Route: Google Maps
A few weeks ago an old buddy bought himself a new bike and wanted to go for a nice Countryside Food Ride, but didn't want to ride too far while he got familiar with the bike. What better place to go than Hickory Hill Barbecue?
I've had plenty to say on these pages about Hickory Hill over the last couple years, specifically in this post from last year and on the SoKY BBQ Guide page. There are plenty of pics on those pages and plenty of words explaining why this is one of my all-time favorite BBQ joints.
But things have changed because Hickory Hill has new owners this year. I'll admit to being skeptical when first hearing this news, because you never know what's going to happen when the owner/founder turns over the reigns to someone else. For example, two of our favorite country stores fared differently after both turned over in the same month a couple years ago -- the Drake Country Store is now closed, while the Boyce General Store is doing better than ever.
So, how's Hickory Hill doing? Let's find out! I was pretty optimistic after hearing that Ron was going to stick around to help the new owners get going, and I'm posting this today because they have a local TV appearance scheduled this morning [link to the video will be at the bottom of this page when it's available].
|Old Scottsville Road.|
That's Lane's BMW F650GS.
He has a tank bag with a map, and also GPS.
I don't think I told him about the No-GPS Rule.
B O R I N G
|I hear she's pretty popular around here.|
She definitely knows how to stand out, and she sure looked like she's having fun!
|W Old State Road.|
|It's times like these that you're glad to be doing bicycle speeds on narrow back roads.|
I was, she wasn't, and she had no idea we were coming, even though I saw her from a quarter-mile away.
|Play Time in the Water I.|
|Play Time in the Water II.|
|Old Franklin Road & W Old State Road.|
|Oakley Contracting Services.|
He's our guy.
|Old Franklin Road.|
|Hickory Hill on Franklin Road (100).|
|The new owners said bikes are welcome to use the grass near the light pole rather than the gravel, if preferred.|
|Meet Marine Justin & Rebecca Howard.|
Well, any worries were relieved as soon as we arrived. The new owners are every bit as friendly as the founders, and the love of simple smoked meats seems to be shared by all. Not only did the great food stay the same, but the Howards have offered several new features:
- New Hours: HH is now open from Friday through Monday, and if you're familiar with BBQ joints in this part of the world the Sunday and Monday feature is a nice touch!
- New Payment Options: HH now accepts credit/debit cards, so you'll no longer have to do that familiar-to-me ATM run down the road.
- New Menu Items: This caught me a bit off guard -- HH is now smoking brisket and grilling Monroe County-style thin-sliced Pork Shoulder!
All right, all right... I came here for the best ribs around, but because my phone wasn't working before we hit the road and I wasn't 100% confident that HH would be open, we were prepared to hit Smoke Shack BBQ for some Monroe County pork shoulder instead. When I learned that HH built a new pit to grill shoulder, I couldn't pass up the new Sliced Pork Shoulder Plate. Making their own dip for the shoulder means they have even more sauces available now.
|Sliced Shoulder Plate w/ Vinegar Slaw & Potato Salad.|
The Shoulder Plate comes with three slices, and the Shoulder Sandwich comes with two.
On most days, I think the plate with two sides would be enough to share with another adult.
VERDICT: Love this place more than ever. The rib sample proved that my favorite ribs around are still good as ever. The new brisket was very well cooked and quite tender. And the new sliced shoulder provides a closer option for me than Smoke Shack or Smokey Pig. I'm pretty stoked that this BBQ style unique to Kentucky is expanding its reach!
When I first visited HH on Wes Berry's recommendation, I returned the next day (this was back when they were only open on Friday and Saturday). In similar fashion, my buddy Lane who joined me on this day brought some family back for a return visit two days later. It really is that good. Justin told us they were still working on the sliced shoulder dip on our visit, and Lane reports that it was already improved two days later. Nice!
I didn't get a picture of Ron, but he did come out to chat for awhile. Got a love visiting a place where the old owners and the new owners know your name...
|Hickory Hill Barbecue, BMW, and KTM.|
Kentucky, Germany, and Austria.
|Leaving on a ridiculously full stomach and hoping to go slow!|
|Old Franklin Road.|
|Play Time in the Water III.|
|W Old State Road.|
|Play Time in the Water IV.|
Actually, nobody was playing anymore at this one...
|E Old State Road.|
First time on this section of road -- it's very tight, narrow, and twisty.
And fun, but go slow!
|Rock Quarry I.|
|Rock Quarry II.|
|Halifax Road (1332).|
Ah, the old Mo's Grocery.
It looks increasingly unlikely to ever reopen.
RIP, Country Store.
|There used to be a Pink House here.|
Capitalized because it was the Pink House.
|Headin' home on New Cut Road...|