Wes Hennings never met a meal he walked away from and is an opinionated eater! Each Thursday he shares the results of a business lunch he’s had with a colleague as a way to advise our business community on the good, bad, and tasty across the CSRA. He doesn’t let ABD or the restaurant know where he is going and his opinions are his own. He grades the restaurants he visits on a 1-5 scale with “5” being outstanding. We call this our “Real Business Lunch Review”.
Food Quality: 5
Business Meeting: 4
Average Score: 4.5 of 5
Augusta has no shortage of barbecue joints, but while some are more well-known than others, today’s find on a forgotten stretch of Edgefield Road in North Augusta is probably one of the best I’ve encountered, with also probably the best name: The Pot Smoker (there’s also a location in Aiken).
While the name is a nice play on words in a state that is one of the last to consider making medicinal marijuana legal, don’t think this is not your traditional barbecue establishment. There’s pork and beef with all your typical sides: fries, mac and cheese, hash and rice, green beans, squash, and an unhealthy assortment of desserts. Plus, it’s open on a Tuesday at lunch, when most local smoke joints are much more limited on hours.
We walked in for an early lunch and the crew was busy putting together a large group order that had just been placed. However, we were greeted promptly, and the staff was about as friendly and downhome as it gets. Our sandwiches were assembled quickly, and the fries cooked fresh and brought to the table. I had the brisket while my dining companion did pork, and both sandwiches were delicious.
The brisket was very messy and made the bun soggy, but the flavor was on point, and very well may be the best brisket I’ve had round these parts. As for the pork, my counterpart said it’s hard to distinguish sometimes between the plethora of pulled pig sandwiches around, but this one was particularly tasty. The one critique on the food would be that the fries were a smidge underdone. But that’s a trade I’ll make to have them fresh out of the fryer.
But we all know barbecue is about the sauce, and The Pot Smoker has three varieties: sweet, hot and mustard. Neither of us were brave, and we both opted for the sweet, so you’ll have to try the other two varieties yourself, but I can say our plates didn’t have a drop left when we were done.
We also couldn’t pass on the carrot cake on the way out. I imagine you’ll have to muster up some serious willpower to skip the plate of desserts.
I spent the last week at the theme park with the mouse, so it’s hard for me to know what value is anymore, especially after paying 40 bucks for some chicken strips and a hot dog. But the food did feel a bit on the pricey side at $15 for a meat or sandwich and two sides. You can save a little dough if you only go for one side, but then again, you only live one-time folks. And while it’s not classy by any means, there’s plenty of space and the music is quiet enough to have some good convos.
If you’re a barbecue fan and you haven’t been to North Augusta’s Pot Smoker, you need to remedy that soon. And let me know what you think because to me it’s top 3 of the genre in the CSRA, and that’s saying something. Friendly, tasty and fast – dunno if you could ask for much more when it comes to lunch.
The Pot Smoker
340 Edgefield Road