East Chesnut is one of those street that is easy to miss even if you are looking for it. Passing by a pair of abandoned motels I looked for the road. Immediately after an old gas station converted into a automobile detail shop I hung a sharp left. I neglected to use my blinker as a result of concentrating on not missing the turn. A jacked up four by four with Georgia plates roared past me, the driver unaware I was taking care not to blow past a small BBQ stand hidden off of U.S. 19.
Sam Wiggin's BBQ stands on the south side of the street in the parking lot of a weathered seafood market. I parked and climbed out of the car. A group of people hanging out on the side of the markets nodded their heads. I waved and make my way to the small white trailer with "L & E BBQ" painted on the side. A single door and a pair of windows sat on either side of the red lettering.
A blue tarp stretched over an aluminum frame to provided some protection from the sun. Sam was sitting in a folding chair under the awning. I shook his hand. He gives me a handshake and we chatted for a couple of minutes. He told me he is running the BBQ stand as his own under the name "Sam Wiggin's BBQ." He hasn't had a chance to change the name on the trailer, and would eventually like to open up a proper restaurant. The smoker was hidden from view but I could smell smoke making its way through the air.
I walked to the window and Sam's wife Valerie opened one of the windows. She asked me what I wanted and I told her some ribs. Sam headed to the smoker and returned shortly with a half slab of ribs. He asked if I wanted them cut and I told him I would take care of that at home. The ribs were wrapped in two layers of aluminum foil and I was handed two small containers of bbq sauce.
The anticipation I had unwrapping the slab of pork rivaled any felt on Christmas morning. The ribs had the remnants of a dry rub on the outside and a thick pink smoke ring. I took a knife and carved off a thick rib. The meat was tender and pulled off the bone with a slight tug. It had a very intense smoked flavor. I polished off the first rib without giving any thought to the sauce sitting on the counter. Before tearing into a second one I dipped my finger into the sauce. It was a thick tomato based sauce heavy on the sweet. It was not my style, and I set it aside as I ate two more ribs. The second and third one were even better than the first. I eventually decided to share some with Becky. She prefers pulled pork but loved these ribs. I was depressed I had to share the pork goodness with her as I cut off a few more for her dinner.
Sam Wiggin's makes a very good rib. They offers some sides along with other kinds of meat, but I have not made it past the ribs to sample them. While U.S. 19N may be a bit off the beaten path, if you find yourself traveling that road during lunchtime between Monticello and Thomasville I recommend you keep your eyes open for East Chesnut Street and pay Sam Wiggin's BBQ a visit.
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