The past few weeks have brought a flurry of announcements from some of the most popular pitmasters in Atlanta and the Southeast. Celebrity pitmaster Rodney Scott is bringing his popular ‘cue to Atlanta, while local mainstays like Fox Bros. are expanding even further into the city. The timing couldn’t be better, with summer right around the corner and family and friends finally dining together as Covid-19 vaccination rates continue to climb.
“Barbecue brings people together just like all soul food,” says Todd Richards, chef and co-owner of Lake & Oak BBQ. “I always say that it’s impossible to be mad at someone across the table while you’re eating a delicious meal.”
Black pitmasters, too, are finally getting more credit for their culinary expertise.
“Back in the day, you had the Black man in the kitchen or in the pit, but the white man who owned the restaurant was labeled the pitmaster, and the black man was labeled nothing,” says pitmaster Bryan Furman, who is opening his own restaurant next year. “To me, barbecue has always been hot. It’s just starting to get the attention [it deserves].”
Here’s where you can get your fix of pork and ribs in the next couple years:
Bryan Furman BBQ
The pitmaster behind the beloved B’s Cracklin’ BBQ—which we named the best barbecue in Atlanta before it burned down in 2019—Bryan Furman knows a thing or two about smoking meat. The 2019 James Beard semifinalist is currently Chef in Residence at Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, where he’s focusing on barbecue wood selection and heritage hog cooking. He’s also set to mentor aspiring pitmasters as part of Kingsford Charcoal’s Preserve the Pit initiative. But Atlantans may be most interested in his 2022 plans: launching his first barbecue joint under his own name. (He’s also opening a satellite location inside State Farm Arena in the fall.)
Located at 2102 Bolton Road in Riverside, across from the old B’s Cracklin’ space, Bryan Furman BBQ will feature his signature recipes for meats and sides. These include brisket, ribs, chicken, collard greens, baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad, Carolina hash and rice, and banana pudding. The menu will be limited to approximately 15 items, including vegan options. Furman will be smoking North Carolina hogs front and center with both indoor and outdoor seating. His old, destroyed smoker from B’s Cracklin’ will be on display, as well as photos of Black pitmasters of yesteryear. His new smokehouse will be brick and fireproof (just in case). He’s also partnering with Samara Davis, director of the Black Bourbon Society, to create cocktails with Maker’s Mark.
The second location of Georgia-meets-Texas barbecue joint DAS BBQ opened at 350 Memorial Drive last month with seven smoked meats and seven sides. (The beef brisket and spicy Mexican-style creamed corn take center stage.) Beer, wine, and liquor are available, too.
The nearly 200-seat restaurant offers ample outdoor space around the smoke house. In addition to general meat-smoking presentations, hands-on pitmaster classes are in the works.
Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q
Pitmasters Jonathan and Justin Fox are expanding their award-winning barbecue with two new locations. The first—located at the Works on the Westside—is slated to open this summer. The 9,300-square-foot space will feature a to-go window and grab-and-go offerings, as well as indoor and outdoor seating. The menu will be a mix of fan favorites from the original Fox Bros. on DeKalb Avenue, along with new appetizers and sandwiches.
Inspired by the Texas icehouses of their childhood, Fox Bros. Brookhaven will bring the barbecue back to the area it all began: the brothers’ Brookhaven backyard. Located in the Brookhaven Station development at Brookhaven Drive and Peachtree Road, it will offer a menu of Tex-Mex barbecue favorites, alongside some of the Foxes’ traditional smoked meats. The space will have an open-air feel with ample outdoor seating and a pickup window.
Lake & Oak BBQ
Chefs Todd Richards and Josh Lee opened the first Lake & Oak BBQ between the East Lake and Oakhurst neighborhoods in July 2020. Later this year, they’ll open another Lake & Oak location—this one in the Lee + White complex in West End. A much larger, custom-built space, the new restaurant will feature a patio facing the BeltLine.
Here, Richards and Lee will continue to cook Southern barbecue over white oak and pecan woods and charcoal using a Big Green Egg. The menu will be expanded to include sides from Richards’ recent cookbook and more of Lee’s family recipes. Favorites from the original location will remain and may include collard fried rice, cabbage slaw, Brussels sprouts, and of course, smoked macaroni and cheese.
Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ
Located in the historic MET development in Adair Park (680 Murphy Avenue Southwest), Rodney Scott’s BBQ will be the city’s first by this celebrity pitmaster, complementing locations in Charleston and Birmingham. The 4,000-square-foot space will have a disco ball, patio, and most important, Rodney’s Sauce—a mixture of vinegar, cayenne, and black pepper.
The Eastern South Carolina-inspired menu will feature ribs, pulled pork, turkey, wings, and more, all cooked over hardwood coals. (The whole hog barbecue cooks for more than 12 hours.) Expect a menu similar to that at other Rodney Scott BBQ locations, with the addition of a new salad and a chicken burger.