As I start to write this piece I am thinking to myself that this could very well be the most interesting profile that I have written to date.
It has personality, drama and most of all Great Southern BBQ to talk about.
Recently I was doing a BBQ tour of North Carolina, Georgia and down in Florida where my parents spend 6 months out of every year. Being the son of Snow Birds allows me to be able to afford the annual trip for a couple of weeks as I do not have to worry about accommodations.
Over the last year on twitter and facebook I have made many friends that are involved in BBQ, be it Competitive Teams, Backyard Grillers, Blog Writers, BBQ Joint Owners, Accessory Manufacturers or Sauce and Seasoning Makers.
One of those blog writers is Kevin Kelly of Kevin’s BBQ Joints and he has been putting together what I feel is the most comprehensive list of BBQ joints anywhere, which are sorted by State on his website. Kevin also promotes the website on twitter and his facebook page.
When I mentioned to Kevin that I would be making this trip he made a number of recommendations of BBQ places that I could visit along the way, I wish I could of visited them all as they sounded amazing but I had already made plans to visit a couple of joints in North Carolina namely Wink’s & Lexington #1 with friends that I would be meeting for the first time. With my schedule for most of my trip I would be quite busy including spending two days at the Lakeland Florida KCBS PigFest.
But I did make time to visit one BBQ Joint along my way home and that stop would be at one joint that Kevin strongly recommended which would be…
located at 2020 Demere Road St. Simon Island, GA 31522
In order to get to my booked hotel in North Carolina for my last night of my Southern Expedition I had to leave North Fort Myers, Florida at 4 am since I had planned 2 stops along the way, first to visit a twitter friend of mine Hank Bob BBQ and also have lunch at Southern Soul.
I arrived at Southern Soul Barbeque at 1:30 pm February 5th 2011 and was warmly greeted by Griffin Bufkin one half of the ownership team and he gave me a tour of the outside showing me not one, not two, not even three but four large smokers that are outside of the restaurant. There is even a fifth smoker on order so business is good!
While showing me around Griffin introduced me to his partner Harrison Sapp who is also the Pitmaster for Southern Soul Barbeque.
Griffin and Harrison started Southern Soul about 5 years ago when they pooled together about $700 and hit the local Walmart buying some pots and pans and doing and with the smoker they had began to BBQ for the locals every Friday night and Saturday and as the legend grew more and more days were added where now today where they are open from 11 am 7 days a week.
But just because they open at 11 am it does not mean that Pitmaster Harrison gets to sleep in, quite the opposite as he is in every morning at 4 am to start the smoking process.
For instance in the pictures above where Manager Joel is checking on the ongoing smoking of some Pork and Brisket that is being cooked for the next days menu you can see the love that is happening, The meat is rubbed down with Southern Soul’s special blend of spices and smoked for 12 hours, never sauced until the customer adds their own at the table.
It should also be noted that the meat is not pulled apart until the customer orders their meal.
Well by this point taking pictures of all this great BBQ was making me hungry, and Griffin asked me if I would like to sample some of the meat, hmmm….. Hell Yeah!
Moments later in front of me was a Sampler plate of Ribs, Pulled Pork and Brisket along with a couple of sides of Collard Greens and Brunswick Stew and to wash it down Griffin introduced me to Blenheim Ginger Ale which is a product out of South Carolina that has a heat to it. So much for the Canada Dry Ginger Ale that I drink back home, this is my new favorite.
One thing that I love about many of the BBQ Joints in the South is the selection of soft drinks that are not available in the North such as Blenheim and Cheerwine which is bottled in North Carolina
Since this was my first BBQ Tour in the South I have tried a lot of things for the first time and here at Southern Soul it was a first for me to eat Collard Greens and Brunswick Stew.
Both were exceptional the greens were tender and moist while the Brunswick Stew had a wonderful combination of flavours that complimented my meal.
As I had not had Brunswick Stew in the past I decided to Google it and found that depending on the area there are different versions of Brunswick Stew some are made with Chicken & Pork and in some areas they may use Rabbit & Squirrel. As of this moment I do not know what Southern Soul uses but I am waiting for an answer on that.
Now about the meat….
I first tasted the meats as is and was very impressed with the flavours that was from the rub that is used and made fresh in house every day.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Pulled Pork and the Ribs, the bark was just perfect and the meat tender with all kinds of evidence of a Smoke ring that you expect with a great taste from the smoke that does not overpower the meat. The Brisket though I found just a little dry which could be as Griffin explained that they still need to adjust to the new smoker they have where there seems to be a hot spot in the top right of the smoker where the briskets are smoked. I am sure that they will quickly make the necessary adjustments on that.
After a couple of tastes it was time to add some sauce…
Having a choice of sauces is a great way to enjoy Southern Soul Barbeque’s food, each sauce is different and all have great flavour and texture.
The choices include North Carolina Vinegar, South Carolina Mustard, a Hot & Spicy and their Sweet Georgia Brown.
I sampled all four and found it difficult to come up with a clear winner since they were all so good and yet so different. There was no wrong here they all tasted right!
I also purchased a Sweet Georgia Brown BBQ sauce to bring home, along with 2 more bottles of Blenheim Ginger Ale.
Here are some various other pictures I took in and outside of Southern Soul Barbeque.
Southern Soul Barbeque is not only great food but quite famous.
If your a fan of the Food Network show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives then you may of seen when Southern Soul was featured for 7 minutes.
Now 7 minutes may not seem like much but the way that DDD produces their shows a lot of content is in those 7 minutes and in the case of Southern Soul there was a lot of prep work including some tough interview questions and then two 15 hour days of filming and then 7 hours more with Guy Ferrari and then it was edited down to the 7 minutes you see on TV
Harrison Sapp also appeared on last season’s American Pitmasters TV show, here is his application video to that show.
In March of 2010 during Lunch only a week after that video was made and only a couple of weeks after Diners, Drive-ins and Dives visited Southern Soul Barbeque there was a major fire at the restaurant caused by old electrical wiring in the ceiling, but did this stop Griffin and Harrison?, No they quickly had a trailer set up out front and sold out of it until the restaurant could be rebuilt.
Here is a video that shows the destruction and what I think are some emotional images that are tugging at your heart strings but also show the resolve shown by Southern Soul Barbeque.
I am so glad that I made the decision to drop by and visit Southern Soul Barbeque, Griffin and Harrison were friendly and made my visit fun and the food was out of this world good, I now know a place I would have no problem with wanting to visit again and try some more of their food. Looking at their menu, dishes like their Smoked…. Chicken Quarters, Country Sausage, Turkey Breast. Or maybe their Smoked Pork Tenderloin, Prime Rib of Beef, Wild Salmon or Smoked Lamb.
And Southern Soul has lots of sides that I would love to try such a these, Mac & Cheese, Hoppin’ John, Potato Salad, Cornbread Muffins or perhaps some Soul Slaw!
Oh, let’s not forget their Appetizers….
Smoked Chicken Wings, Deviled Eggs, Pimento Cheese & Smoked Chicken Salad.
I know it would be tough but after a great filling meal you can still ask for some dessert, they have assorted Cobblers and Banana Pudding.
If your ever in the area between Savannah Georgia and Jacksonville Florida make plans like I did to visit Griffin and Harrison over at Southern Soul Barbeque.
The Oshawa Ogre recommends it highly!