Since I’m a little less than thrilled with some of the earliest chapters that we wrote for this blog, we’ve been occasionally revisiting a few for a slightly better story. Plus, in the case of Two Brothers, which we first wrote about in March of 2010, an equally good additional reason to visit Ball Ground did not yet exist.
At the time of that original story, I had been working at my present job for about eight months. My boss at the time, Melissa, has popped into a couple of stories over the years. She left our job in 2011, in what she called an “urban evacuation,” and moved to the foothills of the north Georgia mountains. She has opened a really great little shop in Ball Ground, which is the nearest town to her place in the middle of nowhere. Backyard Market is a wonderful shop selling gifts and crafts from artisans in the region, as well as coffee, veggies, and occasionally some fresh eggs. The shop also hosts classes for moms-to-be who are looking for a more natural birth experience, and, each time we have visited, we’ve left more and more impressed at how the shop is becoming a centerpiece for the Ball Ground community, with lots and lots of locals stopping by to shop, say hello, and see what is new in the constantly changing inventory. It is truly a wonderful little store, and I strongly recommend all of our readers give Backyard Market a visit!
Now, I suppose that we could have, each time we have gone to Backyard Market in Ball Ground, looked around for something new to spotlight here at the blog, like Tadpole’s, which is just down the street, but we usually end up going back to Two Brothers, which is a couple of miles away on Old Canton Road. Decades ago, the original two brothers, Ken and Grady Jordan, who opened the place in 1974, erected some dark wood signs around the area, pointing travelers to their very out-of-the-way restaurant. At least two of these crumbling signs are still standing, barely, reinforcing a pleasant little sense that guests are about to step back in time.
Grady Jordan has since retired, and Ken runs the business with his son Randy these days. On Thursdays and Fridays, when Two Brothers is busiest, guests work through a cafeteria line to the register. On the somewhat slower Saturdays, they offer table service. I didn’t even remember until the children and I finished our meal on a Saturday before Christmas that you can pick up some chow-chow at the register if you go through the line. Well, darn it. We were in Ball Ground because I had promised Melissa a playpen for her daughter that our son had outgrown, and because I had promised the girlchild a trip to that new outlet mall just north of Woodstock. Getting some more of this good barbecue was in the middle of the errands. Busy morning on I-575, really.
At Two Brothers, the main dish is the chopped pork barbecue. These are hams, done on an electric smoker for thirteen hours. The result is a very lean plate of white-pink pork, pretty dry, with a flavor that is not very strong, but pleasantly mild. The taste is similar to the meat at Holcomb’s in Greensboro (and White Plains), but Two Brothers has a more traditional brown sauce than the red tomato-vinegar that Holcomb’s uses. They offer it in mild and hot varieties, and of course I preferred the hot.
My daughter and I each had Brunswick stew with our orders. Two Brothers offers one of the best around. It’s chunky with corn and meat and quite thick. The toddler enjoyed the hand-cut fries – I gave him almost half of mine, along with a little of my pork. They pride themselves here on making almost all of the food in-house. The only thing that they don’t do here are potato chips, and while I did not order slaw on this visit, I recall it being really good as well.
A meal here isn’t complete without taking a few minutes to look around the old bric-a-brac and assorted treasures. Like Hot Thomas in Watkinsville, this place is set up in a very old store – it once belonged to Ken and Grady’s father – and many of the old store items have been retained as decoration. The empty bottle of Kickapoo Joy Juice that they still will not sell me – I have made an offer four times over the last twenty years – is still taunting me from the shelf. When you visit, as I believe that you should, keep an eye out for that bottle. Then tell your server that you read about the restaurant at Marie, Let’s Eat! and that they really should give me that bottle, on account of how sweet I am.
Other blog posts about Two Brothers:
Where’s the Best BBQ? (date unknown)
Dyer Consequences (May 25 2007)
Jennifer Carter at Maxsell (June 5 2009)
Buster’s Blogs (July 24 2009)
Southern Foodways Alliance (Nov. 13 2010)
From Rabbit Town (Mar. 5 2011)
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!