Hawg Heaven BBQ, Hogansville GA (CLOSED)

The final stop on my tour was a place that had been waiting patiently on my to-do list for many years. In 2012, I had kind of planned to stop here after a day of indulgence in Columbus, but couldn’t bring myself to make yet another stop. Finally back in the area and with a little more time and room in my belly, I had walked for almost two miles around Warm Springs before making the lazy drive north, and then west along GA-100, crossing I-85 and visiting the great little town of Hogansville.

You might have noticed that barbecue writers don’t often explore this part of Georgia, and many of the restaurants I visited on this Saturday have a very small online footprint. Six years ago, 3rd Degree Berns Barbecue Sabbatical popped by Hawg Heaven, and his sadly-missed blog – we all wish he’d resume it – seems to be the only story this restaurant has received that I can find. I agree with him; this is above-average, quality barbecue in an easily-overlooked location. This was my favorite of the five barbecue stops that I made on the tour.

Hogansville might be a tough market for any restaurant to crack, but Hawg Heaven seems to be doing a good job with it. The town is not especially large, after all. The owners get the community interested with live music and with poker nights and a fully stocked bar. It’s very popular with bikers, but in the middle of a lazy Saturday afternoon, I had the place mostly to myself.

I ordered a sandwich with a side of slaw, which wasn’t especially interesting, but the pork was very, very good. It was smoky and full of flavor and came with some really good sticky-sweet tomato-based sauce on the side. A really good sauce will accentuate really good barbecue, and this was indeed a delicious sandwich. It’s possibly not destination driving, but if you’re traveling between Montgomery and Atlanta and only have a short time to stop, Hawg Heaven is just about five minutes off the interstate and worth considering.

I had explained to my server that I was taking a lazy day to myself, and I continued doing so, with a very, very lazy way home. I could have just shot up I-85 and been home in an hour, but I decided to meander up US-29 to the interstate instead. I picked it up for one single stretch rather than stay on the long curve through the town of Moreland, then hopped back off onto US-29 and continued north through Newnan. This took me right past Sprayberry’s Barbecue and it felt all kinds of wrong to not stop, but friends, I was full. I wanted to, but I just waved and kept going.

Given more time, there is a huge chunk of west central Georgia and eastern Alabama beneath Carrollton that I’ve never seen. All those towns like Franklin, Texas, Roanoake, Lineville, and Wedowee… perhaps there’s another barbecue tour to be made there? Well, perhaps some other day, or somebody else entirely. Me, I was ready to go home. I came on up through Palmetto and Fairburn before finally finding the bottom of I-285 and finally sped up a little when everybody else in traffic demanded that I get a move on.

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