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Best BBQ in Atlanta?

onocoffee Apr 7, 2009 11:59 AM

I probably should know better than asking this question, but I'm coming to Atlanta next week for a few days and have about two meals I can eat at any BBQ joint and I'm looking for recommendations.

Is there a "best" BBQ in Atlanta? Two recommendations please.

A little background: I enjoy food quite a bit and travel internationally to judge coffee competitions and have recently been certified by the Kansas City BBQ Society to judge their sanctioned competitions. While I'm very open to eating at KC Style or Texas Style BBQ joints, what I'm really interested in are the styles of BBQ in Atlanta that I won't find elsewhere. Is there an "Atlanta" or "Georgia" style of BBQ? If so, who's offering a great version?


  1. Squirrels Apr 7, 2009 12:20 PM

    There is no best BBQ anywhere in the world.

    All of it is regional and all people have specific nuances they like or dislike.

    With that said, try out Fox Bros. BBQ and Sam & Dave's. Others might mention Harold's, Daddy D'z and those are both valid choices as well. Harold's is has quite a bit of BBQ as well as political history associated with it.




    1. jamiecarroll Apr 7, 2009 03:09 PM

      Brunswick Stew is a regional barbecue specialty of Georgia.

      Look here:


      3 Replies
      1. re: jamiecarroll
        onocoffee Apr 8, 2009 08:22 PM

        Thanks guys for the recommendations.

        1. re: onocoffee
          alonzo Apr 10, 2009 06:17 AM

          For Brunswick Stew, the classic place is Harolds. It's just that the BBQ itself, isn't that great. I always have a bowl of stew and a side of cornbread at Harolds (these are the specialties). My wife has discovered the "stew dog", which is a pretty good hot dog smothered in the stew.

          Fox Brothers is probably the best bbq in the city of Atlanta right now, even though the place itself is real new. My experience is that the q is good, and the sides are generally superb.

          1. re: alonzo
            Squirrels Apr 10, 2009 12:12 PM

            Fox Bros. isn't new - in fact it's far from it. They sold exclusively at Smith's Olde Bar for years...

            The only thing new about it is the fact that they have opened up their own, stand-alone restaurant now.

      2. d
        dukeparrot Apr 10, 2009 05:09 PM

        Atlanta / GA doesn't really have an indigenous cue. Lots of places here advertise "NC BBQ" but I have yet to find one that comes close to the real thing. Fat Matt's Ribs (Piedmont Rd) has pretty good ribs. Dusty's (Clifton Rd near Emory) has pretty decent pulled pork. Brick Pit BBQ (Peachtree Industrial Blvd near Brookhaven) has good pulled pork and Brunswick stew is okay too. Have lived here 10 years and haven't found anything that rivals Bullock's yet

        1 Reply
        1. re: dukeparrot
          samlev Mar 15, 2010 01:42 PM

          Dusty's is gone and has been for about 9 months.

          As for the OP, in addition to the previously mentioned locales, there is Bobby and June's Biscuits and BBQ on 14th St. near Tech. Like Harold's it has been around forever.


        2. m
          Milt Apr 11, 2009 01:48 PM

          My vote for best bbq in metro Atlanta goes to Sam & Dave's BBQ 1 on Lower Roswell Road in east Cobb County - just east of Johnson Ferry Road. The sides are all made in house - the meats are consistently very good - brisket, pork, chicken, ribs are among the best in the area.

          1. k
            Katj Apr 13, 2009 07:45 AM

            At Harlold's I like the Stew Slaw Dog, it is very good.
            Fox Bros is really great.
            Spiced Right in Roswell and Lilburn is hit or miss, but when they hit their ribs are the best.
            Pig n Chick has great pulled pork and chicken.
            So, good luck in your search!

            1. t
              TomFl Apr 13, 2009 08:51 AM

              Having lived and worked around Atlanta for the last 2-3 decades,I've sampled most of the places,and we don't really find Atl to be a hotbed.

              Quantity of places is probably what stands out.

              We are also a cookteam,and judge all the major sanctioning bodies,when time permits.

              ,the team had he weekend of the Big Pig Jig free,Memphis in May, at Vienna,Ga.

              I did have the chance to judge the cookteam for Sam' and Daves, for on site.

              That said,we try to find something to enjoy. ,when we stop at a few of the places around the Ga area.


              1. flexitariastic Apr 15, 2009 11:52 AM

                I'm a big fan of Fresh Air Barbecue, about an hour south of Atlanta via I75 - use the Indian Springs exit, and it's in a little roadside wood building with a great big mud brick smokehouse adjacent. The menu has pulled pork, brunswick stew and cole slaw. that's it. that's also all you'll need, because the bbq is yummmmy.

                1. g
                  gatorgm1 Dec 29, 2009 06:43 PM

                  I think that Southern Pit BBQ in Griffin is the best around. I have eaten at every one of the BBQ restaraunts mentioned and I have to say the meats, sauce, and Brunswick Stew are better than anyones. The cornbread blows Harold's out of the water. If you haven't found or been to McGhin's Southern Pit in Griffin you should definitely check it out!

                  1. a
                    AnyaTika Mar 14, 2010 01:27 PM

                    An old gent with a giant white beard and indigo work overalls recommended this place to me, said it's the best around: http://www.yelp.com/biz/garden-produc... Still haven't been yet since the lure of the smoked wings from Fox. Bros always turns me too a chicken wing eating zombie.

                    It's a TINY restaurant whose neighboring garden supplies the veggies. Get in!

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: AnyaTika
                      collegekitchen Mar 28, 2010 04:45 PM

                      I'm surprised no one included Fat Matt's! Definitely my favorite, even more than Fox Brothers (which I also adore). It's very purist.. just pulled pork on two pieces of white bread, nothing fancy. But that pork is divine.

                      Fox Brothers is good, too. Those fries they make, smothered in cheese and BBQ and peppers... oh man.

                      Of course, the best BBQ I've ever tasted in the state of Georgia came from a little shack on the side of Gray Highway in rural Gray, GA... Old Clinton BBQ. Used to stop there on the way to Lake Sinclair when I was a kid.

                      Fat Matt's Rib Shack
                      1811 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30324

                      Old Clinton Bar-B-Q
                      4214 Gray Hwy, Gray, GA 31032

                      1. re: collegekitchen
                        ted Mar 29, 2010 10:04 AM

                        I was tempted to give this a pass, but you've given Fat Matt's as a recommendation twice now.

                        At some level, I get it. You can listen to music, have a bucket of 420/Rolling Rock/Coors, and chow down. Great after an afternoon of watching [insert sport here] and drinking [insert beverage here]. But mistaking the ribs they make for real BBQ is just wrong.

                        Between Up in the Air, Cliff Bostock's last column, and these kind of posts, it's hard to stop bonking your forehead on the desk to type this.

                        We have a bunch of really good Q joints in town now. Lumping in the greasy mess that Fat Matt's calls ribs and the sloppy-joe-esque "BBQ" sandwich just isn't fair when DBA, Fox Bros, Community, Rolling Bones, Spiced Right, Dave Poe's, Swallow at the Hollow, etc, etc are all within striking distance. No, there isn't a local distinctive, organically-developed style, but it's all good food to varying degrees.

                        The photo below is an old one, but I've had Fat Matt's ribs again in the meantime and they hadn't changed a bit. Yuck.

                        1. re: ted
                          collegekitchen Mar 29, 2010 06:17 PM

                          Please don't injure yourself, Ted. And please excuse my impudence. I am but a lowly college student, who finds glory in anything beyond a 28-cent bowl of steaming hot Ramen. My barbarian taste buds know not what they do.

                          Regardless, the best barbeque in Atlanta can actually be found on a shady corner of Gaskill Street, tucked deep within Cabbagetown, at that tiny white church that looks like a shack. Only happens every now and then, but always on a Sunday. You gotta be willing to repent your sins, though. High price.

                          1. re: collegekitchen
                            ted Mar 29, 2010 06:33 PM

                            Dude, if you like the shack, then recommend the shack, not the Shack. That's what it's all about.

                        2. re: collegekitchen
                          Fuller Mar 30, 2010 09:08 AM

                          Fatt Matt's boils their ribs.

                          BBQ "purists" decide for yourself.

                          1. re: Fuller
                            collegekitchen Mar 30, 2010 02:23 PM

                            I concede.

                            In other news, has anyone tried the Bone Lick BBQ at P'cheen? I haven't. Have heard a few reviews, mostly pretty positive. Don't know, though. Anyone?

                            1. re: collegekitchen
                              ted Mar 30, 2010 03:45 PM

                              We tried it. I have a feeling we might have hit it wrong- no smoker out front as described in the news. And it wasn't that good.

                              That said, you could do worse using one of those halfoffdepot coupons. Good beer selection also.

                              1. re: ted
                                JHLI Mar 30, 2010 04:24 PM

                                Do you know if Smith's Olde Bar still serves Fox Bros BBQ? That's where I first tried it and they had some killer onion rings too - the batter never separated from the onion and it was not too thick. I was there for an early dinner - not my style of bar.

                                Reason I ask is I attend meetings every so often in that area and the Fox Bros place near L5P is not convenient. Guess I could go to Fat Matt's :>) . Tried it once and I agree with you. Sam and Dave's (three versions now) are my favorite.

                              2. re: collegekitchen
                                AnyaTika Apr 2, 2010 07:09 AM

                                I adore P'Cheen but have yet to sample the Q. I know that Alex was one of the chefs attending and butchering the last time Cochon rolled through town. That ought to say a little something.

                            2. re: collegekitchen
                              BBQ Potentate Apr 23, 2010 09:10 PM

                              I ate at Old Clinton BBQ back in 1998, and it was very good. I don't live in the area, so I haven't had the chance to go back since then.

                              I ate at Daddy D'z last night. Got 4 ribs, pulled pork, collards, and fried okra. The ribs were OK, but nothing remarkable. The pulled pork was decent. The collards were good. The okra had way too much breading. Overall, not too impressed, but it was better than I remember Fat Matt's being (I ate there in 1999).

                              Daddy D'z
                              264 Memorial Dr SE, Atlanta, GA 30312

                          2. d
                            ddw8279 Apr 25, 2010 05:37 AM

                            I lived in Atlanta for 5 years and went hunting for the best bbq I could find. The best ribs are at Fat Mats, the best chopped pork at Fox Bros. If you like mustard based, go to Swallow at the Hollow in Marietta, some of the best BBQ you'll ever find

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ddw8279
                              vwgto May 2, 2010 06:23 PM

                              I have been away from Atlanta for several years, but this was true even then: folks in Atlanta need to get out I20 and try Wallaces BBQ in Austell. While there are apparently a few new places I never tried in the area, Wallaces had the food, prices, and atmosphere that was always under the radar (except for the tons of folks in that immediate area who keep the large space packed).

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