Trailheads Survive Trail Master's Absence, Pig Out At Moe's Original BBQ.
Updated: Mar 20
Trail Master Guy took a powder this week. He skedaddled to San Francisco for what he said was his dear old uncle's birthday party. Silicon Valley Bank went belly-up days before. Coincidence? Was our pumpkin-headed selfie man involved in the financial shenanigans and balance sheet skullduggery?
Abe Lincoln said, "Some folks believe in co-inky-dinks. But not this bearded dude beneath a stovepipe hat." Many people are murmuring rumors that Guy is working to topple the American economy. Be watchful, citizens.
Patrick offered to play temp Trail Master. Mr. Petri Dish was coming off yet another round of covid. He had original strength covid in 2021 (that was a doozie), Omicron in 2022 (it packed a wallop), and now whatever flavor variant is going around (this strain is meh, nothing much). Patrick, the germ sponge, has had five covid shots and boosters. The man is a walking CDC study. Dr. Fauci has begun stalking him.
Five Trailheads assembled at the Jones Bridge Trail (Patrick, Brad, Steve, Roy, and George) along with a special guest, Nick Wolaver, a P.R. maven who helped George get excellent ink when he received the Pierre de Coubertin Medal in a ceremony in Lausanne, Switzerland.
That was kind of a big deal since this is one of the highest honors given by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) (read about it here). Nick wanted to get to know Trailheads better and see if there might be a story here. Imagine that––us, vagabonds in the woods, being press-worthy! Our hope is Nick doesn't take the angle of shopping our obituaries.
You can read our previous Jones Bridge Trail adventure here. This hike goes along a beautiful stretch of the Chattahoochee River, then forks up a winding hill for steep elevations and glorious views of woodland wonders. We were excited to be on the river since we recently unveiled a new line of shirts with fresh designs of the rally cry "HIKE THE HOOCH." These handsome, hip shirts are available in our swag shop here.
Roy was sporting one of our new BARBECUE IS TRUTH tees––swine sylin'. ALL profits from Trailheads swag sales benefit Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy, supporting fifteen park units along 48 miles of The Chattahoochee River in metro Atlanta. Please show your support and look mighty fine doing it. Enjoy hearing people say things like:
"Have you lost weight?"
"You've been working out, haven't you?"
"Do you get sweaty being a runway model?"
Grab some cool gear and look like a million—enough with our pimping merch, and on with the show.
Elvis was missing Fio but made a new pal on the trail. He also had a couple of dips in the Hootch and was kind enough not to shake himself dry on our Levi's.
We also made a new friend, Chris, a British chap, who approached us on the trail. He asked if we were a hiking club, and Brad immediately went into our Trailheads spiel. After three hours of hearing the riveting story, our new chum began tying a noose for himself and tossed the rope over a tree branch.
The history lesson ended before he did anything drastic. We quizzed the Englishman on their "futbal" clubs. Steve is our soccer man, and the two fans engaged in a spirited conversation. Chris tossed about alien terms like "Arsenal," "Man United," and "Liverpool."
Liverpool? The Beatles played soccer? Who knew? That fab four was here, there, and everywhere––all at once. Amazing.
The Brit was excited because he was soon going home to see old friends and family and drink warm, bitter beers. Chris hadn't been back to the Motherland since the worldwide covid outbreak.
Patrick was mum about being patient zero––why did he eat that bat at the Wuhan wet market? Silly boy. Though It has been reported in the New York Times that covid perhaps began in Raccoon Dogs (we don't believe you'll see this breed at the Westminster Dog Show). We'll be watchful Patrick hasn't taken in a stray.
We enjoyed meeting the Englishman and forked over a sticker with our website coordinates. If you are reading this, Chris, please forgive what we've done with your lovely language. Enjoy your warm bitters, mate. We'll raise an icy-cold Sweetwater 420 and toast you and yours. Cheers!
Our conversations were the usual potpourri of trivial matters, spirited opinions, hot takes on politics, March Madness, streaming fare, dodgeball strategies, movies, kinetics for fun and profits, the meaning of life, fashionable hats, and footwear, the futility of attempting the impossible just for kicks, and animal husbandry practices in Norway (why do we always return to that tired topic?!).
We logged some decent mileage and turned logistics over to our appetites. Empty bellies declared lunch would be at Moe's Original BBQ in Peachtree Corners. Off we went.
In reviewing our ancient scrolls (the past barbecue reviews on this website), there is no record of Trailheads eating at Moe's Original. But we did––a long time ago. We must not have had enough members present to warrant a write-up, so this will be our first official review.
This chain restaurant has a proud history. Its roots date way back to the Twentieth Century when three Alabama boys met at the University of Alabama and discovered they shared a deep passion for BBQ, blues, college football, and whisky.
In 1988, the guys met up with Moses Day in Tuscaloosa. Moses was known far and wide as a smokin' meat wizard. When he fired up his barrel pit, the locals swarmed with stomachs growling. He taught the Crimson Tide kids his secret tricks of the trade, and the students absorbed the knowledge like a pork butt soaking up smoke.
The Bama Boys loved the mountains and relocated to Vail, Colorado. They refined their smoking skills using fruitwood and hitting the meats with two sauces. The guys prepared authentic Southern-style sides and desserts from scratch, using old-timey recipes as yellow as baby chicks. In 2001, they got the entrepreneurial bug and started a catering business.
With $600, they built a smoke pit from junkyard parts and began perfecting their smoking chops. Over the next four years, they expanded, got a smoker on wheels, opened a hole-in-the-wall storefront, then a restaurant designed from the ground up. People clamored, and demand surged, so they opened a larger joint. Bada bing bang bama boom––the guys start franchising their smoking dream. American success stories are beautiful things, especially ones written in smoke.
There are over 60 Moe's Original BBQs in 13 states serving its Southern soul food. USA TODAY placed the restaurants in its list of the Top 10 Barbecue Chains in America. Trailheads would test drive the Peachtree Corners operation.
The joint's located in the corner space of a retail strip center––the other end has a dry cleaner, probably doing a booming business in barbecue sauce stain removals. Moe's Original BBQ interior is comfortable with assorted four-tops and vinyl booths, and a spacious patio. Walk in, read the menu board, belly up to the counter, place your order, and pay (yes, it costs money!). They'll deliver the hot goods directly from the kitchen to your table.
This location has no beef brisket, but you won't miss the cattle with the hearty offering of other smoked meats: pork, chicken, wings, and turkey. There's also fried shrimp and catfish if you want the illusion of healthy eating.
Most of us had the pulled pork sandwich with two sides. We were impressed the bun was toasted on both sides––an excellent touch that gives enhanced flavor and more stability for withstanding the mound of tender smoked pork butt dressed in a peppery red sauce and crispy dill pickle slices. Trailheads are supporters of the double toast approach. Bravo! We were happy hikers.
George, our resident ribs expert, had the St. Louis-style ribs. He described them as moist, meaty, and riblicious. He coined a new dictum: "You can tell the quality of a rib by how clean you leave the bone." George picked his rib bones like a vulture with a tapeworm, not a scrap of protein left.
Brad had a meat sampler. He also liked his ribs but said his order had some gristle. Elvis was delighted and smacked his lips in anticipation of tasty table scraps. Brad was impressed with the pulled pork, and both he and Roy loved their collard greens. The Alabama natives applauded the vinegary tang. They like their greens with some 'tude.
The coleslaw was also a hit. It was crisp, had a sweet flavor, and was a perfect topper for Roy's pulled pork feast-on-a-bun.
A few of us had sides of Brunswick stew loaded with smoked meat, corn, tomatoes, and lima beans. The flavor was excellent, although none of us are lima bean fans. We consider them the lesser legume. But as criticisms go, that's a minor gripe. We’ll shut our yaps and continue.
Patrick described the daily special of sweet potato casserole as world-class. The sweet taters had a buttery, brown sugary, cinnamon flavor, topped with crisp, crunchy cornflakes and pecan pieces. It made for a surprising and satisfying burst of textured tastes. Of course, Tony The Tiger would have preferred his frosted flakes used as a topping, but even he would admit this side dish, “Tastes Greeeereat!"
The men who ordered platters received cornbread with a nice burn on the outside. While the flavor was terrific, it was a bit dry. On our last visit, we enjoyed fresh cornbread in a small hot cast iron skillet––a crispy crust outside with moist goodness inside. We miss that skillet cornbread.
The sweet, mustardy barbecue sauce was delicious and improved everything it touched. We caught Roy squirting sauce on his fingers and licking it off. Maybe he'll get a job as a barbecue sauce stain remover with the dry cleaner neighbor in the shopping plaza.
Nick had the sliced smoked turkey and said it was Thanksgiving good--tender, smokey, and meaty as a Grisham novel. The gobbler wore a hat of creamy slaw and snappy dill pickle slices. He liked his side of baked beans. Nick wanted green beans for his other side but they were out, so he quickly switched to a side of the day's dessert, peach cobbler, and he worshipped it. "The perfect mix of fruit and crumbly cobbler,” he gushed. “It doesn't even need a scoop of vanilla ice cream to up the game." It's high praise when a dessert can fly solo and leave the Mayfield behind.
We were mightily impressed by Moe's Original BBQ. Moses Day taught his students well, and those Bama Boys did a fabulous job with this concept and authentic recipes. We'll be back.
Rating: Four Ribs*
Moe's Original BBQ
5005 Peachtree Parkway Suite 810
Peachtree Corners, GA 30092
*About Our Barbecue Rating System
Trailheads do not claim to be food experts, epicureans, or sophisticated palettes. We are hungry hikers who attack a selected barbecue venue and ravage our way through whatever smoked fare and fixings they're dishing.
Our reviews feature what we believe are the highlights of the menu we sampled. So our intent is not to trash talk the saintly folks who tend to smoldering smokers on hot, humid summer days. They are sacrificing themselves in the noble art of smoking meats and feeding the drooling masses. Many are independent entrepreneurs who are the backbone of this humming American economy.
Now that you know our standards, you may wonder why every barbecue place gets a four ribs rating. The answer is easy: our group has acclaimed designers, and they think the ribs graphic looks cool.
Who are we to argue? Enjoy.