Hog Tripping

Back in the middle of June (2018), Andrew (Tales from the Pits) and I started to talk about wanting to do a Carolina BBQ trip. We exchanged our wish list of stops, and I thought that was that for a while. A couple of days later, he messaged me that he and Bryan wanted to do this over Labor Day weekend. I was like what?! I had scheduled my wisdom teeth to be pulled over that weekend already. I needed to get braces soon. I was already low on vacation time at this point, but the fear of missing out started to outweigh the negatives. I have always wanted to do a trip like this, but I knew Amber would not have been down for so many stops. Splitting the costs between four guys made it a no-brainer.

I picked up Terry in Luling on Wednesday at 8/29 8 PM, and we headed to Houston to meet up with the rest of the guys. We embarked for Memphis, Tennessee just before 11 PM. The only eventful thing that happen during the drive was Andrew got a warning for speeding in Jefferson, TX. My back was killing me because I was sitting in the backseat, and I had trouble getting any rest that night. We got to Memphis around 7:30 AM. We had time to kill so we stopped by a closed Graceland to say we have been there.

Tennessee

Germantown Commissary
Germantown
We wanted to eat ribs in Memphis, but BBQ options were limited at 9 AM. Nothing was going to stop us.



Helen's Bar-B-Q
Brownsville
Great little spot serving pork shoulder and smoked bologna sandwiches ran by Helen Turner. Say hi to her because she is pretty awesome. Do not forget about the spicy sauce.





B.E. Scott's Barbeque
Lexington
This was my favorite stop of the trip. The middlins (the belly of the hog) is where it is at. My first bite of Franklin brisket changed my life. This bite was on the same level. At this point, I assumed whole hog was essentially pulled pork. This was beyond my wildest dream. It was so moist and succulent. Man oh man. Scott Parker is keeping the tradition alive.









Owner Scott Parker

Ramey's BBQ
Parsons
More delicious and smoky middlins were to be had at this spot. We regretted not ordering the whole hog pizza.





Ramey family

Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint
Nashville
There are six Martin's locations. The downtown Nashville Martin's location is huge. You could get lost in there. We order the Redneck Taco - whole hog on top of cornbread hoe-cake topped with slaw and sauce.




North Carolina

Buxton Hall Barbecue
Ashville
It was a beautiful, mountainous, curvy drive from Knoxville, TN. Asheville seems like a cool, hip city. We might have gotten a little crazy with our order here. Whole hog, smoked/fried chicken, poutine, hushpuppies, mac salad, fries, green beans, lima & butter beans, collard greens, and potato salad. Do not sleep on the fried chicken. It had a great combination of flavor and texture. The banana pudding pie was heavenly. It was a great way to start day two at a new school joint.







Lexington Barbecue
Lexington
Order the outside brown. They do pork shoulder here. You want the fatty bits with skin. I enjoyed this stop. The slaw was a little different with a ketchup base, but I dug it.





Sam Jones BBQ
Winterville
With a lot of driving involved, we capped off the day here. A nice spread of whole hog, ribs, turkey, and chicken with greens, slaw, baked beans, potato salad, and mac & cheese to finish the day strong.






B's Barbecue
Greenville
Only getting about two hours of sleep the night before, we almost skipped this stop. I insisted we needed to eat all the whole hog we can so we made it here. The potatoes were unique. They were served warm and a little mushy. People were also waiting around for the chicken to be finished. We did not have time, but I was curious about them.




Skylight Inn BBQ
Ayden
This was the stop I was most excited about. Sure, we ate at Sam Jones BBQ which is essentially serving the same pork, but we are talking about the OG. The roof of the building is shaped like the U.S. Capitol rotunda. It is arguably the BBQ capital of North Carolina. The chopped hog here is super moist and flavorful. What differentiate it from the rest is that the crispy skin is mixed in. So freaking good. Bryan declared the homemade banana pudding was the best that he has ever had. The warm pudding was a delight to eat. Sam Jones is doing an excellent job carrying on his grandfather Pete's legacy.








South Carolina

Scott's Bar-B-Que
Hemingway
I was also looking forward to this spot. You guys should recognize this name. 2018 James Beard winner Rodney Scott used to help his parents run this joint before he opened his own location in Charleston (we ran out of time to get to Rodney Scott BBQ). The whole hog here is pulled instead of being chopped. The pepper vinegar sauce enhances the hog and gives it a nice kick. Delicious.






Sweatman's BBQ
Holly Hill
Different regions of Carolina barbecue serve different styles of sauces. We were in mustard country now. It was a good change of pace. That hash though. It was like a cross between pasta sauce and chili. So good. I could eat it every day. The banana pudding was only 93 cents!? The best 93 cent banana pudding you can buy. Our stomachs did not allow it, but there is an all you can eat option. Make it happen.





Lewis Barbecue
Charleston
Ended day 3 with the first Texas BBQ spot on our trip. I will post about the visit soon.

Georgia

Fox Bros Bar-B-Q
Atlanta
The first time I heard about Fox Bros was when I watched an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. If you are a Texan missing brisket, go here. Get the wings and the chicken fried pork ribs while you are at it. We did forget to order the banana pudding though...





B's Cracklin BBQ
Atlanta
Whole hog and brisket?! This was the first time we saw this on the menu on this trip. The best of both worlds. The pork was tasty, and the brisket was surprisingly good. Bryan Furman uses heritage breed pigs that he raises. Taking the term farm to table to a new level. He is also using offset reverse flow pits instead of direct ones. The ribs are only seasoned with salt so the meat and smoke could shine. It was simple, but it definitely worked. All the sides and banana pudding complemented the meal perfectly. I almost forgot to talk about the crackling cornbread. Aw yeah, just order it. The texture is like a pancake. Make a whole hog taco or something.




Owner Bryan Furman

Some of my observations from the trip: I really enjoyed the variations in how pork is prepared and finished in the region. In Texas, brisket for the most part is cooked the same. Although we stopped at numerous places in a day, we never felt as full as we would have had we done this trip in Texas eating beef. I rarely see baked beans in Texas, but it was prevalent in the area. I prefer baked beans over ranch style beans any day. Sorry Texas. There was not a need for pickles because the pork already had the acidity in it. We did not see sausage on the menu at the pork restaurants. When you cook a whole hog, you do not have a lot of scraps left over. If I lived in the area, my pockets would feel heavier. Pork prices are ridiculously cheap.

#HogTripping covered 3300 miles for me. In the 118 hours away from home, 50 hours of it was in the car, and I only got 23 hours of sleep. We stopped at 16 BBQ stops in 5 states (I did not take any pics at The Shed). It was hell of a time. I wish we got a little more sleep though. If/when we do this next time, maybe fly in somewhere and rent a car so we do not have to drive over night. It sucked. I do wish we hit a few more stops along the way, but time was of the essence. I want to hit up Stamey's, Grady's, Allen & Son, Picnic, both Hite's, and Rodney Scott BBQ the next trip. What is next on the BBQ tours? Maybe a Kansas City and St. Louis barbecue trip? We shall see.

Until next time, happy smoking...

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