About two weeks back, TripAdvisor set the barbecue world on its collective ear, by declaring Georgia the barbecue “Capitol”, with three Georgia spots in their top 10, in this list. Friends from around the country (particularly Texans) immediately took umbrage and started questioning the quality of the rankings. Sadly, I had personally been to none of the three listed places, so I couldn’t speak definitively, although I eagerly defended Georgia ‘cue, in general. Today, when we were heading for our monthly walk (this time at Fall Branch Falls, on the Benton-MacKaye Trail, near Cherry Log), we were too close to Joe’s BBQ, not to stop.
As we were also closer than we ever get to Blairsville, a stop at Rib Country was in order, first. So we went to RC for lunch, then worked our way the 30 or so miles to Blue Ridge, with a few stops along the way. As we pulled back into Blue Ridge, a giant antique store beckoned my beloved, so I ventured to Joe’s alone. Walking in, the counter was to the right, with seating available to the left, on the porch and outside.
I walked to the counter and ordered a pork sandwich and a half rack of ribs, then grabbed a table and waited. They were fairly busy, with a constant flow of people, due both to the arts festival going on in town and the recent article.
While seated, I sampled the sauces, deciding that “Spicy” and “Mom’s Sauce” were my favorites.
Ten minutes later, my sandwich (with a despicable, unmentioned pickle) and
ribs arrived. I was surprised at the size of the half-rack (eight bones), but not disappointed.
I cut the pork sandwich in half, and poured the spicy sauce on half of that. It was good pork, not overly smoky and kind of dry. The ribs had been smoked with a dry rub and were fairly meaty. Both meats were served dry.
The barbecue was fine, but definitely wouldn’t qualify as the “seventy-five mile” barbecue that it would have been labelled (in my mind), had we driven to Blue Ridge just to eat there. I’m grateful that I had stopped at Joe’s while I was “in the neighborhood”. But if I had driven that distance, just for this barbecue, I would have been highly disappointed.
Note: Back in the 1980s, Lewis Grizzard, the late Southern humorist, rated barbecue in terms of the miles you would drive to get there. In his world, “hundred mile barbecue” was as good as it got – most places were “ten mile barbecue”.