The 10 Best Barbecue Restaurants in Atlanta
Barbecue is messy—and not just in the bark-under-your-fingernails and sauce-on-your-shirtsleeves sort of way. The mere act of defining it is complicated. Can you rightly call it barbecue if the meat isn’t cooked entirely over wood? Barbecue’s history is messy, too, the narrative often sabotaged by Southern stereotypes. (A more balanced version of that history is widely explored in the Atlanta History Center’s current Barbecue Nation exhibition.) Yet, as we set off to rank Atlanta’s top 10 ’cue joints, we found that the current state of barbecue here is far more diverse and inclusive than it’s ever been. Unlike other Southern cities, Atlanta doesn’t specialize in one distinct type of barbecue, and what has emerged—especially in the past 20 years—is a style that’s been shaped and, dare we say, improved by a melding of traditions from all corners of the region and even the globe. Essentially, Atlanta barbecue offers the best of all worlds. Take that, Texas.