The menu at Pork Place is small: pork either chipped or sliced, ribs, and chicken. On the side: hash on rice and potato salad or cole slaw, plus sliced white bread. For dessert: coconut pie. To drink: tea or lemonade.
It’s all good; and for seekers of authentic regional cuisine, it is a gem. The place itself radiates Roadfood charm, which is to say its outward appearance is about as pretty as a tool shed. But the experience of walking in, ordering, and eating is a memorable taste of the easternmost part of Georgia’s upper coastal plain.
The staff of two — pitmaster Mr. Dixon and his helpmate — are nothing but hospitable; and because they know everyone who comes to eat, conversations tend to include just about all the tables in the small dining room. I walked in a stranger, but by the time I finished, I had engaged in a delightful full-room conversation about the unique properties of BBQ in this part of the world.
In fact, meals consummately reflect local BBQ custom. Pork is available either chipped (which here means coarsely chopped) or sliced, in a sandwich or on a plate along with the essential hash on rice. In addition, Pork Place offers cups of BBQ, dubbed Sylvia and RL, which are layered affairs of pork and hash. Ribs and chicken are good — the ribs just-right chewy, the chicken tender and deeply smoky — but I suggest first-timers go for chipped pork, a signature dish.
Tables are outfitted with two squeeze bottles of sauce. One is very, very hot — not quite incendiary, but enough to snap taste buds to attention. The other is gentler, but full-flavored with a vinegar tang, and a good complement to any of the meats.
Coconut pie is dense and intense, very sweet and packed with shreds of fruit. A slice is small, but it goes a long way.
Do note that even when it is open, Pork Place doesn’t necessarily look open. I was the first customer when I arrived shortly before 11am. It looked deserted. Nonetheless, I knocked on the door. Mr. Dixon’s helpmate came and unlocked it, apologizing because she had forgotten to do so.