I’ve been meaning to write this recommendation for almost a year. I know, because it was December 23rd last year when, after several visits to Ronnie’s Barbecue in Johnson City, I decided that the place definitely deserves some blog love.
I know it was December 23rd, because Ronnie and his family were closing up early for the holiday. They hadn’t sold out of sliced brisket that day, but they had switched the “Open” sign on their window off (I hadn’t noticed) and were wrapping up their remaining meat and sides.
But they didn’t complain when I walked in—instead, they cheerfully unwrapped what they had and sold me a sliced brisket sandwich, with jalapeños, and a slice of chess pie. And they didn’t complain about the fact that I missed another sign, on the door, saying that their credit card system was down and that they were only accepting checks, cash, and debit cards.
I didn’t have checks, cash, or a debit card. “That’s okay,” Ronnie told the girl working the register. “I’m sure this gentleman will pay us on his next visit.”
That was very cool, but I’m not recommending Ronnie’s just because of their hospitality. It’s like this: I’ve eaten two barbecue sandwiches in my life that I would call revelatory. One was a pulled pork sandwich in West Memphis, bought on an Oklahoma to Atlanta road trip with my grandmother and her cat, in the summer of 2009. The other was the sliced brisket sandwich at Ronnie’s.
Go there, amigos.