Big Shanty Smokehouse

Marietta corners the barbecue market in the northern suburbs in both quality and quantity, but its close neighbors are gaining ground with places like Zeigler’s in Acworth and Big Shanty Smokehouse in Kennesaw. Restaurant veteran Chic Dillard opened the latter in 2008 with his wife, Sissy, and his daughter, Shannon, in a sweet yellow house with a roomy, air-conditioned patio. Dry-rubbed ribs stand out among the brisket, pulled pork, and homemade sausage, with a burnished bark that gives way to fragrant, coral meat. Every barbecue joint has its off days, but during a recent meal the meats’ consistencies were amiss—the ribs flabby, the pork and brisket desiccated. Still, we’ve had enough standout experiences at Big Shanty to maintain our faith in the place. Look for whimsical specials like turkey ribs or smoked and corned beef brisket. The family has the touch with banana pudding, dreamy with smooth custard and a drift of meringue on top. Ask about the day’s sweets and cross your fingers for coconut cake.