It was Roadfood.com contributor chickenplucker’s ode to Augusta restaurants that lead me to Dennis’ BBQ, where the motto is, “If you want good food then come to where the good food is.” It is an out-of-the-way parlor where a combination of wood and coal in the pit produces four-star pork, pork ribs, and chicken infused with vivid smoke flavor.
Sauceless, the chicken would be magnificent, its skin crisp as bacon, its meat glowing with spice. Dennis’ offers the option of jerk chicken, and I have to wonder if some of that jerk seasoning finds its way into the regular chicken – it is that intense. Or is its radiance simply the pizazz induced by hours of smoke? To adorn the chicken Dennis provides sauce with a mustard twang and sweet undertone. It is available regular, which is pretty hot, and hot, which sneaks up and sets a tongue on fire, and very hot, for which a palate of asbestos would come in handy.
The sauce is an ideal halo for big ribs that are knock-out smoky as well as for chopped pork in which the smoke flavor is more diffuse. Dennis’ chopped beef also benefits from the sauce, but it lacks the flavor nuances of pork. Hash on rice, which is the de rigueur complement to barbecue in this part of the world, is pungent with a sweet & sour nature, less about meat and more about its exclamatory seasoning. Atop a bed of fluffy rice, it becomes something elegant.
Just off Tobacco road in Hephzibah, Dennis’ is a tiny place where most business is take-out. Five tables with molded plastic bench seats are available for on-premises dining.