Georgia and Texas Collide at Hottie Hawg’s Smokin’ BBQ

wpid-20130713_202140.jpgHottie Hawg’s Smokin’ BBQ
Atlanta, Georgia

Barbecue restaurants are a dime a dozen in the South, but not all of them shine. A bit off the beaten path, I was recently invited to visit Hottie Hawg’s Smokin’ BBQ in Atlanta, and while the menu did include some typical side dishes, like mac & cheese and potato salad, the real surprise came in the blackened Mahi-mahi fish tacos, the whole fried okra and the chocolate pecan pie. It was a combination of the menu’s unpredictability and the atmosphere’s eclectic, neighborhood vibe, set to the sound of live rhythm and blues that caught my immediate attention. The smell of smoked pig hovering in the parking lot indicated a good time before we even walked through the doors.

I’m Rebekah Faulk and that’s my boyfriend Kurt and I above, along with Katelynne, our server. We visited Hottie Hawg’s on a Saturday night. As soon as we walked in, we heard, “Hey y’all. Welcome to Hottie Hawg’s! Just have a seat wherever you’d like,” followed by another voice from the bar who hollered, “Welcome to Hottie Hawg’s!”

wpid-20130713_203935.jpgWe took our seats close to the small stage just a few tables away from the lively bar, where we were entertained with old school blues all night long by Steve. Jam on, brother.

THE STAFF:

Shortly after sitting down, we were greeted by Chef Charles, better known by the staff as Chuck. Eager and excited to share his creations, Chuck was from Hinesville, Ga. Then later, Kyle, the owner, AKA Boss Hawg, made his way to our table. We told him to pull up a chair, and he grabbed a beer from the bar and joined us. A straight-shooter and native Texan, he was laid back and easygoing. His passion and drive was infectious, and it was apparent that Hottie Hawg’s was his heart. He could tell you every detail about the Stump’s Smokers they use to cook the meat, the local artwork on the walls and the menu items. Boss Hawg was in his element. “There’s Texas. There’s Georgia. We put it all together,” he said. Here, he explains how the magic happens:

THE FOOD: 


Best known for their sliced brisket, ribs and smoked chicken wings, Hottie Hawg’s Smokin’ BBQ is the three-time reigning Taste of Marietta champion, having won the competition consecutively from 2011-2013. Their stand out side dishes include fried okra, collard greens and Brunswick stew. You can expect to pay anywhere from $6-$25, depending on your appetite. We shared two meat combos including sliced brisket, chopped brisket, beer can chicken, pulled pork and andouille sausage. My favorite? Beer can chicken. The smoked flavor of the skin was crispy and slightly charred, and the chicken, perfectly moist. On brisket, my favorite was chopped because I found it easiest to eat. Boss Hawg compared the Texas style brisket to steak, explaining it this way—“If you’re a rib eye fan, you’ll probably like the chopped brisket. Filet mignon fan? You’ll liked the sliced.” The chopped brisket tends to contain more fat. Served on a cutting board, the meat combo came complete with your choice of two different sauces: Carolina-style mustard or Georgia style tomato-onion. Many of the menu items are Southwestern influenced, and the meats and cheeses are as locally sourced as possible.

THE ATMOSPHERE:

From the moment you walk in at Hottie Hawg’s, you feel comfortable. It’s unpretentious. Nothing fancy. It’s down home, local, informal, casual. It’s where the firemen hangout…an atmosphere where everybody knows everybody. Oftentimes folks think Atlanta is all white table cloths and candlelight, but not so. Sports memorabilia, tag plates and ball caps grace the walls. With a sexy pig for a logo, Hottie Hawg’s brings a fun, party vibe to the outskirts of town.

THE BAR:


The restaurant offers some rather “spirited” drinks, like the Rusted Out Muffler and the Adios Mother @%#$&. From the Hawg Balls to the 32 oz. Hawg-a-Rita, Hottie Hawg’s really follows through with the pig theme of things. For instance, the 18-Squeeler:

wpid-20130713_202342.jpgIt’s a 35-foot BBQ rig, fully equipped with grills, refrigeration, an air-conditioned kitchen and flat screen TVs!

wpid-20130713_202356.jpgOpen for just three years, Hottie Hawg’s Smokin’ BBQ, has more than 3,000 Facebook fans. They even offer brunch! Be sure to check them out on Lifetime this Tuesday, July 16 for the premiere of Catering Wars. I’ll be rootin’ for ’em.


Note: I was invited to review Hottie Hawg’s BBQ and our meal was comped.

Hottie Hawg's Smokin' BBQ on Urbanspoon

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Passion Meets Barbeque in Coastal Southeast Georgia

Southern Soul Barbeque
St. Simons Island, Georgia

In the South, barbeque is a holy subject. Opinions about it begin forming at a very early age. At an after-church dinner recently, my sister-in-law and I were serving our plates and chatting about how good the barbeque looked, when a young boy not more than ten spoke up, confidence in motion, to let us know that while lunch was nice, it was his dad who made the best barbeque in all of Bulloch County. We take our pork seriously. Harrison and the staff at Southern Soul Barbeque on St. Simons Island get that. It’s an expression from their very soul, spoken in tender pork, slow cooked and oak-smoked for hours over burning coals and served to anyone with sense enough to stop. You can see the smoke and smell that barbeque coming from the outdoor pits as soon as you hit the parking lot.

That’s Harrison Sapp, the owner. He was an all around nice guy and made me and my Shih Tzu, Ewok, feel as welcome as a whelk in its shell. This guy gets up at 4 a.m. everyday and begins cooking at 6:30 a.m. to have lunch ready for all the hungry folks in the Golden Isles. Passion is the only thing that would motivate one to do something so well 7 days a week.

He showed me around and lifted the lid on the smoker to reveal these beauties. Seasoned with a sweet dry rub and sprayed with a little apple juice throughout the cooking process, the result is pure pork flavor, juicy and tender.

Ewok made himself right at home on the cool cement floor while I waited for my sandwich. The staff even brought him a bowl of water to drink. These long picnic tables are situated on the porch under a vaulted ceiling with big fans and drop lighting. It’s the kind of casual atmosphere where it’s perfectly acceptable to stroll over off the beach in your swim suit.

Served on a toasted bun with pickles, the Jumbo Pulled Pork Sandwich is a beautiful display of the restaurant’s finest. I ordered creamy mac & cheese as my side with a tall, cold glass of sweet tea. Suffice it to say, it’s the best $6.50 I’ve ever spent.

Is your mouth watering yet? I drizzled my sandwich with a little Sweet Georgia Soul Sauce and dug in. Jars of sweet and hot sauce, vinegar and Texas Pete grace the tables. If slaw suits your fancy, they’ll top your sandwich with it at no charge.

Formerly a 1940’s gas station, tag plates and catchy signs decorate the restaurant front and posters advertising local events fill the windows, giving the place that hometown, log cabin-like feel. I particularly love the Dig on Pig sign. On the menu, you’ll find grilled pimento cheese sandwiches, beef brisket, chicken strips, ribs, even sausage and burgers. The sides are soulful too including selections like Brunswick stew, hoppin’ john, fried okra and fried green beans.

No worries for all of you that prefer to beat the heat. Pull up a bar stool inside in the air conditioning and have a cold one. Southern Soul Barbeque is open Monday – Saturday from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

For a taste of Southern Soul at home, pick up a bottle of one of their Georgia Soul sauces.

As seen in leading magazines like Georgia Trend, Garden & Gun and Southern Living and on major television networks like TLC and Food Network, Southern Soul Barbeque is no secret. Guy Fieri himself has been here and has featured the restaurant on his show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. This Southeast Coastal Georgia Smoke Joint gets around.

Not in the South? Not a problem. Now, Southern Soul Barbeque offers nationwide shipping! Located on the round about at 2020 Demere Road, be sure to pull in on your next visit to the Golden Isles of Georgia. It’s worth the stop and good for your soul. 😉

Southern Soul Barbeque on Urbanspoon