2010 Barbecue Guide - Barbecue - Atlanta Magazine

2010 Barbecue Guide

58 barbecue joints reviewed

Please note: This list comes directly from our July 2010 issue. Information has not been updated and may be out of date.


Bucc’s Barbecue The earnest staffers at Bucc’s, which opened earlier this year, will give you the rundown straightaway: They don’t serve pork. They offer four sauces: mild, medium, hot (with a true lingering heat), and sweet peach (which stays just shy of cloying). Order collards—robust with smoked turkey—and complexly seasoned potato salad with your strapping beef ribs. This is mainly a drive-thru operation; two tables on the patio are the only seating available. 313 Boulevard, 404-736-6197

’Cue Barbecue Those incredulous that a midscale rendition of a barbecue joint can produce soul-satisfying meats should shovel their forks into a pile of ’Cue’s supple smoked pork. The restaurant covers all the barbecue basics (choose pork over beef) but adds in a few creative options that complement the essentials. An appetizer of sliced homemade sausages comes with amazing jalapeño pickles that somehow don’t make your mouth feel like a firestorm. And it was here that I discovered how well Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale pairs with barbecue. Expect a short wait on weekend evenings: ’Cue’s middle-of-the-road approach makes it a popular family dining spot. 13700 Highway 9, Milton, 770-667-0089, cuebarbecue.com

D.B.A. Barbecue D.B.A. (which stands for “Doing Business As,” typically a placeholder moniker) opened last year serving tepid, smokeless barbecue. Owner Matt Coggin quickly wised up, made some crucial changes in the kitchen, and began earning fans in the Virginia-Highland community. The food is much improved. The baby back ribs can have an almost bitter char, but the spareribs are crusty and chewy in all the right ways. Pulled pork also included some barky pieces that enhanced the texture. Vegetarians should make a meal of well-executed sides rather than the undersmoked tofu. Great patio. 1190 North Highland Avenue, 404-249-5000, dbabarbecue.com

Daddy D’z Chicago native Ron Newman’s Grant Park dive is one of the most polarizing rib shacks in town. Some swear by the meats smoked over hickory and oak. I’ve eaten here several times over the years, and although the dim, funky digs and the ever-changing crowd have classic barbecue joint appeal, I find the food frustratingly inconsistent. You never know which of the meats will be freshest and which will taste over the hill, though ribs and pulled pork are typically the most prudent choices. Likewise, the signature “que wraps” can come across either as fun, pork-stuffed bread sticks or—on an off day—as greasy, over-the-hill wontons. 264 Memorial Drive, 404-222-0206, daddydz.com

Dreamland Bar-B-Que Having visited the original Dreamland in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, years ago, I can attest that the ribs at this outpost aren’t made with the same craft. That said, the ribs are shot through with hickory smoke and have the correct pink tinge. The chicken tastes more grilled than smoked, but a heavy hand with the spices gives the skin some frisky flavor. Any health benefits from ordering green beans are subverted by the liberal inclusion of chopped sausage link. 10730 Alpharetta Highway, Roswell, 678-352-7999, dreamlandbbq.com

Fat Matt’s Rib Shack Few locals must have shown surprise when George Clooney answered “Fat Matt’s” after Vera Farmiga asked his character for Atlanta barbecue guidance in Up in the Air. The uncitified atmosphere (with blues playing nightly) and the straightforward menu with zero gourmet trappings have earned this twenty-year-old institution national attention—and all the debate that accompanies such notice. I’ll come here if I want nothing more than a plate of ribs, which arrive blackened, moderately caramelized, modestly smoky, and altogether satisfying. The rest of the menu doesn’t much impress, least of all the oversauced pulled pork sandwich. 1811 Piedmont Avenue, 404-607-1622, fatmattsribshack.com

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q Among the more recently opened barbecue contenders, none has gained more wild popularity than Fox Bros. Jonathan and Justin Fox took over the former location of Asada in the summer of 2007, and the restaurant’s parking lot has been one continuous logjam since. Being Texas natives, the brothers naturally excel at beef: Their sliced brisket has the proper nubbly texture achieved from slow cooking, and their tender on-the-bone short rib, sold Thursdays and Saturdays as a special, is the best iteration of that Flintstonian indulgence in the city. I’m not as fond of the pork, which is often lifeless and overcooked, but I do like their wackier creations such as the “Tomminator” (Tater Tots pummeled with Brunswick stew and melted cheese) and the gloppy “burger” with beef brisket and pimento cheese. 1238 DeKalb Avenue, 404-577-4030, foxbrosbbq.com

Hambones BBQ Hambones’ dining room is vast for an independent barbecue restaurant—and at lunch it fills to capacity with a bustling, racially diverse crowd. It’s easy to see why: Astutely cooked barbecue comes whizzing out of the kitchen shortly after you order at the counter. Hunky spareribs don’t possess much char, but the meat is pink and hickory-scented to the bone. Satisfying bits of ebony bark add extra smoky dimension to the chopped pork. Golden fries may arrive after the rest of the food, but their crisp texture and pure potato flavor reward your patience. 811 Virginia Avenue, Hapeville, 404-767-0888, hambones-bbq.com

Leave a comment:

· Subscribe to comments
Be the first to comment.

Get it fresh!

For inside scoop on restaurants, trends, and chefs subscribe to our dining newsletter, sent each Thursday. Plus, sign up for our recipe newsletter and get a new Southern recipe each Wednesday.