Georgia Barbecue

I haven’t had a lot of eating time in Georgia (i.e., time outside the Atlanta airport) since I started the Blog, and there are no trips on the horizon. That’s a shame because there’s a lot of good barbecue in Georgia. I have reviewed a few good places fairly recently — Heritage Market in Atlanta comes to mind, as does B’s Cracklin’ in Savannah and now Atlanta, and our Senior Roving Correspondent, the inestimable Dan Kenney, provided a review of Malsons in Kingsland. And there are others, but not a lot. I have yet t work my way through the Campaign for Real Barbecue’s Georgia list.

To fill the gap, I’m linking you to an article in The Cue Sheet, Robert Moss’ excellent weekly barbecue newsletter — for which you should sign up right now. Go ahead, sign up.

Moss describes a distinctive style of Georgia barbecue and the regional variations one the theme. Read the Cue Sheet itself for the details — it’s well worth reading. And Moss mentions a number of places around Georgia that characterize this style, including Fincher’s, which has several locations in and around Macon.

I went to Fincher’s in the summer of 1980 when I was doing a pre-election field survey as a newly minted Justice Department attorney. I stopped in to pay a courtesy call on the local sheriff (the feds are on your turf). As a way of building good federal-local law enforcement relations, I asked him where to get some barbecue. As a way of building good local-federal law enforcement relations, the sheriff pointed me to the original Fincher’s.

I knew that Fincher’s would be good as soon as I saw it.

Fincher’s was good, very good. My friend Rex Granum came up in Warner Robins, which is about halfway between Macon and Vienna. Rex is a great fan of Fincher’s. Every time he gets near Macon, he buys a bunch of pork sandwiches, freezes them, and takes the sandwiches home so that he can face life with a smile until the next trip to Macon. Rex doesn’t necessarily buy 100 at a time like the fan of the Dixie Pig in Blytheville, Arkansas, but he buys a whole lot. You have to respect that, and respect Fincher’s.

As an aside, during that same 1980 trip I went on to Telfair County, and paid a similar courtesy visit to that sheriff. I asked, completely routinely, if he expected any problems in the coming election. The sheriff said, “Well, they’ll set up a table full of cash out there in front of the courthouse and buy votes.” I took that as a “yes”, and later some folks went to prison. While I was in Telfair County, I ate at a pretty good meat and three, if memory serves, but I can’t recall the name.

Much more recently, Nancy and I were able to stop at Fincher’s on the way back from Florida — an obdurate GPS insisted we go to a different branch than the original. I posted a review, which you can read here. While I really enjoyed the barbecue and the sides, it turns out that I had mis-ordered: I failed to order Brunswick stew, one of the keys to a true Georgia-style barbecue place. Still, I had a great lunch. In addition to barbecue, Fincher’s offers turnip greens, which are much, much tastier than the usual collard greens. That in itself is reason enough to go.

You should read Moss’ article, and if you haven’t already, you really should sign up to get the Cue Sheet. It’s always a good read, lively and informative. You’ll learn about a lot of great places to eat and, not least, what to order in a Georgia barbecue place. And for another interesting take on Georgia barbecue and other barbecue issues, see this 2016 post from Marie Let’s Eat. (Hat tip to the inestimable Barbecue Bros for flagging that one.) For still more wisdom, check out the Georgia Barbecue Trails website.

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6 thoughts on “Georgia Barbecue

  1. John, I followed the link to your Dixie Pig review, a great review of a great place. I was there a couple of times, back in the last century, and I’m glad to know that they’re still cooking.
    Another great place was That Bookstore in Blytheville, which was to bookstores what the Pig is to barbecue restaurants. It ranked up there with Square Books in Oxford and Flyleaf in Chapel Hill. Famous authors traveled hundreds of miles to do readings there.
    The past tense is because it closed in 2017. It has reopened now with new owners and a new name, apparently, but I can’t vouch for them.
    Lots of parallels between indie bookstores and old-time barbecue places. Worth thinking about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of my cousins was involved in that bookstore. Did you speak there? Blytheville’s a bit out of the way.

      And did you try the barbecue sandwich at the Kream Kastle? I ate there right after lunch at the Dixie Pig, and thought it was almost as good. There’s a split in Blytheville between Dixie Pig and Kream Kastle fans similar to the Parker’s-Bill’s (now Marty’s) split in Wilson.

      Like

  2. Well, bless your cousin for keeping the place going (although I like the old name better).
    Yes, I went there to do readings. Once I drove up from Memphis, the other time from Oxford, Mississippi. I’m pretty sure I didn’t sell enough books to pay for my gas, but it’s always great to hang out with a room full of folks who are interested in what I’ve written,
    Nobody told me about the Kream Kastle, alas. If I ever get back I’ll check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

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