Hardy’s BBQ, Bethesda, Maryland

I often pass the Bethesda Farm Women’s Cooperative Market on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda.  Farm Women are pretty scarce in Bethesda, and it actually is a flea market outside with some vendors inside, the latter selling things that came from a farm somewhere other than Bethesda.  It usually holds little interest for me, but the sight of smoke rising from a large portable grill caught … Continue reading Hardy’s BBQ, Bethesda, Maryland

Jim Shahin on the Rebirth of Real Wood-Cooked Barbecue

Barbecue maven Jim Shahin had a piece last month on NPR about the rise of new barbecue places that cook the old fashioned way – over real wood.  He focuses primarily on Sam Jones’ new place in Winterville, NC, and the much-ballyhooed Franklin Barbecue in Austin, but he also cites Salvage Barbecue in Portland, Maine, and DCity Smokehouse, both reviewed here, and a couple of … Continue reading Jim Shahin on the Rebirth of Real Wood-Cooked Barbecue

Fincher’s, Macon, Georgia

I remember eating at the original Fincher’s back in July 1980, when I was in Georgia to determine whether we should send federal observers to some nearby counties to ensure equal treatment of all voters.  (We should have and we did.)  I recall the pilot announcing that the local temperature was 108 degrees, and that there were yellow jackets in the phone booth from which … Continue reading Fincher’s, Macon, Georgia

The Original Golden Rule, Irondale, Alabama

I really like the Original Golden Rule.  It has been around forever, and was our go-to place after Ollie’s of Blessed Memory closed.  That’s where my father would go when he decided we needed a pork butt to supplement the Thanksgiving turkey.  It was Patrick’s first restaurant.  (He was only a few months  old and slept through it, dreaming sweetly, I’m sure, of barbecue.)  It … Continue reading The Original Golden Rule, Irondale, Alabama

Saw’s Juke Joint, Mountain Brook, Alabama

Saw’s Barbecue in Homewood, Alabama has been an overnight sensation.  See https://johntannersbbqblog.wordpress.com/2015/06/20/saws-barbecue-in-homewood-2/.  The world of barbecue traditionally has granted places great respect and dignity only after years of high quality, and upstarts have to be really good to win high honor.  Saw’s has done just that.  No less an authority than Eric Lee (http://www.inlawsband.com – that’s Eric with the guitar) has written that it may be … Continue reading Saw’s Juke Joint, Mountain Brook, Alabama

Ribs and Barbecue Sauce

The  prior post on the Original Dreamland raises the issue of ribs and barbecue sauce, which can be a problem.  The philosopher Tim McGraw references it in “Somethin’ Like That.”  It requires skill and finesse to eat a bunch of ribs without getting sauce all over your hands and your clothes and, if there is a football game on, everyone else’s clothes. But as Rahm … Continue reading Ribs and Barbecue Sauce

The Original Dreamland, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

In 2008 Nancy and I went on a scouting trip to find a place to live during my stint with the Alabama Law Institute in Tuscaloosa.  We arrived in the early evening and the first place I took Nancy was the Original Dreamland.   The Original Dreamland is an institution in Tuscaloosa.  “Big Daddy” Bishop opened it in 1958 having received a vision from God … Continue reading The Original Dreamland, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Sweet P’s Downtown Dive, Knoxville, Tennessee

We stopped in Knoxville on the way to Birmingham to see family.  The older downtown office buildings there seem to be turning into lofts and the area has something of a college student/hipster feel, with a leavening of young professionals.  The downtown is small and a self-guided tour points out interesting buildings and locations that helped make Knoxville the Cradle of Country Music.  Downtown has … Continue reading Sweet P’s Downtown Dive, Knoxville, Tennessee

Smiley’s Fuel City, Raphine, VA

If you’re driving down Interstate 81 between Staunton and Lexington at 10:00 a.m. and see a sign touting the Best Barbecue in Virginia, you may just pull into Smiley’s Fuel City in Raphine to check it out. Smiley’s is unprepossessing. I went in with low expectations. I have strong feelings about the advisability of operating an open pit near gasoline pumps, and presumed that they used … Continue reading Smiley’s Fuel City, Raphine, VA