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Sep 25, 2006 06:41 PM

barbecue near atlanta

I will be in Atlanta for work and am wondering if there are any "do-not-miss" barbecue places within 90 miles of Atlanta?


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  1. I posted a query on another food forum about Atlanta must eats and more than one recommendation has been made for Fat Matt's.

    Never been there but I will when I go to Atlanta in Oct.

    5 Replies
    1. re: fonebone37

      Fatt Matt's has been commented on many times in this forum. Majority feel it's a great place to hear music, not worth seeking out for the food.

      I haven't had any do not miss barbecue in Atlanta (I'm from Memphis, I'm picky). The best has been Fox Bros BBQ served at Smith's Olde Bar on Wed and Sat nights only (I think). There are fans of other places (Swallow at the Hollow, Sam and Dave's are two most mentioned).

      1. re: fonebone37

        Then you will be wasting your time, money, and taste buds. The collective CH learning curve on Fat Matt's is close to horizontal.

        1. re: pastramiking

          FYI, Fox Brothers BBQ will be opening their own restaurant at 1238 Dekalb Ave (little five points) sometime in April. If you like the Fox Bros BBQ served at Smith's, just wait til you can have it fresh off the smoker!!!

          1. re: bagman3rd

            what happned to fox bros? still not open

      2. The short answer to your question is "Yes". To flesh out the answer will take a bit more space.

        Fresh Air Barbeque in Jackson has been around since 1929. In the early '50s, WSB radio polled their listeners and Fresh Air was voted best in Georgia. Also within the 90 mile loop are their locations in Bogart, Athens, and Macon. Macon and Jackson are operated by brothers of the man who bought Fresh Air from the original owner. Bogart and Athens are operated by grandsons.

        The best according to many is Fox Bros. at Smith's. I have not yet tried it.

        From my experience, Sam & Dave's BBQ 1 and their sister location Sam & Dave's BBQ 2 are a definite cut above all the rest. What they do best is brisket. Their pork is also very good. My wife felt that their chicken was among the best she had ever had. Unlike most places in the area, Sam & Dave's meats are served without sauce. Several times I have been halfway through my brisket sandwich before I remembered to add sauce. It is that good. Both locations are in Marietta.

        Swallow at the Hollow in Roswell is also very good. They have live music on the weekends and get very crowded. They are closed on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

        Slope's BBQ has about five locations now. I don't care for the Woodstock location (even though it is the closest to my home), but I very much enjoy the Roswell and Sandy Springs locations. My preferred meal is the rib special with black eyed peas, fried okra and blackberry cobbler for dessert.

        The Rib Ranch is just off of I-75 on GA 5 (Canton Hwy) in Marietta. They serve beef, pork, turkey, and sausage along with various sides. It is all quite good. They have recently added fried catfish to the menu. Previously, it had been an occasional lunch special.

        Two Brothers BBQ in Ball Ground in Cherokee County is just off of I-575 and gives more of the old bbq dining feel that most of the places in metro Atlanta proper.

        Williamson Bros. in Marietta was (is) the favorite of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. He had their Q shipped into Washington several times. I was never fond of their place until a Chowhound or AtlantaCuisine post suggested that I try their ribs. The ribs were far better than their chopped pork, in my opinion.

        Rolling Bones in is a former gas station on Edgewood Avenue just out of downtown Atlanta. I have only had their brisket and collards, but they were both very good.

        Smokehouse, Fat Matt's, Dreamland are all places I have crossed off of my list. There are too many better places around.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Milt

          Have eaten at Swallow, and enjoyed myself. But it ain't really all that great. They lay the sauce on really heavily, and I don't think they use wood? maybe I'm wrong, but it ain't BBQ if there ain't wood involved.

          1. re: Milt

            2nd that emotion for Fresh Air. Worth the drive for sure. Absolutely exemplary pulled pork.

          2. harold's near the u.s penetentiary

            1 Reply
            1. re: sadie1

              we ate at Harold's last saturday, and it got so good...about the time I got done I realized I had even eaten all the coleslaw....which would not be noteworthy other than the fact that for the first 36 years and some-odd days of my life, I've HATED coleslaw.

              BTW...we ordered my 3 yr old a hot dog, she ended up wanting (and eating) a square of cornbread instead. I took a bite of the dog trying to get her to eat, and it blew my mind. Nothing but a cheapo weiner, but....a very heavily-smoked one. Really strange.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. I'm generally kinda torn on keeping really old threads alive- figure the OP might not be watching or care any more.

                That said, I've seen talk on some of the BBQ boards about Bub-A-Que (or something like that) in Jasper, GA. Gets good mention, and they apparently have a competition team also.