Boston Butt, Cioppino, Dublin, and Why We Don’t Regret Missing Homecoming

Jason Getz/AJC

As some of you may or may not know, Kaia and I are alumni of Spelman and Morehouse Colleges, respectively.  This past weekend was the annual joint Homecoming weekend and we had a wonderful time…in Dublin, GA.  Wait, what?  Why did we decide to go to didn’t-even-know-there-was-a-Dublin-in-Georgia Dublin, GA? We’ll sometimes, you just need to get away.  So, let’s get to the recap!

Last week, one of my co-workers was telling me about an excellent hole-in-the-wall BBQ joint that’s right up the road from where I live.  Ribs, pulled pork, Boston butt, etc.  I was like, “Oh really?”  He sold me on this being one of the better BBQ spots in the area, so I decided to stop by on my way to Dublin.  Now even though my co-worker sold me on this spot, he didn’t do a lot to help me get there.  First off, he didn’t know the name of the restaurant.  And his directions consisted of “Take the main street down the center of town, turn left at the dead end, and it’s on your right somewhere.”  Not really all that illustrative, but I was game so there you have it.

Upon leaving work on Friday, I make my way towards a restaurant I don’t know the name nor the exact location of.  I get to the town of Folkston and drive through the center.  There’s the dead end, so I turn left.  I see no BBQ joint.  So I circle around, drive around, hit a left, hit a right, and still no signs.  I then go back to the beginning of “Main St.” and make a right this time.  What is that in the distance, I see.  Is that a smokestack?  Why yes it is…coming from a Burger King.  Normally at this point, I would have charged it to the game and continued on to Dublin.  But I had some serious determination in me.  I decided to make one final sweep.  Driving slower than Miss Daisy, I spot a sign that said “Jalen’s BBQ” out of the corner of my eye. Yes! Whether this was the right place or not (it was), I was going to stop and get some BBQ damn it!  I decided to go with a Boston butt. At $26, it was a bargain since going out to eat would cost at least that with no leftovers.  Satisfied, I made my way to Dublin.

I arrived at the hotel first, got checked in, and waited upon the arrival of my beautiful bride.  As the clock ticked, that BBQ started smelling real good. “She needs to hurry up,” I said to myself.  Then she arrived.  I got mind control over Deebo.  Anyway, she brought with her a six pack of Angry Orchard hard cider.  Let’s eat!  Being as prepared as I am, I brought along a knife, paper plates, chips, and BBQ sauce.  We set up a little dining area, then I commenced to slicing away at the butt.  It was pretty darn good, I must say. As I sliced away at the porcine gold, someone kept coming behind me and snatching various bits of meat and fat before dinner officially started. I’m not naming names, but she’s short, from New Jersey, and likes purple.  At any rate, we chowed down on some smokey pig, drank hard cider, and plotted our culinary adventure for the next day.

The plan was to hit up Cake Art and Williamson’s Bakery and stash various sweets, then head to Deano’s Italian for lunch.  When we got to Cake Art, I notice that you have to spend $20 in order to use a
credit card.  That’s a whole lotta confection, with another bakery to hit up.  Oh well, Team Tyson doesn’t play by rules.  So we headed in to check out their wares, and theselection was tempting.  An array of cookies, cupcakes, barks, and pops greeted us.  After much consternation we decided on six cupcakes, a rice krispies pop, chocolate covered pecans, and cookies and cream bark.  Yes, I nice haul for sure.  Next stop was Williamson’s Bakery.  The only thing you need to know about this spot is the two pound oatmeal pie they sell.  Yes, it’s AT LEAST two pounds.  This thing is like the Rock of Gibraltar with a sweet tooth.  A confectioner’s conflagration of hubris, daring, and batsh*t insanity.  And it was only $2?!?  Come on now.  I’m surprised we didn’t get two of ’em.




The next stop was Deano’s.  Now Dublin is a small town in middle Georgia, with a definite small town feel.  I’d never expect a restaurant of this magnitude to be nestled in the middle of Georgia.  That probably says more about me, than it does about Dublin but I digress.  Kaia and I had visited Deano’s earlier in the year and were blown away by their shrimp & grits and pizza.  Nothing, however, could prepare us for this meal.  We started off with the Roman fries.

That’s french fries dusted with fresh garlic, parmesan cheese, and various herbs.  If that’s not sexy enough, they were served with a dipping sauce that was magical.  As we continually stuffed our face, we decided on cioppino and bacon-spinach pizza for entrees.  After quickly dispatching the fries, our entrees arrived.  The bowl of cioppino caught our noses, then our eyes.  Mussels, fish, and shrimp swam among pasta in a thick aromatic sauce.  I portioned it out into two smaller bowls.  One taste of the broth, and we both knew that we were in the presence of greatness.

I don’t want to say that this cioppino moved me in a religious manner…but it pretty much moved me in a religious manner.  Dear God, no sauce should taste that good.  We asked the waitress to bring us some bread so we could sop up the sauce.  Man, did we sop that sauce.  After we finished, we still had sauce left over.  So of course we took it back in a styrofoam cup.  It would have been a crime to let that quarter cup of sauce get thrown away.  Oh yeah, the spinach-bacon pizza was stupid good.

But that cioppino?  That cioppino?!? Ya’ll don’t even know…

For the rest of the afternoon, I watched football and Kaia napped.  For dinner?  Boston butt and some microwaveable side dishes we got from Wal Mart.  We could only get through about a quarter of the sweets we bought for dessert.  But you know what?  We ate another quarter of the sweets for Sunday breakfast.  Why?  Cause we grown, that’s why.  This past weekend was pure unadulterated Team Tyson.  And that’s just how we like it.