Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pig Heaven

We are just back from a quick trip to Tampa to celebrate the birthday of one of my oldest and dearest friends.  I'm working on some additional posts, but for now I had to share this with you.

We drove down there on Saturday and it's about a 7-hour drive from the ATL.  Breaking up the drive with a lunch stop seemed like a good idea.  Except, we were on an interstate in southern Georgia which is pretty much a culinary wasteland.  Burger King, anyone?

That would be a negative.  But I will throw some of my standards out the window and eat at Chik Fil A.  I can easily make a meal out of a chargrilled chicken sandwich and a diet lemonade.  Of course, we're not going to talk about sustainability or anything else related to the way all that chicken is processed.  We won't talk about chemicals, either.  Still, if you're on the road, it's one of the better fast-food options.

Our stomachs told us it was time for that lunch break right around the time we hit Cordele.  We exited the highway and passed every fast food place you've ever heard of (and some you probably haven't) except ...  Chik Fil A.  Alrighty then.  No McDonald's or Taco Bell for us.  Onward to Tifton!

The 30-minute drive to Tifton gave us time to plan a new strategy.  Surely we could find some good local barbecue!  I unearthed my iPhone from the bottom of my purse (no driving and texting for me) and shook up the Urbanspoon app.  A few shakes and we hit on Hog-N-Bones Bar-B-Que.  With a name like that how bad could it be?  We found it and were relieved to see cars in the parking lot.  Then we realized it was a fast food joint with nary a smokehouse in sight.  Crap.

Back to the app and we came up with Pit Stop Bar-B-Q and Grill.  By now, I didn't have high hopes for anything, but we called and it was open so we backtracked a highway exit and found the place.  It looked pretty ordinary but by this time we were famished and needed to get out of the car.  And then we spotted their smokehouse in the back.  Done deal.

People, we got lucky!  The pulled pork was delicious - tender without being too fatty, with lots of those little burned, smoky bits that make it delicious.  The sauce was good, too.  Tomato-y, but not too much so, just a hint of sweetness (I loathe sweet barbecue sauce), good acidity and just spicy enough.  What a find!

The woman who owns it spent a fair amount of time at our table, telling us about the history of the restaurant.  She and her husband started it 15 years ago.  They take great pride in everything they do and she spends a lot of time in the dining room, talking to everyone to make sure they are happy.  (Trust me, they are)  Sadly, her husband died a few years ago, but she continues to take great joy in running the restaurant, in part because she wants to carry on his legacy.  She's doing a great job of it.

Oh, but check out their T-shirts!  I couldn't restrain myself and bought three of them (look out Andy & Eric, guess what's showing up in your respective mailboxes?)  Hilarious!

So if you find yourself on I-75 near Tifton and need a decent barbecue fix, remember this place.  Pit Stop.  Exit 63-B.  You won't regret it.  We liked it so much that we stopped in on our way back from Atlanta yesterday and bought a couple pounds of their pulled pork to bring back with us.  Had to get-us some!


  1. Oink Oink. Sounds like my kind of place. I have to tell my brother about it, he might want to stop on his way between NC and Sarasota.

    Thanks so much for sharing my birthday with me. It meant a lot to me for you and Henry to be here.

  2. Oh, just shut the hell up my friend. Do you think we would have been ANYWHERE ELSE ON YOUR BIRTHDAY????

    I'm just shocked that you have so many friends....

    Who knew?

  3. True, that is amazing, I am shocked too.

  4. My family and I always go by the Pit Stop BBQ on our way to FL from MI. Its like a tradition when we go on vacation. There is no other taste like their special BBQ Sauce.