My BBQ page
I had planned to send friends and acquaintances far and wide to help me in my search for the best BBQ around (Atlanta - that is).
Since I didn't get much feedback from them, this will be my observations for the most part. I did a bit of traveling a while ago so I'm including other BBQ restaurants I've visited along the way. Sometimes circumstances didn't allow for thorough note taking which I will use as my excuse for the less-than-complete reviews. The results so far...
Pork plate: Two Brothers
Beef plate: Bodacious BBQ
Ribs: Dreamland (Tuscaloosa)
Pork sandwich: Heirloom Market
Beans: Two Brothers
Fries: Hursey's Pig-Pickin' Bar-B-Q
Mac and Cheese: Heirloom Market
Onion Rings: Heirloom Market
Red Slaw: Barbecue Center
Potato salad: Bodacious BBQ
B-B-Q & Co/Jimmy's BBQ
(that I've personally sampled)
Amos' BBQ & Biscuits (Ballground, GA)
Pork sandwich was large but a bit moist. Beans were slightly spicy though the portion was small. Fries were homecut, tea was a bit too sweet. Decor is, umm, rustic. Overall it was an average experience. If Two Brothers had been open that day... (2/2017)
B-B-Q & Co (Graham, NC)
Located in what appears to be an old fast food restaurant location, I was wary but learned they are a chain of two restaurants. A warning here - country music. Food was pretty good and a good value for the money. They had two sauces: a sweet-vinegar and a spicy-vinegar. They also had the absolute best hush puppies I've ever eaten.
Update(22 Aug 2005) Still good and now a chain of four restaurants across NC and VA with more to come. The Western(NC) sauce is tangy and good and the manager was very friendly. Closed as of 10/2016
Backwoods Bar-B-Que (Paducah, KY)
What is it about Paducah and Grilled Toast BBQ sandwiches? This is the second restaurant in Paducah where I was served my sandwich on toasted bread (think Grilled Cheese but with Pork instead). Not that I'm complaining - it's just different. Beware - the hot sauce here is probably the hottest BBQ sauce I've ever had and the medium had a bite also. The Hashbrown Casserole was excellent. Great value for the money ($1.25 for a Grilled Cheese sandwich and most sides were about $1).
Bar-B-Cutie (Smyrna, TN)
This is a chain of 15 or so restaurants mostly in Tennessee. The pork was lean but I would have liked more. Crinkle-cut fries which were not greasy but average otherwise. Beans had some pork in them and a tangy/hot taste that I liked very much. The texas toast had sesame seeds which I didn't. Four sauces Carolina(mustardy), Sweet(), Mild(slightly hot), Hot(more so). The tea was too sweet. Classic rock. Not bad for a chain. (11/2009)
Barbecue Center (Lexington, NC)
Pork plate was very lean and on the moist side. No sauce on the table so I guess you eat what you get which is ok. Red slaw was finely chopped and crunchy - the best I think I've had. Hush puppies were crescent/oblong shaped and slightly sweet. Good tea and good but average crinkle cut fries. One of their specialties is BBQ soup. (7/2012)
Benny's Barbecue (Cross Keys/Chamblee, GA)
Food poisoning. (199?)
Big D's BBQ (Dawsonville, GA)
Jumbo pork plate was lean and generous. Two sauces on the table: Memphis and SC style. Crinkle cut fries were ok not greasy. Jumbo sandwich/fries/Cheerwine $10. (4/2017)
Bill's BBQ and cafe (Atoka, OK)
This restaurant on US 75 had been open about a month and a half when we stoppped in. And probably won't be open much longer. Portions were small, prices were large, and the quality was adequate at best. We were the only customers and he was the only one there. He was so bored he sat at the next table to talk to us. If you keep driving, you can stop at the Watsonburger in Durant, Oklahoma.
Lesson here: 35 years in the HVAC industry does NOT prepare you to run a bbq restaurant. (5/2008)
Seems to be out of business. I'm SHOCKED I tell you. (2012?)
Bodacious Bar-B-Q (Longview, TX)
The ironic thing about this restaurant is that the menu is printed on a giant pig over the counter
and lists Beef, Turkey, Hot links, and Ribs - but no pork. We stopped in just before lunch. The sauce bottles on the table were warm(fresh batch?). The sauce had a sweet/hot/smokey flavor. The beef brisket was mostly lean, smoky, and thick and the turkey was excellent. Sides are limited. The slaw was average and the beans were more like chili than baked (hot rather than sweet). On the downside we got two slices of white bread and the tea was a bit too sweet. Overall, though, a good meal and a good value for the money. (6/2008)
Update(5/2009): This is a local East Texas chain(10+? locations) and each of the three we've seen looks different. We ate at the one in Marshall this time. This location had pork on the menu but was out when I ordered it. Beef still good and tender enought to cut with a plastic fork. I can add that the potato salad was excellent. It had a strong taste of mayonnaise and dill.
Bradley's Bar-B-Que (Covington, GA)
Lunch plate was a great value here. Chopped pork was plentiful, very lean, and good. the regular sauce had a slight bite and the hot sauce a bit more so but still somewhat mild. Beans were thin with pork mixed in and decent but the cole slaw was merely average. Tea was slightly-to-average sweetened. Lunch $7 + drink. "Fearless" by Pink Floyd was playing when I arrived. The original location is the Conyers restaurant. On the web (9/2015)
Butt Hutt BBQ (Athens, GA)
Good-sized sandwich and a heaping serving of fries but the sandwich had an off taste - metallic? as if it had been in a warming pan? Classic bbq sides potato salad, beans, mac & cheese are "premium" and cost a dollar more. Tea was just slightly too sweet. Four sauces: med/mild, hot(not really), sweet, vinegar(very much so). On the web (8/2018)
Community Q (Decatur, GA)
Parking lot at Fox Bros was full so their loss. Pulled pork sandwich was a generous serving. The meat was flavorful and moist but with a little bit of fat to pull off. Served on texas toast. The only sauce was a sweet and slghtly spicey red. The beans were in a dark sauce and were spicy, moderately sweet, and generously served. Teas was good. Rolls of paper towels on the table along with tabasco sauce. Prices are in even amounts with tax included which is nice.
Sandwich/side/Drink: $11. Well worth it. On the web (2/2017)
Followup visit: the mac and cheese is outstanding.
Corky's Ribs & BBQ (Duluth, GA)
No review. It was so long ago that I don't remember but I don't recall being impressed. (199?)
Crazy Ron's Bar-B-Q (Stone Mountain, GA)
Five miles from home and been there for 12 years and I never knew. Located in old town Stone Mountain and backing up to the railroad tracks, this joint is a 15'x10' shed that looks like a caboose with a smoker next to it and picnic tables out front to sit at. This one is tough to judge because I was batting away flies the entire meal and the sandwich("sandwhich" on the menu board) was dripping in sauce so the flavor of the meat was covered. The meat was mostly lean with the occasional spot of fat and seemed tasty. The sauce was a hot vinegar base and was good. My one side was a moderate portion of baked beans that were obviously Heinz' finest from a can - average and I can buy this in a store. No fries on the menu and Cokes in cans. Lunch $7 Dinner $11. (9/2012)
Daddy Joe's Beach House BBQ & Grill (Gaffney, SC)
I don't have any notes from this one. As I recall it was worth the stop but was nothing special. (5/2010)
Dawg Gone Good BBQ (Athens, GA)
Didn't make notes but it was a good meal in a very small joint with no A/C. (8/2014)
After a second visit: more like dawg gone ok bbq. The sandwich was on the small side and had some fat in it. Good mac & cheese, the beans had an odd but not bad taste like sweet potato which was different, and the tea was way too sweet. Restaurant is twice as big now and has A/C. Still on the hunt for good bbq in Athens. On the web (7/2018)
Dickey's Barbecue Pit (Milton, GA)
Dickey's is franchised all over the US. Unfortunately, I can't say where they came from as their website just plain doesn't work - NO BBQ website should rely on Flash. Nine different types of meat from Beef Brisket to Polish Sausage. The Pulled Pork was good. Beans were from a can and the Baked Potato Casserole was more like Mashed Potato Blob With Cheese and Chives. The Hot sauce had a nice bite to it. Average value for the money.
Dixie BBQ (Johnson City, TN)
Coming in just under the wire (i.e. four hours drive) is Dixie BBQ. Jay says "This is the best pulled pork I have ever eaten anywhere--hands down. The variety and quality of the sauces and side dishes are also world class. This is also the only place I have ever eaten cornbread that was actually good!"
Dreamland (Roswell, GA)
Dreamland (the original) (Tuscaloosa, AL)
One word: Ribs.
You have two choices when you walk in: half-slab or whole and what to drink. Plus a side of white bread. The sauce has a bite.
Dusty's (Atlanta, GA)
Fried Okra! Had to order the Dinner plate to get two side items but the price was reasonable. Beans were thick with onions and peppers added. Four sauces - all good but the bbq was unremarkable. In hindsight it may have been better than I thought now that I've experienced NC bbq. This is now Pig-n-Chik #3.
Fat Matt's Rib Shack (Atlanta, GA)
My first foray into the rib world. I wasn't impressed at the time but part of the problem may have been that you can't eat here alone. You have to order at the counter and find a place to sit and you can't do both at the same time. (1993)
Foxfire (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Big sandwich. Good value for the money but average bbq. Good luck finding them open. Took us three tries.
Fred's Bar-B-Q House (Lithia Springs, GA)
This place is a little of everything: burgers, dogs, wings, and chicken tenders. The "Texas" version is just a sandwich on a larger bun and you can get more meat on a sandwich for an upcharge. There were four sauces on the table but the sandwich is served with sauce on it: a vinegar base, a thick sweet, a hot, and one other. The beans were Campbell's, the fries were average, and the tea was just right - not too sweet. I probably should have gone with the extra meat on a regular sandwich instead of the Texas basket. Fred's is a good value for the money with a variety of foods to choose from but not worth a long drive to get to. On the web (8/2018)
Fresh Air Barbeque (Bogart/Athens, GA)
Chopped pork sandwich with a decent portion of meat. Fries were not greasy and the tea was just right. Three sauces: a vinegar, a hot, and a sweet honey all of which were good. Sandwich(large)/fries/pickle slice/drink lunch combo: $7. Overall a good value. On the web (9/2018)
Gary's BBQ & Seafood (Henderson, NC)
Closed on Monday. We were lucky to catch them open this time due to a fund raiser. BBQ was a bit too moist. NC vinegar was cooked in and the sauce on the table added a bite. Potato Salad had a hint of mustard. Slaw was very good. It had relish added giving it a sweet/tart flavor. Hush puppies were an odd crescent shape and the tea was just right. Closed as of 10/2016
Golden Rule (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Thankfully, I live in Atlanta and won't have to return. They appear to be a chain all over Alabama. I would just a soon give Sonny's my money.
The Greater Good (East Lake/Decatur, GA)
Food was a little cold but a pretty good meal. I'll try the Tucker location and give a fuller report. Four locations around town co-owned by the owner of Fellini's Pizza. On the web (2/2018) East Lake location closed 2020.
Happy Hawg BBQ (Hiram, GA)
The lunch plate came with a very generous serving of fairly lean meat in the sandwich. The fries were cut "homestyle", were not greasy, and there were plenty of them. Sweet tea was just right. Three sauces on the table: Carolina(mustard), Carolina(vinegar), and Sweet. Price was reasonable. On the web (8/2015)
Harrold's (Atlanta, GA)
Chris raves about the stew. Not being a stew fan, I just don't get it. Not worth a trip back. The news came in July 2012 that Harrold's has now closed due to the neighborhood and slow business. I hate to see any BBQ joint close.
Heirloom Market BBQ (Galleria/Smyrna, GA)
This restaurant is a Southern/Korean fusion of styles. The pork on the sandwich was mostly lean and there was plenty of it. I had the Settler sauce which is supposed to be eastern NC style but I think not - though still a very good mix of vinegar and pepper. I didn't try any of the four other flavors. Baked beans were a delicious blend of pork, beans, and spicy sauce. Jasmine iced tea was an interesting surprise. I hear the slaw along with the mac(shells) and cheese is very good. Will have to try them on a return visit. There is no dining room but there is a communal table to stand at on the side patio or you can picnic in the grass. Heirloom shares a parking lot with the liquor store next door and yes, it's true, the lot IS about the size of the restaurant. No joke. Fifteen or so parking spots (if one is creative) so lunch is tricky. On my second visit in a month I had the Korean BBQ sandwich and mac&cheese. I can heartily recommend both. The Korean bbq is cubed and has an interesting slaw mix on the sandwich. The mac&cheese is thick as if mozzerella was used. Try the tempura onion rings if they are available that day. I can now add the Tri-Tip-n-Cheddar sandwich and the Texas Brisket Chili to the recommended list! On the web (8/2015)
Henry James Bar-B-Que (Archdale/High Point, NC)
The pork was lean but slightly too moist. Two types of sauce: one was vinegary with a strong bite(recommended) and the other was slightly sweeter. Crescent shaped hush puppies were average. The beans had bell pepper in them but were way too thick. Red slaw was average. Cheerwine on tap. Overall an average meal but not worth the hike from the interstate. (7/2009)
Hickory House (Tucker, GA - the last of an Atlanta empire)
The mid-week lunch crowd here skewed older. Good mac & cheese, fries, and beans. Sauce came on the wrapped sandwich which was a bit small but good. Overall a good value for the money and a decent meal. (8/2018)
Horne's (Tuscaloosa, AL)
The meat tasted like pork roast; the beans like Campbell's straight from the can. What saved them was the fact that among the 14 side items they offer is fried okra. Overall the food was adequate. Horne's closed in 2006 and was replaced by a Mike & Edís Bar-B-Q franchise which was susequently destroyed by the tornado in 2011.
Holt Brothers (Norcross, GA)
Is out of business proving that there IS justice in the world.
Hursey's Pig-Pickin' Bar-B-Q (Burlington, NC)
Very moist meat - almost too moist. Sauce was tangy and vinegary. Slaw was average. Fries were fresh and dry (not greasy). Tea was just right. Medium sized portions. On the web (7/2007)
Hwy 70 BBQ (Hillsborough, NC)
Used to be Tony's but was sold to an Iranian couple about a year and a half ago. I was prepared to be disappointed after walking into the place but was pleasantly surprised. Pretty good sandwich and Jimmy said the stew was very good. No Cheerwine though. There should be a rule: restaurants in NC must serve Cheerwine. It's like not finding Coke in Georgia. From the interstate drive through historic downtown Hillsborough and keep going until you reach US 70. Get there before 6:00 though. (7/2009). Closed 2014.
Jimmy's BBQ (Lexington, NC)
My first Lexington/Western NC barbecue. Since it wasn't our only stop, I got a sandwich instead of a plate. I prefer to judge restaurants based on plates. The sandwich was medium size and lean and to my surprise came with slaw on it. A new experience. Sauce was vinegar and medium hot. The hot hot sauce wasn't overly so. The slaw was an interesting red instead of white. I liked it. Hush puppies were excellent. Some of the best I've had. They were sweet and very crunchy - possibly double cooked. Tea was good and the service was friendly. Jimmy's is a 6AM - 9PM restaurant (except Tuesday). (8/2008) Closed: 12/2014
An explanation of North Carolina BBQ is
here and red slaw is here
John Wayne's BBQ (Lexington, NC)
Our second stop in Lexington was a winding trip through town to find this one. Like Jimmy's, John Wayne's is a full restaurant open seven day a week. The sandwich here was about the same as at Jimmy's. The difference being that the tea was a bit too sweet, the hush puppies were ok, and they had a large number of side items. (8/2008) Closed 2/2010
Johnny Harris (Savannah, GA)
Now THIS is good stew. Unfortunately, it's also mediocre bbq.
Little Pigs BBQ (Anderson, SC)
Closed on Mondays. No review. (8/2011)
Nick's Okla~Tex Bar-B-Q (Benton, IL)
They have a bar and serve breakfast. The brisket sandwich had some fat in it and a slight metallic? taste. The fries were not greasy and the beans were sweet/hot like Two Brothers with a flavor I can't identify. Sweet tea probably came from Pepsi. Overall: so-so. Music: Spice Girls among others. (8/2009)
Old McDonald's (Buford, GA)
I don't know about '#1 best bbq in Ga' but I thought it was very good. The meat was moist and tender without a trace of fat. The beans were thick with a little bite and the stew was good(I'm not a stew eater). Poor marks for untoasted white bread. Worth a trip back although Barry and Chris thought that overall it was just average.
Pappas Bar-B-Q (Dallas, TX)
Beef was very tender but had a bit too much fat for my liking. The potato salad and slaw were both average. In hindsight I should have gone with the spicy rice and macaroni salad. (5/2009)
Pig-N-Chik (Sandy Springs, GA)
Rule #1: Never eat at a bbq restaurant a week after the review comes out in the paper. Rule #2: Don't believe the reviewers at the AJC. Adequate barbecue, Campbell's finest beans, and little service. We had to get it 'to go' and eat outside. To be fair though, they were slammed because of the article. We'll give 'em one more try in the future.
Pippin's Barbecue (McDonough, GA)
Chopped pork sandwich and a limited number of sides - mostly slaw and stew. Three sauces on the table that tended to the hot side. While the meal was a decent size and the price was right, somehow I left not-quite-filled. (11/2018)
Pompous Pig (Anderson, SC)
Closed on Mondays. No review. (8/2011)
Prince George Family BBQ (Richmond/Chesterfield, VA)
A very lean sandwich. Fries were average but not greasy. Slaw was so-so - offered on the sandwich or on the side. Tea was a bit too sweet. The sauce had a spice bite to it similar to Arby's sauce and was very good. (8/2011)
Pulaski Heights BBQ (Athens, GA)
The bbq here was unremarkable. Nothing wrong with it just unremarkable. The sides were very good though. We tried the Potato salad, slaw, and beans. Two sauces on the table: one eastern Carolina vinegar and the other a sweet hot/red with two others by request: a carolina mustard and a korean?ish. A bit pricey. On the web (9/2015)
R&R BBQ (Concord, NC)
Good sized portions but ok barbeque. Two sauces: one vinegary and the other vinegary with a smokey/sweet flavor. Beans were thick and sweet. Fries weren't greasy. Cheerwine in a to-go cup! This one is a stone's throw off the interstate. (7/2009)
Scott's BBQ (Athens/Hull, GA)
Inside what might be a doublewide. This place really says "lunch counter". The bbq here is served not chopped but cubed. It was tasty but had a bit too much fat for my liking. The beans were completely average and the hash was interesting - kind of a beef and chicken mix the consistency of wet grits. The tea was also good. Overall a bit too much to pay for what I got and I doubt I'll ever return even if I find myself in Hull (I'll try Bill's or Fresh Air next time). Bring cash or checks but only on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. (8/2019)
Slope's (Sandy Springs, GA)
Visited this one so long ago that I don't have any notes.
Smokey Joe's BBQ (Lexington, NC)
I can't rate our last stop in Lexington because I was too full from the first two to order anything. They did however have Cheerwine. I didn't try it but when I got back to Atlanta I saw it two days later in Kroger and took that as a sign. I now have a new favorite drink. (8/2008)
Smokin' Po Boys BBQ (Winder, GA)
Ate here on the way to viewing the solar eclipse from a nearby cemetery. Good meal but I have no notes. As I recall there were several sauces on the table. Will have to make a return visit. (8/2017)
Sonny's (All Over)
It is what it is.
Southern Smoq BBQ (Flowery Branch, GA)
Sandwich was decent though the bun was a little soft. Barbeque was most and lean. Eight sauces available but only four are on the table and none are labeled. Beans had an interesting flavor, sort of smoky bacon but the portion was small. Tea was just right. Sandwich/side/drink: $10.25 (2/2017)
Spiced Right (Lilburn, GA)
I grew up about two miles from this one so I'm sorry to report that it has really slipped. Although to be fair, I haven't been in there in at least three years. The lunch buffet used to be a good deal.
Update - lunch buffet is still a good deal and the bbq is better than it was last visit.
Update(6 Aug 2005) - Under new ownership for three months now. Closed on Sunday!
Update(29 Oct 2005) - The Buffet is gone :-( but the portion was large and the new side items are good.
Not sure if they're still open. Sign is lit but no cars (5/2014)
Sign now says The Barn Smokehouse. They also own a seafood restaurant down the road so I have no great hopes (1/2015). As of 8/2018 it looks like it's under new management (Smokin' Gold seems to have moved down from Dahlonega).
Starnes (Paducah, KY)
This one is a 20'x20' lunch counter in a cinderblock building painted institutional mint green. They offer sandwiches (Pork, Beef, Turkey, Ham, and one other that I forget) and two different sides. The sandwich came toasted like a grilled cheese and the sauce was hot. Sandwich is cheap and so are the drinks - all off-brand (i.e. Diet Rite, no Cokes or Pepsis). If you have to go (and I don't know why), get there before 6:00. (8/4/2009)
Super Smokers BBQ (Eureka/St. Louis, MO)
This was my first foray across the Mississippi for bbq. I liked it. This moist (pork) bbq was good by itself with almost no fat. Six of the seven sauces were on the table to try. I liked the St. Louis flavor the best - kinda peppery. The baked beans were small and good. The Slaw was plain with a light sweet vinegar taste but the texas toast was barely toasted. Tea was just right. On the web (5/2008) Bonus points for using the oxford/serial comma when describing the sauces.
T&A BBQ (Jackson, MS)
Tom's BBQ is now a bar so we drove on down the road another mile or so to this one. This is a small building with a pick-up window and picnic tables. The sliced pork was mostly lean and swimming in a very good, spicy, hot sauce (much like stew). Beans and potato salad were average but the tea was monsterously huge. Betty Boop is painted on the side of the company vans. Be warned though - the place has burglar bars and the tables are chained down so stop by during the day. (5/2009)
The Tipsy Pig BBQ (Five Forks/Lilburn, GA)
Located inside a
Shell Exxon gas station. Order, grab a fountain drink (or a bottle from the cooler), pay up front and get your ticket stamped. Pulled pork sandwich was lean and plentiful. Slaw on top("Memphis style") is an option. Meat was moist and tasty with a smoky flavor. Fries were good - krinkle-cut, piled high, and lacked grease but nothing special. Two sauces on the table - sweet vinegar base and a hot vinegar base with crushed red pepper floating in it. Lunch $8 and a plate/dinner was $11. (9/2012)
Triple E BBQ (Mt Vernon, IL)
This is one of a handful of locations in southern Illinois. The sandwich was moist with very little fat but the bun got soggy and about disintegrated on me. The sauces were Medium and Hot and reminded me of Arby's sauce. Fries were a little greasy and the tea was a little too sweet. About the best one can hope for in Illinois I suppose. (5/2009)
Two Brothers (Ball Ground, GA)
The restaurant of my youth and the one by which all others are judged.
The Cherokee county health department recently made them remove the sawdust from the floor.
(which far as I know didn't kill anyone in the 20 years or so I've been going there)
Vonís Barbeque (Lithonia, GA)
The building is old but the restaurant is new in a remodeled recently bland sort of way. I arrived when they opened and it took 20 minutes to get my food. The lunch special is $7 for sandwich/side/drink. I got the pork with mac and cheese. The sandwich came on a hoagie roll and was stuffed with lean chopped pork to which I chose to have the hot sauce added. Mac and cheese was homemade and pretty good. There are only eight or so tables so I don't know how busy they get and they have a bible verse taking up much of a wall - meh. Overall an excellent value and I will keep them in mind when I'm near Lithonia. (2/2019)
Wilson Brothers Barbecue (South Hill, VA)
Minced meat was very lean almost too much so without sauce but still some of the best pork I've had. The medium? sauce had what I believe was ginger in it which gave it a very different flavor. The hot sauce reminded me of 57 sauce. Both were good. The slaw was average and the tea was very good. (7/2012)
Note: S&S BBQ down the street is now Bonesuckerz. You spell your name with a 'Z': we drive right by.
Wilson's Pit BBQ (Sweetwater, TN)
Jimmy said it was good but didn't give details. Now Bradley's Pit BBQ (2016)
Meanwhile, check this out:
Update: Geocities is dead so I'll post an old copy of his reviews here.
Good news! Grant is back and with far more extensive reviews at Marie, Let's Eat!
First update: 17 Nov 2002
Latest update: August 2019
º ° * ¤ ▸ ♦