Mickey Pigg’s BBQ, Alto GA

In the previous chapter, I mentioned that a couple of barbecue places along US-23 in northeastern Georgia had been patiently waiting for us to give them a visit. Tomlin’s was one, and Mickey Pigg’s was the other. From the city limit signs, it would appear to be in the town of Baldwin, but it claims an Alto mailing address. It’s about fifteen miles north of the far end of I-985, and it’s celebrating 21 years in business.

Barbara and Jerry Smith bought a recently-closed barbecue shack as they were relocating to the area from Florida and began smoking meats and baking pies. Their dessert selection is astonishing. This is one of those restaurants that serves all sorts of food to please everybody, including a salad bar, but while I playfully disapprove of going too far away from the barbecue in a restaurant that’s meant to specialize in it, the pies and cakes here should not be missed. They have a huge selection of gigantic things, and the treats that Marie and our son enjoyed were very good.

We met our friends Matt and Kelley, who live nearby… well, no, they don’t live nearby at all, but closer than we do, and they didn’t object to driving a little north for an early dinner and giant, tasty desserts. Matt ordered a large barbecue sandwich and it was served on a big hoagie roll, which was surprising.

Portions here are very big and the prices are low, but I wasn’t really wild about the barbecue or the basic sides. The chopped pork was pretty good, dry and with a very gentle and mild taste of smoke, but the sauces were very disappointing. I wish that they made these in-house; they seem to be made for them by a bottler in the region who handles many of the steak sauces or preserves for north Georgia farms like Jaemor, and they just taste like chemicals and preservatives. The Brunswick stew was much better. It’s available as a separately-priced appetizer rather than a side, but it’s a terrific stew, just exploding with flavors and a rich tomato taste.

Perhaps Mickey Pigg’s is one of those restaurants that does too many things and would please me more by focusing on the ones they do best? The chopped pork was still pretty good, though there is better in the Gainesville area, but we were most satisfied by the stew and the pies. The service was excellent and the prices were right, and it’s not a bad stop overall. While it lacks that oomph to make it a destination, I think we’d be inclined to visit more often if we lived in the area.


Are you planning a barbecue road trip? You can see all the barbecue restaurants that we have visited for our blog (more than 350 !) on this map, with links back to the original blog posts!

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