There are six famous barbecue styles in the American South. Everyone has heard of Kansas City-style and Alabama white sauce, but why isn’t Mississippi style on the list? It should be. The little family–run barbecue places that you find in almost every town from the Pine Belt to the Pontotoc Ridge are unique. The pitmasters of this state are an unconventional lot, serving amazing barbecue in settings that no other restaurant-style would be comfortable. That’s just what you expect for a perfect barbecue place.
Huff and Puff Smokehouse in Waynesboro is no exception. It may not be readily apparent, but the kitchen is made from an old U-hall trailer, cleverly attached to the dining room. The drive-thru window is a new homemade addition, thanks to the pandemic that has changed the way many restaurants do business. The dining room is festooned with old tin sheets and wood, but it all comes together to make for a perfectly rustic look.
Tim Williams is the owner and pitmaster, and he has made this place a success through trial and error. His barbecue is good, excellent, but to get there, he took pretty traditional recipes and, as he says, “Made them my way.” Almost everything that comes out of his kitchen comes from the smoker. The few things that do not are made in a simple crockpot don’t even look for that fancy six– or eight–burner stove and oven. Nope, simplicity is the rule here.
If Tim has a mantra, it has to be: “If you wouldn’t sell it to your mother, it doesn’t get passed across the counter. That’s quality control taken seriously. Huff and Puff doesn’t use a sausage brand I was familiar with, but Mississippi–made Country Pleasin’ Sausage is now on my must–buy list. Check out their website, and you will see they say, “We make what some say is the best smoked sausage in the world.”
I asked Tim what his bestsellers are, but it took him a bit to answer. Not that Tim is a man of few words, he is far from that, but almost everything on the menu sells well. The ribs and pulled pork I tried were great, but what got my attention were the nachos and potatoes, Tim says, “We created these recipes for those that want something a little different.” The Bar-B-Que Nachos are made with Dorito chips, covered with baked beans, smoked pulled pork, barbecue sauce, and shredded cheddar cheese. The Loaded Bar-B-Que Baker is a baked potato loaded with butter, sour cream, pulled pork, barbecue sauce ad shredded cheese.
As far as I am concerned, a barbecue joint is only as good as its sides. This menu offers many old standards, but the standouts were Tae’s potato salad and the chunky potato salad. Both were excellent. Tae is an essential member of the kitchen staff and is responsible for all the side orders and the takeout window.
If you are into Mississippi barbecue, put this place on your bucket list.
1001 Mississippi Dr., Waynesboro
Open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.