Monday, February 15, 2010

Beetles BBQ (7/10) - 156 Towne Lake Parkway, Woodstock, GA 30188

M-Sa: 11a-8p
Su: 12p-8p
(p) 770.592.8295

Bill Beadle, the proprietor of Beetles BBQ in Woodstock, Georgia, is quite an eccentric guy whom I imagine rolls with the punches that life unexpectedly gives him.  As his story goes, in 1973, he was driving through Tennessee when his car was hit by a Super Beetle VW.  He had a sudden epiphany that went something like "Why don't I start smoking meat out of a Beetle VW."  Except for his KGB t-shirt, I thought Mr. Beadle was the real deal.

He followed through on his dream and crafted his "Beetle Car-B-Q" (the blue print of his design was plastered to the wall and pictured to the left) in a Beetle that is now parked out in front of his restaurant.  A customer at Beetles BBQ informed me that Mr. Beadle tows the portable car smoker to festivals to feed the masses.  She loved it.  She was an elderly woman who stated that although she hates barbecue, she loves Beetles BBQ.

I asked Mr. Beadle what he recommended I order off his menu to which he responded that his ribs were definitely the best in the state.  I respected his bravado but was skeptical about whether he could deliver on his lofty claims.  I put an order in for ribs and pulled pork, and while waiting for my food, I made my way down the line of five available sauces on the table so I could be prepared to dive in when my food arrived.  No joke, some of his sauces were downright divine.  I was generally disappointed by his mustard (too strong) and fire (tasted too much like Texas Pete) variations, but Beetles definitely delivered with its Apple Smoked Tomato, Cowboy Country BBQ, and Carolina Vinegar sauces.   The Carolina had a better thicker consistency than I expected, and all had unique flavors.

Even before my first bite, my body and spirit were conflicted about how to best approach the barbecue.  My stomach was at full capacity after my previous meals at Old South Barbecue and Big Shanty Smokehouse, but the plate looked too appetizing for me to pass up fresh pork and an incredibly appetizing looking half slab of unsliced baby backs.  The meat was hot so the aroma of smoked meat hit me pretty square in the face.  I went right into the unsauced pulled pork and was immediately fairly unimpressed by its flavor.  The texture and consistency was as expected, but the lack of smoke in the meat made me instinctively reach across my plate for some of his sauces to complement my meal.  The combination of his pork with any of the three sauces that I enjoyed took the meal up a notch.  Then again, there's not much in this world that I wouldn't smother in barbecue sauce.    

After a few bites of pork, I transitioned my efforts towards the slab or baby backs and I ripped a blade away with my hands.  I was a little saddened by the lack of meat on the ribs (must have been a little skinny piggy) but Mr. Beadle definitely made the most out of with what he was working.  The ribs were cooked well and they had a slight glaze of Cowboy Country BBQ sauce on top.  On a return visit to Beetles, which I hope to make in the near future, I would opt only for an order of ribs.  I bought two bottles of sauce (Cowboy Country and Apple Smoked Tomato) and was happy to know that I got the 10% discount on my entire meal and purchases due to my membership in the Atlanta BBQ Club (discount membership here).  Overall, I enjoyed this experience but the ribs and the sauces definitely made up for what was lacking in the pulled pork.  

As I was leaving the restaurant, a heavy set fellow who claimed he played football for the SD Chargers back in his prime entered the scene and said that Beetles BBQ was most likely the best in the state.  He said the only place where he'd had better was a joint called Two Bells that ran a small barbecue outfit in the early 80s near Macon, Georgia.  He learned about Two Bells while he and some colleagues were driving towards the Georgia coast to gamble when the smell of Two Bells barbecue entered his car and hit him in the nose.  Upon his visit, he convinced the staff to let him do an all-you-can-eat to which he finished 5 and a half plates of meat.  He supposedly did well gambling that weekend (up $2,100), and on his return home, he again stopped by Two Bells to purchase $550 worth of barbecue (80+ lbs of meat) to bring back home to his coworkers, friends and family.  If anyone has information or a back story about this Two Bells business I'd be grateful to hear it.  Hopefully the recipe/staff have moved on to other ventures that are still operational and cooking up delicious barbecue.    

Beatles BBQ on Urbanspoon


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  4. Bill Beadle went out of business with Beetles BBQ. He now runs a Mustards Last stand hotdog chain (poorly), browbeats his employees, and refuses to pay his suppliers/service providers.

    I wouldn't take a free bottle of water from the guy.


Ratings and Reviews

In order to provide a consistent grading standard across each restaurant/region, I order a barbecue pork sandwich (and other meats/sides if a restaurant/region specializes in another specialty). In addition to comparing the quality of food, I will also take into consideration other intangibles (ambiance, atmosphere, service, authenticity, etc.) in my ratings as I deem appropriate.

Basically, a 10/10 represents an incredible meal, while a 6/10 score indicates a decent dining experience but a substantial number of dishes fell short of great. Lower scores indicate unpleasant experiences which I would most likely not even recommend to my worst enemy (Jonas Singer).

I reserve the right to continuously edit/update previous posts and to change rating scores as I see fit.