Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hawg Heaven BBQ (7/10) - 218 North Hwy, Hogansville, GA 30230

(p) 706.637.8990

Hogan's Heroes: A one-time Hogansville, Georgia staple that once specialized in providing family-style Italian food.  Special ingredient: methamphetamine.  That's right.  The Fed's finally busted the owner of the restaurant for constructing a full scale meth lab in a back supply closet.  The  restaurant/location subsequently laid dormant for the next 8 years before Mr. Williams recently acquired the property, and with the help of his family, spent the next few months renovating the restaurant so he could launch his own barbecue joint - Hawg Heaven BBQ.        

I was fortunate to be waited on by the owner's daughter, as she provided great insight regarding the history of the joint and the tedious process of converting an abandoned restaurant into a full service operation.  She detailed how her family manually refurbished the entire interior applying new wood and tin to the walls while contracting a Hogansville native who constructed customized stained-glass windows to provide that extra flare to spice up the place (if the place needed anything beyond cutouts of John Wayne and a Tara Reid lookalike straddling a hog).
The waitress then recommended that I order a pork sandwich and a pulled pork quesadilla.  Ever since I first embarked on this barbecue sabbatical, I have scoffed at the idea of ordering anything other than traditional preparations of barbecue and subsequently took multiple passes on loaded baked potatoes (here and here) and pork covered nachos (here).  For whatever reason, I was ready to step up my game and finally take the next step.  

I first sampled the quesadilla and it definitely surpassed my expectations.  The hot and buttery tortilla shells encased cheddar cheese, pulled pork, and a light coating of Hawg Heaven's barbecue sauce.  Each bite packed enough flavor that an extra dip into sour cream, ranch dressing, or salsa would have just been pure overkill.  This was my fourth stop in as many hours, so I definitely took a conservative approach with my condiments.  The pork sandwich was executed well -- the meat was tender and well smoked.  As I finished my meal, it was difficult for me to deduce whether I thought the pork sandwich played second fiddle to the pork filled quesadilla although the quesidilla will definitely be ingrained in my memory for years to come.  

For a newly opened barbecue joint located 40 miles south of the perimeter, Hawg Heaven BBQ produces quality barbecue in a restaurant very conducive to socializing and drinking beers with close friends.  Hopefully the place can pull in some customers from the surrounding communities who might also enjoy biweekly poker tournaments (Tuesdays and Fridays) or live music from local musicians.

Hawg Heaven BBQ on Urbanspoon

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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.