Monday, December 1, 2008

Into The Pit: Southern Pit Barbecue

You can tell a lot about a barbecue place by the cars in it's parking lot. A lot of midsize american sedans mean the place has a dedicated older clientele, who are notoriously picky. Big pickups mean hungry blue collar guys. Old pickups and minivans mean the prices are reasonable. Southern Pit Barbecue in Griffin, Georgia, has all these.

I've been to Southern Pit three times since we started this blog. That in itself should tell you which direction this review will go. But this time something special happened. I'll get to that in a minute. But first let me describe the place. Most barbecue places tend to follow the modern concept of "put a bunch of old crap on the walls". Southern Pit takes this concept to the extreme. There's hardly a square foot on the walls that doesn't have something hanging on it. Deer heads, old farm implements, signs, posters, shrines to NASCAR drivers, It's all here. But Southern Pit has a couple of (so far ) unique touches. First is the hats. There are literally hundreds of baseball style caps lining the walls of the place! Second is the train. They have a small model train that runs continously around the restaurant on a track about eight feet off the ground. Take my word for it, you'll never run out of things to look at on the walls here. If I have a bad thing to say, it's that you get a sense of being overwhelmed by advertising. It's on the walls. It's on the hats. It's in the tabletops. It's even on the little train! Mercy! Grade: B

But we're not here to stare slackjawed at the decoration. We're here to stare slackjawed at the food! Southern Pit doesn't disappoint. As of this writing, I haven't experienced any barbecue better than the grub they serve at Southern Pit. It's nothing fancy, just barbecue done right. I find the stew has just the right consistency, not too soupy, not too chunky. It does have small chunks of tomatoes in it, so you people that are bothered by that sort of thing, consider yourself warned. I find the chopped pork sandwich delightful. I have a hard time describing it, because, again, it just seems right. I would like to mention that at Southern Pit, they've got the chopping formula down pat. Some places don't chop it enough, leaving you at risk to have a slice of pork sticking out your piehole after you take a bite. Some places chop it too much, and it falls apart before it ever gets to your mouth. Southern Pit, I think, strikes a happy medium. Grade: A!

Here's where we hit extra credit. Southern Pit serves cornbread with their stew (or do they just serve it with everything?). Now I'm more of a crackers kinda guy, so this cornbread is kinda wasted on me. However, I am a fan of a peculiar southern delicacy: Cornbread and buttermilk, together in a glass! It's just one of those things. Either you're into it, or you think it's gross. Me, I was raised on it. I la-huv it! So this time out, I decided to ask my waitress if they had any buttermilk. "Sure!" she answered, like it was a silly question. So folks here it is, feast your eyes!:

Ok, I know it just looks like a glass of milk, but it's a site for southern sore eyes to me. So I must say I give Southern Pit extra credit in the food category for making this come together. It boosts them to A+!

I'd like to add as a footnote that this entire meal (sandwich, stew, cornbread, buttermilk, and a coke) cost $7.44 . Take that, Jim and Nick's!

Southern Pit Barbecue is located just north of Griffin, Georgia on highway 19/41. Feel free to play that Allman Brothers song on your way there.