Miller Brothers Rib Shack – Dalton, Georgia – Matt Booth

Miller Brothers Barbecue
606 E Morris St, Dalton, GA 30721
Tel: (706) 278-7365

When I drove up, I felt like I was in for a good meal. Smoke
billowing out from the cooker, a small building and trucks in the parking lot.
I got even more excited when I walked in. A friendly greeting from the
staff, a lot of locals catching up, and a few quotes on the wall from
the bible and Martin Luther King Jr. This is what most of my dreams
look like. I ordered the beef plate with a sweet tea, and got a good
meal.

The portions were perfect, but the beef was swimming in sauce.
On the bright side, it was sliced thinly and a little crispy on the
edges without being burnt. I love that. The taste was good but not
outstanding. That can be said for the whole meal. The fries and
baked beans were good but not great. The bread was toasted perfectly…
a little crunchy on one side and slightly soft on the other. And
it had just the right amount of butter. And the tea was what you
expect… very sweet and very addictive sweet tea.

So nothing jumped out, but it was good enough that I’ll go back
the next time I’m in Dalton GA.

Rating: 6.5/10

10 Responses to “Miller Brothers Rib Shack – Dalton, Georgia – Matt Booth”

  1. on 15 Jul 2008 at 10:42 pm scott sapp

    miller bros has some excellent bbq all right. try to catch them sometime when they are cooking a whole p i g, then you will really get something worth remembering. it’s a GREAT bbq joint and well managed.

  2. on 24 Jul 2008 at 5:03 pm Al Swilling

    I don’t know how many times Matthew Booth has had barbecue, but I have had it a LOT, from all parts of the country and even in Canada. I know good barbecue when I eat it, and Miller Brothers (originally Miller Brothers’ Barbecue) on Morris Street in Dalton, GA, (originally People’s gas station in the 1950s & early ’60s)–one of two locations–is as good as it gets.

    I only eat barbecue chicken and beef, and Miller Brothers’ beef has a lot of flavor; but what really tells the tale of a barbecue chef is the pork. I don’t normally eat pork in any form, but I tried Miller’s pork, beef, and chicken. Across the board, Miller Brothers’ quality was consistently high, and the needle on my deliciometer bounced off the peg it was so good.

    I have had barbecue that was almost as good, but only one other person that I know can equal Miller Brothers in flavor, quality, and plain ol’ Southern hospitality. The one who was arguably Miller Brothers’ equal does not make his barbecue for the commercial market. It’s for friends and family only. Lucky for the rest of us, there is Miller Brothers’ Rib Shack on Morris Street, on Dalton’s East Side and its sibling restaurant on Highway 41, just north of the Dalton-Rocky Face exit of I-75.

    Matthew Booth reports that the barbecue beef he had was swimming in sauce. Of the dozens of times that I have been in the Morris Street restaurant, I was always served the barbecue with the sauce on the side, so I could use as little or as much as I wanted. Good barbecue does not need sauce, and Miller Brothers’ is good barbecue worthy of the name. The only time I have ever seen Miller Brothers serve the barbecue with the sauce on the meat was when the customer asked for it that way. On the other hand, it has been a few months since I have eaten at Miller Brothers, because I’ve moved out of the immediate area and have very few opportunities to eat there now. I suppose it is possible that the Miller Brothers could have changed the way they serve up their barbecue; but they don’t strike me as the type to change the way they do things without good reason. They are the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” type who know a good thing when they have it.

    As for their fries, it’s pretty much a fact that “a fry is a fry is a fry.” The Miller Brothers’ fries are along the line of wedges, and they are good. As for their baked beans, they are good, authentic, home cooked baked beans that one would expect to get at home and not in a restaurant. Translation: they are better than the average restaurant baked beans.

    The only thing I ever found wrong with Miller Brothers’ Barbecue is the absence of hot slaw. To me, a barbecue plate or sandwich is just not complete without hot slaw. Some prefer coleslaw; but being a chili head, I like hot slaw. I have a friend who makes the best hot slaw I ever tasted. I have finally gotten him to agree to supply Miller Brothers with all they can use. Now I just have to take a sample to the Miller Brothers and see what they think. I think that, along with their sauce, hot slaw is the perfect complement for authentic, made right, beef, pork, or chicken barbecue as good as Miller Brothers’.

    Oh. They used to make a mean catfish dinner, too! Ask them about it if you like catfish. You know who you are.

    Al Swilling
    Miller Brothers Customer

  3. on 12 Nov 2008 at 1:14 pm Richard & ShaMeeka Prather

    I am from Atlanta and Barbeque is everywhere. When I moved to Dalton, I tried many of the BBQ places here and the food was just horrible. My husband told me about Millers Bros. so I tried it and we found ourselves licking each other fingers! The sauce was thick, the meat was tender and the service was professional. We’re eatting there again tonight! Delicious!!!

  4. on 17 Dec 2008 at 11:15 am Johnny McCracken

    Man I can’t believe what I’ve just read. I’ve tasted of Miller Bros BBQ and it was so gosh awful bad I could hardly eat it. The flavor and the texture in the meat is just not there and the sauce is terrible. It is becoming ever more clear that good BBQ must really be hard to find given the opinions of some people on certain low quality bbq they deem to be great but it far from it.

  5. on 02 Feb 2009 at 1:02 am Matt Booth

    To Al Swilling,

    Al, we may not agree on Miller Brothers (although I am going to give it another chance), but we do share a love of bbq. Your critique is longer than my write up! You’re the kind of person we would like to hear from, so I hope you will offer up some of your own reviews on bbq. Just click on the link on the home page and send them in. Look forward to hearing from you.

    matt b.

  6. on 03 Apr 2009 at 4:42 pm Jason A.

    Your entry said on Hwy, 41 just North of the Rocky Face exit. That would not be Miller Bros. But Vic’s. Building falling apart, leaky roof. big hole in kitchen ceiling from leaks. All equipment in disrepair, landlord would not fix so Vic stopped paying rent. Stand-off. Landlord won. Vic’s closed. The best barbecue ever served in Whitfield Co.,GA. Truly cooked of wood fired smoker, not parboiled as is Miller Bros. Not cooked Texas style, too done, bitter, sauce known as pine tar, as was Barns.
    Too Bad!

  7. on 07 Jun 2010 at 5:40 pm SpartanCaver

    I for one believe that those of us who actually cook BBQ are the best ones to judge BBQ. Those traveling around tasting here and there would be like the man who thinks he knows all about automobiles because he can put air in his tires, and check the wiper fluid. That being said and that stirring a lot of emotions, I will state that as long as I can remember going back to 1972, my father, his father, his brothers, and his friends all gathered around at major holidays to put on a “Rat Killin'”. This being described as just sitting around with shot gun in hand waiting for the rats to cross the farmyard. But this “Rat Killin’ is about watching the hardwood fire and seasoned smoke rolling from under the butcher paper that covered the hams, ribs, chicken halves, and whole turkeys. No sauce was ever used to baste the meat. It was allowed to slowly stew in its own juices. Sauce was prepared as a condiment, but never to baste. If you have to apply some kind of fluid to keep the meat moist, then your fire is too hot. Don’t take just my word for it, see also the pit cooking method used in Hawaii and the indirect method used by real Miami Cubans to slowly roast a pig. The best way to find a great BBQ joint is to follow your nose. If the wind is right and the smoke is full of steam coming off meat, then you will know you are getting warm.

    Now, I have traveled the State of Georgia working for a major pharmacy and a major bank. I have my picks of where I stop to pick up some chicken halves to take home and warm up for dinner.

    Armstrong’s in Summerville, GA. This place was a gem to discover. I’d had passed the place several times over the years never knowing of its existence. It is a plain white painted brick building with no visible signage indicating what is going on inside. There is a small block building next to the main building, but I thought it was a garage with engine smoke coming out; until the day the wind blew from the east and that juice filled smoke crossed the road and filled my truck with the aroma of roasted pork. I downshifted, hit the brakes, turn the truck around and went right back to the parking lot. There was a clear neon sign that lights up pink at night, but this was about 2:00 in the afternoon, not exactly lunch time. However, the place was packed with about 200 patrons scarfing down copious amounts of BBQ. Since I had a time table to keep, I ordered a sandwich and chips to go. I left heading south on U.S. 27 and opened the meal. After the first bite, I applied the brakes again, turned the truck around, and headed 5 miles back up the road for another sandwich, plus two chicken breast for dinner that evening. Yes, it was that good. No help from some ketchup based sauce, only the pure meat, stewed overnight in its own natural juice. Armstrong’s get high marks from me.

    Baily’s BBQ north of Ringgold, GA up U.S. 41. Another little marked, little known outside of the local population, great little mom & pop BBQ joint. Not much room for many folk, I’d say about 40 chairs, but they seem to rotate in time for the incoming to find a place to sit. Again, I found it with my nose rollin’ down highway 41, God, I sound like a Hank William’s song. I had the fall off the bone ribs that did require a decent sauce while cooking, my wife had the chicken. I wished I had chosen the bird. But the stew is decent enough to take some home. How good is the place? Rumor has it that Bailey’s caught fire and pretty much burned to the ground. This could not last. It is said the locals help the Bailey’s rebuild their much loved BBQ joint. How’s that for devotion?

    Next place I chosen does not have the very best example of Georgia BBQ. I’d really have to say that it is fair and average. No smoking pit out back. No lines waiting to get in the joint. In fact, it has no inside dining for it is Tucker’s Drive In BBQ. One of the few remaining authentic old time drive in BBQ joints I know of, it has beer on the drink menu. That’s right, the car hop, with proper I.D. will bring to your truck or car, a can of beer. It was astonishing to me because we have a no open container of booze law in Georgia. Yet here is a place that will put an open one in your hand by the side of the road. I go back just for the experience alone. It is located on the south side of Macon, GA. Ask your GPS to find the intersection of the following: U.S. Highway 41 (same one that passes Bailey’s 150 miles to the north) U.S. Hwy 129, Georgia Hwys 11, 49, 129, 247, a.k.a. 5 Points Southside.

    If I was going through Forsyth, GA between 11:00 to around 12:00, I stop at “This Little Piggy”, no, I did not make that up. When I first pulled into the gravel parking lot, that old familiar smoke was wafting around the building and across the yard. And “Piggy” did not let me down. The pork in all forms was very good, juicy without sauce, and in good portions. Now, I would caution you, don’t order the chicken after about 2:00. They cook one time and one time only putting the chicken in the warming ovens for hours on end. It is on the dinner menu after having been dried out for 8 hours. That is why I like to get chicken when it first comes out around 11:00.

    I’d like to nominate for honorable mention; Poole’s Real BBQ, his title not mine, located in Elllijay, GA. They do a shorten roasting period. Decent enough to be much better than anywhere else. There is Speedy Pig located in Fayetteville, GA. Their ribs and chicken are very good, slow roasted meats. And finally Country’s BBQ in Columbus. A local favorite and worth leaving the interstate to eat.

    Those are my comments and I’ll stick to them.

  8. on 17 Apr 2011 at 10:51 am Dakota Royal

    I must say reading all these reviews strikes home with me. I was raised in Dalton, GA and grew up on miller brothers my papaw was close friends with the owners for many years up to his death. I have to say that in all my time of cooking and eating bbq nothing ive ever had has even came close to the quality over at miller brothers(aside from my own) but thats personal tastes. The meat was always tender and juicy needing no sauce at all but when it comes down to sauce even my own cant compete with what they cook up over there. Eating there with my papaw was great every time we were welcomed by name with a handshake and a hug lol. It makes me sad that I live so far away in Arizona now but i always look forward to coming back and visiting that fine bbq once more. Anyways back on track, I myself am a pork bbq man and you cant go wrong there get the large pork sandwich and if your like me i like to kick it up and get the spicy version with some beans, sweet tea, and if you can handle it an order of the catfish nuggets. If you are ever in the area it is worth it to take a trip over to the guys at miller brothers.

  9. on 27 Apr 2011 at 8:13 am John B.

    Unfortunately, the best barbeque places in Dalton are no longer open. Anyone remember Pardner’s or Horace’s BBQ Hut? They were owned by the same family, and I tell you– I have searched and searched to try and find barbeque that tasted that good, but alas, there is none that can even come close. Miller Bros is great, and I always go there since Pardners & Horace’s closed.

  10. on 05 Mar 2012 at 5:16 am Deborah Cruse

    We have ate at Miller Brothers for a long time, it’s a unique taste and we love the bar b que.
    I often take my son a Quart of Bar B que sauce when visiting him in NC. He loves it and prepares ribs for all his friends with that sauce.
    The resturant is clean and decorated in South Checker board I like this as well.
    I think the palet of the mouth and the mouth watering taste speaks for itself.
    Try it you’ll like and probably go back again. Don’t let someone else decide for you.

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