Home of the big pig
In a trailer on Pine Road, JR’s BBQ is a hidden gem
by Bradley Hartsell
On Pine Road south of Newnan there’s a 750-gallon pig smoking more than 80 pounds of meat a day.
It all gets served in a trailer about 20 yards away. The whole setup is eye-catching, yet secretive at the same time.
Nat Brown opened JR’s BBQ, named after his son, in April 2011. His wife, Angie, says when her husband was looking for work in 2010, he came up with the idea of a restaurant.
“He used to barbecue in the backyard all the time, and he’s good at it,” Angie Brown says of her husband, who has a smoker in their backyard. “He loves to do barbecue.”
Nat Brown grew up on Corinth Road and he and his wife live right off of Pine these days. The land on which JR’s sits is owned by Brown’s aunt and uncle. He talked to them about his idea of opening a food trailer on the land, but they were skeptical. To them, the location wasn’t right for a barbecue joint.
“Everybody we talked to said we wouldn’t last three months,” Brown said. His uncle and aunt relented, though, and agreed to host the site of JR’s BBQ. Brown initially started out in an 8-foot by 12-foot trailer that he admits was fairly beat up and a little claustrophobic. He converted the 750-gallon water tank, so heavy it takes a wrecker to pick up, into a smoker, then found someone in Grantville to weld the pig design. Now it sits on the edge of the road as a welcome to passersby.
Now at two and a half years old, JR’s is proving the predictions wrong.
“I’ve always heard if you serve good food at fair prices, you’ll make it,” Nat Brown said. JR’s, operating on a mom-and-pop budget, gets by on word of mouth. Tucked away on Pine Road just up from the fairgrounds, they’ve managed to amass a set of regulars who walk up and as Brown puts it, “know exactly what they want.”
Every morning, Brown wakes up around 7 a.m. to light the fire and get everything in order to start the day. He’ll go back home for a couple hours, then come back to open up the newly upgraded 8-foot by 16-foot trailer for business. Brown says he cooks at least 400 pounds of meat a week.
“This ain’t no eight-hour job,” said Brown with a laugh.
“It’s long hours in preparation for the day, but he loves it,” added his wife. “It’s good to enjoy your job and he certainly does.”
The Browns say they oftentimes see cars drive down Pine, only to turn around and drop in for some barbecue. The regulars have discovered it already and the Browns are hoping more people find a smokey surprise coming off Pine, turn around and stop by.