Hey - there IS some great BBQ in the Athens GA area!
(I originally posted this as a reply to another BBQ topic thread, but figured it deserved its own topic. So, if you think you've read this already, you might be right)
I'm a NC BBQ nut who used to think that GA BBQ totally sucked. I still think GA BBQ generally sucks, but now there finally are two places in the Athens area where you can get really really good BBQ.
First, White Tiger Gourmet in the Boulevard area does small batches of pork, and is only open for lunch, except on Friday nights (I think). It's surprisingly excellent on top of field greens. Weird, but true - the pork fat and the vinegar in the Eastern NC style sauce make like a vinaigrette. It's also good on a sandwich - which is on a huge Luna Bakery kaiser roll, which kicks the ass of the usual Bunny Bread you get with BBQ everywhere (traditional, yes, but it's still freakin' Bunny Bread).
Second, The O.C. Dawg House in Crawford on Hwy 78 is making some fine BBQ on Fridays and Saturdays. Hard to believe this little joint that started out as a hot dog and sandwich place makes BBQ this good, but it does. They also make the best BBQ beef brisket to be had within hundreds of miles (best I've had outside of Texas). I'm not a fan of their sauces, but good BBQ doesn't need sauce, and O.C. Dawg House's BBQ is that good. They started out making BBQ in a home smoker on their carport, but recently upgraded and installed a large commercial smoker. Not a lot of seating there, so plan to buy a pound or two and take it home. I think they have ribs and stew, but the pork and brisket is so good, I've not bothered to try anything else yet.
Both of these places put Jot 'Em Down to shame. Hell, at this point Sonny's BBQ or Bojangles BBQ puts Jot Em Down's BBQ to shame. A few years ago, they had passable, if inconsistent, BBQ. But there's been a major drop in quality, particularly since the move to Macon Hwy. The only thing Jot Em Down has going for it these days is beer.
I don't know much about sides at O.C. Dawg House, except that I think they have stew. With take-out BBQ that good, I don't really care about sides. If I want good slaw, I'll make my own. White Tiger has excellent sides, but not necessarily traditional ones. They do have good slaw. Their vegetables are locally sourced and based on availability, so take what you can get there, and it'll be good and better than the crappy beans and stew you'd get at most "normal" BBQ places.