Banjo’s Barbecue, Commerce GA (CLOSED)

Problems That Only We Have Dept: Whenever we take a road trip, I want to come home with at least one new barbecue joint. That didn’t happen on our Christmas trip to south Georgia, and it looked like it wasn’t going to happen on our January trip to South Carolina, either. Because I did not do the requisite research, we pulled into the place that I wanted to try too late; they close at 4 pm on Saturdays. We didn’t have time to waste; we’d spent a lot longer with our Baby Mercy Break earlier in the afternoon already, so we headed to Anderson for our last South Carolina stop, as mentioned in the previous chapter.

I knew of one place in Georgia that was near the interstate that we hadn’t tried before, and phoned them with fingers crossed that we might make it. Happily, Banjo’s does not close until 9 on Saturdays, which was great news. We got there with plenty of time, and enjoyed a really good meal.

A few months ago, we got the sad news that Bill’s Bar-B-Q in Hull GA had closed after several decades in business. This was a very good place that I never gave the attention that it deserved, and it also happened to serve the very best bowl of chicken mull that I’ve had anywhere. So I was especially pleased to see mull on the menu here. Frankie Parsons, who, with her husband Dan, moved here from the north-of-Atlanta suburb Acworth to buy and run the place, told us that the business that they bought in 2012, Jimmy Joe’s Bar-B-Q, had mull on the menu. The owner of that place firmly told them that if they wanted to run a barbecue joint in this region, then they needed to serve mull.

The mull proved to be quite good, although it was a little thinner than I tend to like it, about the consistency of the mull at Midway BBQ in Buffalo SC. But a handful of saltines crumbled up thickens the cup just enough and gives it a little texture and flavor. Interstate-only travelers curious about this northeast Georgia / piedmont South Carolina specialty need to nail Banjo’s down on their to-do list. It is only two miles off I-85 and there’s just no excuse for not stopping by.

The Commerce / Banks Crossing exit is home to that mega-enormous, visible-from-space Tanger Outlet Mall, and every chain restaurant in creation. There’s no room for any kind of independent restaurant to thrive in that kind of environment. But remember the exit and use it. It’s just two miles away, past the Tanger and the RaceTrac and all the fast food joints. The mull and the pulled pork are both very good, and their Brunswick stew is simply outstanding. This is not to be missed!

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!

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