Walking in the door at Tucker’s Barbecue is like taking a step back in time.
The old photos and newspaper clippings on the walls give diners a history of one of the oldest restaurants in Macon.
Tucker’s opened in 1947 when Tommy Tucker’s father returned home to Middle Georgia after fighting in Pacific Theater in World War II.
His mother worked at their restaurant during the day, and his dad would take over once he’d finish a day shift at the railroad. Tucker grew up in a “little shotgun house” right behind the restaurant. At an early age, Tucker began working for his dad and has watched the restaurant grow.
“Where I come from, if you work for your father, you’ve got to be able to work a little bit,” Tucker said. “Over the years we have just been here and built our clientele up to who we have now.”
Tucker followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the military, but he eventually took over the restaurant that boasts some of the best barbecue and sweet tea in Middle Georgia.
Tucker’s has survived for decades, Tucker said, because the family has always set out to achieve one goal — serve people efficiently and quickly while not compromising quality.
“If you get your niche to where they enjoy it and they’ll come see you, then you’ve done your job,” Tucker said. “You can’t just be an absentee barbecue person, I can promise you that.”
While the world has changed, Tucker said, his family’s business is still the same. And he said that consistency has paid off.
“As far as feeding people, no matter who you are, you still get hungry and you got to try to feed folks and you got to do it right,” Tucker said.
We had lunch at Tucker’s Barbecue for #FoodieFriday from The Telegraph and Positively 478.
There are six plates to choose from at Tuckers: barbecue pulled pork, ribs, hamburger steak, barbecue chicken, the Pig Special and a deluxe cheeseburger.
I ordered the ribs and Pig Special. The ribs came with a pair of sides while the special came with one. The ribs were meaty and flavorful.
But the star of the meal with the Pig Special.
Its pulled pork topped with slaw and tomato served between two pieces of toast. The combination was an unexpected delight. Tucker said that the recipe has been a staple around Macon for a long time.
“...You had several barbecue restaurants and one was the Pig’n Whistle,” Tucker said. “They had what you call a Pig Special. Originally, I think they started with barbecue on a bun. Then, it went with the toast.”
While I never got to try the Pig’n Whistle restaurant, Tucker’s does a great job of turning a Macon classic into a signature sandwich with their special slaw and barbecue.
Jenna Eason got the standard barbecue plate. She said it was easily some of the best pulled pork that she had ever eaten, saying it felt like a cookout after Sunday church service.Jenna could make three sandwiches out of the portion of meat she received.
The hand-cut fries had the right amount of thickness and crispiness. This is something that most places simply struggle with. The fries are either too thick and soft or thin and too crispy.
The stew was flavorful, and the slaw is the standout. It is hands down some of the best coleslaw either of us had ever eaten. In fact, Jenna said this was the first coleslaw she has actually enjoyed. It was the perfect side for a plate full of barbecue.
Other options at Tucker’s include baked beans, chili and chips.
Barbecue plate: $9.50
Rib plate: $9.50
Pig Special: $6.75
Location: 4591 Broadway in Macon
Hours: 10:30 a.m. - 3:30 pm.
Price range: $2-$9.50