Thursday, June 21, 2012

And We Have A New #2

After exploring Fort Pulaski National Monument, we were off to Vol Fan's favorite portion of any trip.  Trying a new rib joint!  As you may know, Vol Fan is on a quest to find the best ribs in US.  He judges solely on the meat - no sauces.  The meat must be flavorful, juicy, and fall off the bone tender.

Over the years, we have tried a great many BBQ places.  Some on recommendations from friends or the internets.  Some just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

As we were planning our visit to Savannah, I did some restaurant research.  Savannah is known for having some exceedingly good food!  While I was hoping for a little something different, every top 10 list of restaurants that I saw included Wiley's Championship BBQ.  One thing with reviews of BBQ places on the internet - sometimes I wonder if they have ever had good BBQ.  But as I started researching Wiley's, this place seemed promising.

Wiley's was started by a man that loved to smoke ribs.  So he opened a catering company that specialized in grilling and BBQs.  Then he started competing.  And won many awards along the way.  He eventually became good enough that he received invitations to the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Cookoff and USA Barbeque Championship in Las Vegas.  And you have to be pretty darn good to receive those invitations!

We arrived at Wiley's at just the perfect time.  Four of the eight tables [Eight tables was a good first impression because its usually the tiny places that are excellent!] in the restaurant were empty.  Within minutes of sitting down, all tables were full and a line was forming down the sidewalk!  The walls were lined with awards so we were hopeful as we placed our order.  Since I do not like the thought of gnawing on a bone, I always order pulled pork.  Vol Fan ordered meat, meat, and more meat!  Ribs, ribs, and (out of character) smoked sausage!

While my pulled pork was good, it was not off the charts good.  However, I loved, Loved, LOVED their 'Better Than Sex, Extra Tingly' sauce.  Sauce choice is very person-specific!  Hot, mild, tomato-based, vinegar-based, spicy, sweet, etc....  Personally, I lean toward a spicy vinegar-based sauce.  If I am going to eat a tomato-based sauce, it canNOT be sweet!  Wiley's Better Than Sex, Extra Tingly provided a great mix of both worlds.  Whether it was tomato-based thinned with vinegar or vinegar-based with tomato added, I don't know but it was delicious!!

From his first bite, Vol Fan was in Rib Heaven!  The more he ate, the more he loved these ribs!  They were juicy and tender.  The meat easily fell from the bone.  And the flavor was exceptional!

As he ate, a lady stopped by our table and asked if we were enjoying our meal.  She was the owner, along with her husband Wiley.  Vol Fan told her that he was very much enjoying his meal and told her of his quest.  She asked where her ribs stood.  He told her that he wasn't sure but they were definitely Top 5 - he was waffling on whether they were #2 or #3.  [I don't think the no-name place in Jacksonville, Florida will ever lose its top billing.]

As the meal concluded, he determined that Wiley's BBQ had indeed made it to #2, pushing Baby Blues in Venice, California into 3rd place.

The Top 5 Best Ribs in the US by Vol Fan
  1. No Name Place, Jacksonville, Florida
  2. Wiley's Championship BBQ, Savannah, Georgia
  3. Baby Blues BBQ, Venice, California
  4. The Commissary, Germantown, Tennessee
  5. Jot 'Em Down, Athens, Georgia
I wonder if his list will ever be finished...


Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Well he needs to get a Texas place on there - they have some wonderful bbq! :-)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

We're not rib eaters---but my good friends are like VolFan.. They will go wherever it takes to find good ribs. AND--their favorite place so far is Rendezvous in Memphis... Been to that one????


Busy Bee Suz said...

VolFan's diet is very similar to the Coach's. Meat. And a lot of it.
Coach makes excellent ribs....and because of that, we never seem to eat them at a restaurant.
However....I do like the name of your chosen much so that now i have to go take a cold shower! :)

George said...

I like the sound of Vol Fan's quest. It's a good thing you have the opportunity to travel around the country, but I do notice that most of the top 5 are in the Southeast.