This is Marie, writing atypically about barbecue. We had invited our friends Adam and Emily from Spatialdrift out to the back of beyond — excuse me, suburban Kennesaw — for a visit to our side of town, to one of our favored local BBQ places, Big Shanty Smokehouse. The owner, Chic Dillard, has only been there since 2008, not long before I moved to this area myself. We have been going there for years and really enjoy it. It was actually the first barbecue restaurant that we ever wrote about at this blog, almost four years ago.
It’s a good and friendly place, well stocked with TVs full of sports for those inclined, but those indifferent to the fate of men in sweaty jerseys can easily find a seat that allows them to face in a non-TV direction. There are two dining areas, one inside the original structure with handmade booths, and an enclosed porch with a sloping floor and tables that are more suitable for a high chair.
The meat is available either pulled or chopped, and the flavor so permeates the meat that you really don’t need any sauce. Chic tells us that the meat is usually smoked for about thirteen hours every night and the meat is so seasoned already that it comes out a dark red-brown. I generally just dip a few forkfuls into the sauce but otherwise eat the meat plain. I prefer pulled style, mainly because it gives me more of the center, moister meat. Grant likes burnt ends more than I do (and, for all his complaints about turkey meat being dry, he loves dry pork), so he picked the chopped as usual.
For sides, I got the beans and the mac’n’cheese to share with the baby. They are a little unusual and definitely worth checking out. No canned pintos with a bit of ham and BBQ sauce here! These have the texture of beans that were soaked on premises, and a really unusual seasoning blend. You will either really enjoy or not like these at all – be sure to find out which because you won’t know what you’re missing if you love them. He was not interested in the beans at all, I’m afraid. I had to finish them myself. I wonder how I forgot that he didn’t like them. The macaroni is pretty decent but the boy got almost all of mine. It is also clearly made on premises and not with powdered cheese.
We had to recommend that Adam and Emily get the banana pudding. I can’t have it very often because it is too good. The last time Grant brought some home, I didn’t even want to taste it because my stomach was of the opinion it was in a Monty Python sketch, and he was offering a “wafer-thin” morsel. This time I just had too much food to take home from the substantial portions on my plate. There is a part of me that still doesn’t think I should order dessert if the plate isn’t at least mostly clean.
Other blog posts about Big Shanty:
BBQ Geek (May 20 2008)
From My Table (June 17 2009)
3rd Degree Berns Barbecue Sabbatical (Feb. 14 2010)
Food Near Snellville (Sep. 10 2010)
The Georgia Barbecue Hunt (Aug. 5 2011)
Spatialdrift (Dec. 2 2013)
Like barbecue? You can see all the barbecue restaurants that we have visited for our blog (more than 250!) on this map, with links back to the original blog posts. It’s terrific for anybody planning a barbecue road trip through the southeast!