Hayden Powers Restaurant Reviews

Hickory Wind BBQ
6072 K, Hwy 53
Braselton, GA 30517
Ph# 706-654-9463

On my way to Greenville, SC traveling on I-85 North I spotted one of those highway “Food” signs listing several local area restaurants. Happened to catch the name “Hickory Wind BBQ” and thought I would give it a try.

Hickory Wind is located in a fairly new looking strip shopping area just west of I-85. As I looked over the menu the waitress came over and asked for my drink order. I was pretty hungry this day and chose a Pork Plate. The plate comes with Hush Puppies and a slice of white bread along with your choice of 2 sides. I chose Onion Rings and Baked Beans as my 2 sides. When the order arrived I dug into the pork and was pleasantly surprised. The meat was very moist and had a great hickory smoke flavor. This was pulled pork but there was an ample amount of bark and outside meat. The beans were not the best I have had. Onion Rings were average. The Hush Puppies were very good. There were several types of barbecue sauce on the table to choose from. The first one I tried was a “Sweet Sauce”. This sauce had a very distinct apple flavor to it similar to applesauce. Not too bad but a little too sweet for my taste. There was also a “Red Sauce” that had a nice kick of heat to it.

About this time the manager/owner came over to see how everything was. I introduced myself and advised him that I was writing a review for the BBQ Forum. That got his interest and we started talking about Hickory Wind. Come to find out that Gary and his sister operates Hickory Wind. The sister is Kelly Eder and the brother is Gary Lee they are co-owners of Hickory Wind. As Gary and I were talking he asked if I would like to try some of their Brunswick stew. You do not find Brunswick stew too often outside of the South and it is especially popular in Georgia and Alabama. I love it, especially when it is good. Hickory Wind has a very good Brunswick stew. It is a smoother stew, not chunky, but goes well with your meal. Gary also brought out a “Brown Sauce” that he was making that day. I really liked the Brown sauce. Then he mentioned that he also had a Mustard Sauce and brought that out. This was very similar to the South Carolina mustard sauces, but this had a really good amount of spice and heat. Gary mentioned that he uses an Ole Hickory Pit Smoker and uses Hickory wood for smoking. He cooks the pork and beef brisket 12-14 hours and ribs about 7 hours. By the way that Sweet Sauce I mentioned earlier; Gary said he adds Apple Butter to the sauce. Now there’s something original. He’s gonna “tweak” that sauce a little and cut down on the sweetness.

Gary mentioned a dessert that really sounded good, Pineapple Cobbler. I wish I had room to try the cobbler but I was stuffed. I would highly recommend Hickory Wind if you are in the area. It is certainly worth the trip from Atlanta and a short distance from I-85.

Now go eat some Barbecue!

The following review was submitted by Brian Pearcy aka “The BBQ Guy” on the BBQ Forum. Thanks Brian.

When we lived in Casselberry, FL, Linda and I were frequent visitors of Bubbalou’s Bar-B-Que located in Winter Park just off of 17-92 south of Maitland on Lee Road, a real bbq “shack”.

We tried two other locations, one in Altamonte Springs on 436 and another on Alafaya Trail near the UCF campus, and although those restaurants are more modern and had more inside seating, they just don’t measure up to the Winter Park location.

While waiting for your meal at the Lee Road location, diners are treated with a who’s who montage of head shots from some of the most popular musicians around including–Charley Daniels and Molly Hatchet among many others.

On a busy day most folks have to eat outside on picnic tables or in their cars because inside seating is limited, but we didn’t mind it. During the lunch rush, the parking lot fills up and for me that only added to the overall ambience of the place.

We always enjoyed the sliced barbecue pork, potato salad and baked beans and the barbecue sauce was pretty good too.

Sliced pork is not my personal favorite, but it worked when I had the craving for ‘que and didn’t have the time to cook it myself.

If you’re ever in Orlando, stop by Bubbalou’s in Winter Park. You’ll be glad you did.

Pick-up a t-shirt to commemorate your visit. They’re pretty cool.

Winter Park / 17-92 and Lee Road
1471 Lee Road
Winter Park, FL 32892


Brian Pearcy
“The BBQ Guy”
Phone: 734-658-1874
Member Kansas City Barbecue Society
Member Florida Barbecue Association

The following review was submitted by Bob Novak aka “drbob” on the BBQ Forum with minor editing by the reporter.

Santa Fe BBQ Company
1505 Encinitas Blvd.
Encinitas, CA 92024
Ph# 760-632-5BBQ
Web site: www.sfbbq.com

A large group of us recently enjoyed a delicious luncheon in honor of Danny Gaulden and his wife. The group included two pit masters with several grand champions, a master judge, 2 certified experienced judges and some wives. The restaurant is at 1305 Encinitas Blvd., Encinitas California, about 30 minutes north of San Diego. Nice clean cheery atmosphere. They use Olyler pit, all their smoked meats are cooked with times like competition cookers would do. Sides are made fresh twice a day. Combo plates are varied and it is possible to get what you want. Ribs are cut in third slab portions. Rather then quarter slabs like other restaurants. We were hosted by Matt Deleone-General Mgr. and Rick Heidt-President. They are in a learning mode, but both agree, no sacrifice to quality for profits.

They have even installed a bank of Microsoft X-Boxes for the youngsters to keep them occupied and large screen Digital screen all over for sports and special events. I had the pulled pork sandwich, tasty with hint of smoke, moist and tender, Ribs were properly cooked, tender and very tasty. They were out of chicken during our visit, but there is little doubt there would have been any difference in quality. All there judged the food including sides very good and all agreed, they would return. We were allowed full access, the premises are spotless, and all employees regardless of position are involved in keeping the interior clean and inviting. There is plenty of parking in the rear and a pleasant little outdoor dining area (patio). They are on the web at www.sfbbq.com. Phone number (706)-632-5bbq. A great place in keeping with our traditions. Brisket cooked 18 hours the night before, judged a 9 by the 3 judges. All foods judged 9’s. Try it you will like it.

Bob Novak

The following review was submitted by Stan in MD, a regular forum contributor. Minor editing by the reporter.

Smokey Hollow BBQ
7500 Montpelier Road, #116
Laurel, Maryland 20723

This past weekend my wife, daughter and I had the pleasure of eating at Smokey Hollow BBQ. The restaurant is owned by Dave who is a BBQ forum member.

Smokey Hollow is in a small strip shopping center just off Route 29 between I-70 and Washington, DC. It is a bright, airy place with a very friendly staff. It is mostly carryout with three small tables for eat in. From the moment you walk in the door you get that wonderful combination of meat, spice and smoke aroma that tells you are in a “real” BBQ place.

Now to the important thing, the food. My daughter had a pulled pork sandwich that was filled with a very generous serving of pulled pork. She is the real mustard sauce enthusiast in the group and she pronounced not only the pork, but also the sauce to be extremely good. My wife and I shared a sampler that included ribs, brisket and pulled pork. The flavor of all was very good. The ribs were a bit tenderer than I would prefer, but I know that when you are selling to the public you have to give what the majority of people are looking for. The pork was very tasty. I thought the brisket could have been sliced just a tad thicker to make a slightly moister product but it was very tender and the flavor was very good. We tried three of the sauces, mustard, gorilla and Carolina style vinegar. All were very good. I really liked the mustard and Carolina on the pulled pork and the gorilla (which has a bit of a pepper kick) on the brisket.

I had a chance to talk to Dave who is very open to suggestions and is continuing to make adjustments and is an all around nice guy.

All in all, very good food, great service and reasonable prices, what more could you ask for?

5456 Old Shell Rd.
Mobile, AL 36608
PH# 251-343-0001

Well I’m on the way to visit family in Pensacola, FL for the Christmas Holidays and thanks to the screwed up airlines I have to fly into Mobile, AL to get the best possible airfare. Now Mobile is only a little over one hour from Pensacola by car yet the good folks at Northwest Airlines want to charge me over $200.00 more to fly into Pensacola vs. Mobile. Doesn’t make since to me. What it does allow me to do is to make a stop at a barbecue restaurant that I’ve heard about for several years and have wanted to check out.

I head out straight to The Brick Pit from the airport, not too long of a drive, and thanks to “Mapquest” directions I’m there pulling into the front parking area in a matter of a few minutes. Now let me say a couple of words about first impressions. The Brick Pit is not a fancy multi-unit franchise, cookie-cutter, prefab barbecue restaurant. No sir, The Bick Pit is located in what used to be a residential neighborhood. Most of the buildings in the immediate area are former homes that have now been converted into businesses. As you pull into the parking area you notice a beat up bullet style smoker next to the road with smoking bellowing out of the top vent. A welcomed sight to us bbqholics. As I make my way inside the front door several people are exiting carrying numerous boxes and bags with carryout meals. I enter the restaurant and I’m greeted with that heavenly scent of burning wood and smoked meat. I look around and quickly see the “order here” window. The young lady behind the window is helpful answering my questions and I also view a menu. The menu is simple and straightforward. There are three meats offered here: Pulled Pork, Ribs and Chicken. You can order lunch size plates “Big portions served with Texas toast” or Dinner “Real big portions served with Texas toast” Side orders are Cole Slaw, Potato Salad and BBQ beans. Sandwiches are also available for Pulled Pork, Chicken and Sourdough Brick Bites in Pulled Pork and Chicken. Beverages offered are Iced Tea and Soft Drinks. The only dessert listed is Mrs. Waits Homemade Banana Pudding. And that’s it folks.

After I place my order I have some time to walk around and read the hand written comments left on the walls by visitors. There are numerous newspaper clippings and photos of the famous and not so famous. One area of particular interest is the ‘Alabama Wall” with comments left by former University of Alabama sports stars. I’m sure there was one for the Auburn folks, but I didn’t care. As I’m reading the comments Bill Armbrecht, owner of The Bick Pit, comes over and we start talking BAMA football. By that time my order comes out and I head to the nearest table. Bill joins me as I’m eating what has to be some of the best pulled pork barbecue I’ve ever tasted. Now there’s no fat in this meat just lean, flavorful, moist barbecue. The sauce is wonderful adding a nice tart/sweet tangy bite to the meat. I had ordered two sides of Cole Slaw and Baked Beans. The slaw was very good with a sweet mayonnaise base dressing. The baked beans did not stand out but hey; I didn’t come here for baked beans. As I’m eating my meal Bill comes out with a huge monster rib on a sheet of aluminum foil. Oh boy, my tongue’s slapping my mouth in anticipation of what we are about to partake. The rib meat is perfectly cooked. A nice little pull, not fall off the bone tender. The flavor is outstanding, nice hint of smoke, not overpowering, just right. The smoke taste comes from a combination of Pecan and Hickory about ¾ Pecan to ¼ Hickory.

Now Bill and I strike up a conversation about barbecuing and how he got into the barbecue business. Bill is a former Yacht Captain who grew up loving barbecue. Over the years he became an excellent backyard BBQ’er and became frustrated that there were no decent barbecue restaurants in the Mobile area. So Bill opened up The Brick Pit several years ago. Bill’s cooking methods are simple and basic. No rubs or seasonings are used on the meats. He wants the smoke to add the flavor to the meats. Ribs are smoked for 12 hours, pork butts for 30 hours, and chicken for 6-8 hours. With these long cooking times the balance of woods used has to be just right or the smoke flavor will be too harsh. This explains the Pecan to Hickory ratios mentioned above. The sauce is homemade and adds just the right complement to the ribs and pork. Bill shows me a photo of “Big Red” his smoker. There are no ovens or fryers used at The Brick Pit. All of the cooking is done on Big Red, sauces, beans etc.

Bill does not compete on the BBQ Circuit, probably a good thing for all the other competitors. He says he just doesn’t have enough time. He does like competition though. When a well-known Alabama barbecue restaurant opened a location in Mobile Bill quickly developed a sign to hang out in the front for passersby to see. “This ain’t no Dream, Just the real thing”. Well said.

I would highly recommend The Brick Pit to anyone who is looking for authentic Southern Barbecue cooked the old fashioned way. It’s at the top of my list.

The following review was submitted by “Glenn in MD”, with minor editing by the reporter.

Blues BBQ
Kingsland, GA.

Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but wanted to pass on a great little BBQ shack in Georgia.
My wife and I initially found this place in July 2004, driving home from a week in Disney World. Today, I flew into Jacksonville, FL for a business meeting and headed North from the airport to see if it was still there… Turns out it’s still there, and is as good as ever!

The place is called Blues BBQ, and is located on I-95 at exit 3 in Georgia (Kingsland, GA). It’s only 25 miles North of Jax, so it’s an easy drive from there. It’s a small place, no tables really to eat at, but you can’t miss it. It’s located right next to Wendy’s.

I’ve had the pulled pork sandwich both times I’ve been there, and it’s just great. He has two big offset style pits to cook on, but only had one fired up today, using all oak wood for cooking.

Has anyone else tried this place? If you haven’t, put it on your short list, and enjoy! Good stuff. The owner, “Blue” is a good guy also and a pleasure to talk to.


The following review was submitted by BBQBob, with minor editing by the reporter.

Slow’s BBQ in Detroit, Michigan
2138 Michigan Ave.
Detroit, MI. 48216
Ph# 313-962-9828

Major disappointment with the foods. The building itself for this area was a nice change for an area of town that is trying to get built back up to bring suburbanites back to the city but the food needs to be worked on some. I think if the foods were better it would really be great for the city. The restaurant itself has a very nice bar that people can sit at while they eat if they choose to do so. Lots of wood in the place with the original brick walls showing. Made it kind of a semi-rustic looking place yet it also has some class about it also. Certainly a place a guy could take his wife to for dinner. This place is very close to where to original Detroit Tiger Stadium was.
My friend Dave and I have heard about this new BBQ place opening here in Detroit so we decided to take a run down and try it for ourselves. We both had high hopes for the place since real BBQ isn’t too popular here yet. Their valet parking was a nice touch for any BBQ joint. Our first impression was a good one. Staff was friendly, the place was very clean. The booths we sat in were as comfortable as booths can be and they helped make the place. We looked over the menu trying to make up our minds on what to have. After a bit of discussion we made up our minds and placed our orders.

I got their sampler plate (brisket, pork and chicken) and two sides. Dave got their 2-meat meal (spares and brisket) along with two sides. The brisket Dave and I each had was mostly point which for me wasn’t bad since I always enjoy point. We each had some slices of flat (2 for me) along with 3 or 4 slices of point. Mine came with pulled chicken and pulled pork, Mac and cheese and cornbread. Dave had spares, brisket and cornbread, and waffle fries. Dave a diet coke and I had sweet tea.

They offered a NC vinegar sauce, a Slow’s sweet sauce (KC style), a Slow’s spicy (Texas style as they called it), an apple BBQ sauce (my favorite one of what they had), a mustard sauce (I couldn’t tell you it was mustard if I had to do a blind taste test). All served at the table. No sauce was on the meat.

The brisket was actually good enough to go back for again assuming this would be served as it was again since who’s cooking and the time of day can effect foods. No smoke at all but it did taste like beef at least and what we had was moist and actually fairly tender, more tender than many places I have been to so far. Dave cut (with a knife of all things) me a couple ribs. They were dry and almost chewy for our 12:30 lunch. Seems they were reheated on a char grill, which gave them that burnt flavor that for us wasn’t pleasant to the taste buds. Very little flavor in the ribs. No smoke what so ever. Even just the smell of them was like a burnt grilled rib with no sauce.

My chicken was dry and tough/chewy with a very off taste from a seasoning they used on it. I only ate a few bites of it and left most of it on the plate. Even the sauces didn’t help it along. Dave wouldn’t go back for a 2nd taste. No smoke flavor or smell. The pulled pork was also dry. By dry meaning in texture not meaning any sauce. Actually tasted like oven roasted pork and it too had an odd tasting seasoning put on the meat after it was pulled. We both ate a few bites but most got left on the plate. I did try some of the NC vinegar sauce on it thinking it would be better and just as quickly as the meat hit my mouth it was spit back onto the fork and put back on the plate. Just a real nasty flavor when put together and I do like vinegar sauces very much. You guessed it no smoke flavor.

Dave commented that the meats looked like just what they were…. dead animal flesh.

Their ‘new’ recipe of cornbread was kind of like a cake, springy in texture and to me had very little corn flavor. It did look to be cooked in a cast iron skillet at least. It wasn’t a sweet cornbread either but for me in lacked flavor. For the decent wedge we each were served, Dave ate most of his and I ate less than half of mine. Mac and cheese seemed to be a real deal recipe but it too had what I felt was an off spice/seasoning in it that over took the cheese flavor. For me it wasn’t pleasing. It sure wasn’t like some of the good soul food places serve in the town. I’d try it again but I’d really like to know what that seasoning was first.

The waffle fries were actually pretty darn good. Even their version of sweet tea wasn’t as good as what I had in many area/places in the south.

Oh we had their appetizer special of 2 brisket enchiladas. 2 little 3-4 inch long deals on a plate with cheese over top for $6. We had a difficult time finding the brisket in them and what we had had very little flavor. Also they did have on their menu a version of an ABT but without the pork (6 for $5.95). Seems they stopped making them due to how labor intensive they are to make!

With the owners having restaurant know how and 2 of them being chefs maybe their 8 weeks in business so far will get better over time? From what we found many things should have been better after this amount of time in business.

If I go back I may just get a plate of brisket and waffle fries and maybe a sweet tea.

Henry’s Smokehouse
Woodruff Rd. location
Greenville, SC

We made it to Henry’s for lunch today. I had the two meat combo with pulled pork, ribs, beans, and slaw. The pulled pork and ribs were both served without sauce with a mustard sauce and tomato/vinegar sauce on each table. The meats were excellent. Very moist and tender with good smoke flavor all around. Both sauces were very good. Beans and slaw were also good. This was some of the best BBQ I have had in South Carolina so far. Thanks to Rocky of Big Drum Smokers for recommending it. The others with me had a sandwich plate with fries and hash on the side and a combo plate with pork and chicken. The chicken was a boneless skinless breast filet that was cooked like BBQ, but was not one of the better items at Henry’s today. Everything else was reported to be excellent. Prices are very reasonable and you can get a whole slab of ribs meal for only $12.95. The two meat combo was $6.75. Overall a very good meal of Q. I will return to Henry’s Smokehouse next time I am in Greenville.

Mark D.

The following review was submitted by Mark Delashaw-“QN”.

Little Pigs Barbecue
Alpine Road
Columbia, SC

We got there for a late lunch about 1:30pm this afternoon. They said just come on in and eat and pay when we left. WOW! I looked around and didn’t know what to try first. It is an all you can eat buffet for a total of $7.15 which includes everything; vegetables, meats, drinks, and dessert. Here is a run down of what I can remember; collards, green beans, mac & cheese, fried okra, pulled pork with mustard sauce, pulled pork with vinegar sauce, pulled pork with tomato base sauce, BBQ chicken, ribs, fried chicken, fried livers and gizzards, fried catfish fillets, hash, rice, hushpuppies, rolls, and on a separate stand in the middle of the room they had most of a hog where you could pull your own meat (hams and shoulders). The pulled pork with all three sauces was very good; moist and tender. The pull your own with no sauce was excellent; moist and tender. The fried chicken and fish were both very good. I could not eat like this very often. We had to try dessert to top everything off; banana pudding with vanilla wafers was our choice, but they also had a chocolate thing and something else. Overall, this was a great BBQ joint I would visit again. We hope to try Henry’s Smokehouse in Greenville tomorrow.

Carolina Wings and Rib House
1712 W. Palmetto St.
Florence, SC 29501

This is a South Carolina chain; they seem to have locations in most major areas of the state and are expanding into North Carolina according to Larry Fries general manager for this location. All their BBQ and other foods are cooked at each location from scratch. With a name like Wings and Rib House that is exactly what I had to try; wings and ribs combo. They offer quite a variety of different wing flavors and five different BBQ sauces; one option is dry rub only. I went for the hot wings and dry rub ribs. I was served a platter with 6 wings and 1/2 slab of ribs. The wings were fairly typical buffalo style chicken wings. They had good flavor and I would order them again. I was pleasantly surprised by the ribs. They were actually slightly crispy outside with the rub cooked into them to give them some bark, but very moist and tender inside. The bite came clean from the bone with just a little tug and their rub gave them good flavor along with the smoke. I tried a couple of the sauces on the side and all were quite good. All in all Carolina Wings and Rib House was a good choice for a late dinner. I would definitely eat there again. Several forum folks had suggested I try Roger’s Bar-B-Q House in Florence. Unfortunately they are only open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday so I had to miss out on that one. Tomorrow I hope to try a place in Columbia called Little Pigs that the locals highly recommend.

Mark D.

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