Gone but not forgotten

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Smokey Pig, Ashland, Virginia (Closed)

212 S Washington Hwy
Ashland, VA 23005

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As the Virginia BBQ trail heads north out of Richmond along the Jefferson Davis Highway or U.S. 1, the next stop is the Smokey Pig in Ashland. @ The Pig, the Boston Butts are hickory smoked. I had a sliced pork plate (half plate) with baked beans and slaw. My half pork plate had three prime thick slices of already sauced pork. Technically, they were three pork chops. The sweet homemade sauce had a base of tomato and various spices. The first-rate sweet slaw, with a vinegar and mayo based sauce, consisted of green and white cabbage with a few carrot shards thrown in the mix. And my sweet baked beans were equally super. The sweet tea however was not sweet enough for my taste. The Smokey Pig has been a fixture in Ashland since 1978. 

Harold's BBQ, Atlanta, Georgia (Closed)

171 Mcdonough Blvd
Atlanta, GA 30315

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In February of 2007 I brought along my Georgia nieces and nephews with me to Harold’s Barbecue in Atlanta. I was first taken to Harold’s about thirty years ago, Unfortunately, its been about thirty plus years since I have been back. This would be their first visit to a real Q house. Inside I noticed the walls were paneled with stained knotty pine. They noticed the ice machine making tiny pellets of ice. We all sat down at a table covered with a red and white checkered tablecloth. I ordered a pitcher of sweet tea and they got a pitcher of Sprite. Our drinks were served in old red plastic Coca-Cola cups. The kids ended up getting mostly hotdogs and fries, but a few of them did try the Q and I think most of them did get at least a spoonful of the Brunswick stew. Their palates may not be quite ready for Q, but they did like the Brunswick stew. My pork plate had generous pieces of sliced pork and coleslaw that was mostly white slaw with carrots and some green specks and a large bowl of Brunswick stew. My sliced pork was incredible! It was tender and juicy and you could cut it with a fork. The sauce was an excellent sweet and spicy tomato based one. This sauce complemented the pork nicely. The coleslaw was incredible, nice and sweet and was topped with two pickles. And the Brunswick stew was the best I have ever had. I have been to Memphis, all over North Carolina, Kansas City, Texas, Alabama, and of course Georgia and nothing comes close to the original Harold’s Brunswick stew. Before we left Harold’s I ordered about a gallon of the stew to take home with us. Harold’s is one of the best Q and Brunswick stew houses on the planet. Harold’s is just south of Turner Field if you are on Capitol Ave SE. Capitol Ave SE runs into McDonough Blvd SE if you are heading South. Enjoy!

The Old Hickory House, Atlanta, Georgia (Closed)

5490 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd
Atlanta, GA 30338

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Before it was demolished, the Pharr Road Old Hickory House was our family favorite. At its peak, The Old Hickory House had 23 locations, with most of them in and around Atlanta. Augusta, Athens, Chattanooga and Tallahassee also had single locations. Today, only two remain (Dunwoody and Tucker). Opened in the early 1950's The Old Hickory House is still owned by the Black Family. The Old Hickory House pit-cooks/smokes their Boston Butts only with hickory wood. My tender and juicy sliced pork sandwich topped with sauce and pickles was superb! Their house Q sauce is quite excellent! My baked beans were outstanding, the Brunswick stew was solidly peachy and the sweet tea was wonderful. "Put some South in your mouth" and enjoy.

Penguin Drive-In, Charlotte, NC (Closed)

1921 Commonwealth Ave
Charlotte, NC 28205

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Locally known as the "Bird," this former ice cream parlor opened in the Plaza-Midwood neighborhood in 1954. The Penguin regularly wins the city's awards for Best Onion Rings, Best Burger & Best Late Night restaurant. They do, however, stop serving food @ midnight. The Penguin still has its original 1954-pine paneling and now it also has a complete bar. Lunchtime @ the Penguin draws a diverse and packed crowd. From businessmen to construction workers to members of our armed forces to healthcare workers to college kids and families with babies. Blue collar, white collar and no collar the Penguin feeds the city and its workers well. I had a RaceTrack Dog, a side of Brunswick stew, onion rings and a Winky-Dinky Dog. The RaceTrack Dog came with chili, mustard, onions and sweet slaw and it was excellent. The Winky-Dinky Dog came with chili and pimento cheese and it was very good. The thin sliced onion rings are very addictive and the Brunswick stew alone is worth a visit to the Penguin. On my next visit I'll try the burger and Elvis's favorite the peanut butter and banana sandwich. What a great place! They have a take-out menu and they do take Visa.

Old Hickory House, Charlotte, North Carolina (Closed)

6538 N Tryon St
Charlotte, NC 28213

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This city landmark (Since 1957) is one of the oldest family-owned restaurants in Charlotte. The Old Hickory House wasn't the first Q house in the city, but it is the last one in Charlotte that still cooks on an open-pit (Grandfathered-in). OHH smokes\cooks their Boston Butts with hickory. I had a small, already sauced chopped pork plate (excellent) with sweet tea (excellent), Brunswick stew (very good), baked beans (very good), grilled and buttered Texas Toast (excellent) and a slice of pecan pie (excellent). You can get the pork or beef chopped or sliced. The Old Hickory House is located near IKEA, UNC Charlotte and I-85. Enjoy