at Old Brick Pit, I had to have ribs for dinner on the 4th. We left OBPB and went to Heirloom Market. When I walked in, at about 4:45, I ordered a rack of ribs and a 1/2 pound each of pork and brisket. She responded, “we’re out of pork and ribs.” Strike three. From Heirloom, I drove over to Thompson Brothers. I could see them behind the counter, but the “OPEN” sign was not lit. I figured they might have just closed (it was 5:05) and I might be able to squeeze in an order, but the door was locked and the guy at the bike shop next door told me that they had closed at 4:00. Strike four. Resolute, I called Dave Poe’s. No answer. I called again. No answer. I called a friend who eats there a lot and he told me they were closed for the 4th. Strike five. I had decided that I was likely heading toward becoming a vegetarian (not likely) or eating a Zaxby’s salad (more likely), Jo mentioned Jim ‘N Nick’s. For chain barbecue, Jim ‘N Nick’s is about as good as it gets. The place is PACKED when we get there around 6:00. I park and go in to order, as the drive-thru is backed up. I ask the hostess if I can order at the bar. “Sure. But we’re out of ribs and pork.” “Are you kidding me?” Nope. Strike six. An entire inning. We went home and ordered a pizza….