When Bub-Ba-Q opened its second location in Woodstock in the summer of 2009, there was considerable hoopla on a message board that I used to frequent, and which no longer exists. I mention it in this vague way to show that yes, I can table those unfunny attempts at recurring jokes when I promise to do so. If I’m not mistaken, this Woodstock branch is located in a space that was occupied for a few years by a Slope’s, which is a small chain of barbecue restaurants with four or five locations in the northern suburbs.
The original Bub-Ba-Q is in the town of Jasper, and I’ve not visited it yet. The restaurants are a culmination of a lot of hard work and something that I don’t believe I’ve come to on this blog before: a touring schedule. Before Bub-Ba-Q set its sights on a strong restaurant presence, the owners were out on the festival circuit, spreading the word and improving their product at cookoffs and invitationals. This is a world that I might need an expense account to really appreciate properly, should any kind sponsors be out there ready to send me to Kansas City or that great big one in Lynchburg that runs every October. The Jack Daniels’ World Championship Invitational is the one to beat. Last year, Bub-Ba-Q came third overall, with its amazing brisket second place among all challengers.
They are best known, however, for a meal that I have not yet tried. They offer a deep-fried pork burrito that’s served smothered in Brunswick stew and called a Hog-a-Chonga. It’s probably not really in keeping with my nature to shy away from something that sounds so decadent, but really, what I like best at a barbecue restaurant is a simple plate of chopped pork with two sides, and Bub-Ba-Q does a splendid job of it.
Last week, Marie and the kids and I got together with several friends for supper here. We’ve started a little rotation among some of our buddies in town for doing something once a week, evolving from a long-established weekly movie night to incorporate dinners. That this gives us more opportunities to write chapters here on the blog as well as socialize and see our friends is a nice side effect. I also confess that I hope we’ll get to enjoy occasional restaurants that I wouldn’t think to try on my own as other members of the gang pick things.
Kimberly, who we hope is saving Randy from ever again eating at one of those Chinese buffets, picked Bub-Ba-Q. Also present were our friends Todd and Samantha, and Neal, who ordered that second-place-in-the-world brisket and was very pleased with it. My son had a pork sandwich along with fried mac-n-cheese, another terrific house specialty, and Marie had their very good ribs. I had my standard plate of pork with baked beans, which were pretty good and corn fritters, which were excellent.
Everybody seemed to really enjoy their meal here and I think we’re all in agreement that this is one of the best barbecue options in the immediate area, as we define it to mean “making a quick hop a couple of interstate exits, and not making a production.” I think it’s pretty much a toss-up between this and Big Shanty Smokehouse, but either one is leagues superior to anything else we have found in North Cobb or South Cherokee. As part of my recent commitment to just enjoy life and eating a lot more, I’m going to stop flirting with other area barbecue restaurants that don’t measure up to these guys. That would be most of them.
Other blog posts about Bub-Ba-Q:
The Georgia Barbecue Hunt (July 25 2011)