You can smell it from a mile away. It's that unmistakable smokey smell of barbecue cooking. When you are craving barbecue, no substitute will do. While Atlanta doesn't have its own distinct kind of barbecue, we specialize in many different kinds such as the Kansas City rub or the vinegar based North Carolina sauce. Everyone has a favorite kind.
It’s difficult to resist scrumptious barbecue, so dieters beware. Pulled pork, baby back ribs, beef or chicken can have you licking your fingers and lips when it is tender, juicy, and prepared just right. If you enjoy the simple pleasures of good barbecue while dining in or want to feed a large crew, we've got you covered with spots like Williamson Brothers or Zeiglers. If you want some entertainment with your meal in the form of music, head to Daddy Dz or Fatt Matt's Rib Shack.
So, whether you are craving a large rack of ribs, or chicken smothered with sauce, you’ll find a barbecue restaurant in Atlanta that you love. Most of the barbecue restaurants in Atlanta are casual, so no need to get dressed up. Add a cold drink to your barbecue platter. Don’t forget the coleslaw, baked beans, fries, macaroni and cheese or other sides.
10 Slope's BBQ
You may have to hop in the car to get to this Sandy Springs smoke house, whose specialty is hand-pulled pork that's been hit with just the right amount of homemade sauce. Sandwiches and "large portions" are available for those on the go, but those planning to dine in should definitely go for a plate of chopped chicken, ribs, or pulled pork accompanied by two sides. Non BBQ items like the chili dogs and and homemade smoked sausage sliders can also be found on the menu. If there's any room left, go ahead and take a stab at their delicious cobbler or banana pudding. (404-252-3220)
9 Williamson Brothers Barbecue
You can't mistake the scent of barbeque cooking on a wood burning pit. You'll see stacks of wood outside of Williamson as you drive up. They have a large restaurant for serving up all the barbecue ribs, chicken, and beef the prepare. Have your barbeque slathered with Williamson Bros. own special sauce. It can be used chicken, pork, beef, or any other meat that could use thick tasty sauce. Spices that add flavor or spice are also available. If you have to serve a large group, they do an excellent job with catering. If you aren't in the Atlanta area, you can have vacuum packed Williamson barbeque shipped to you. (770-971-3201)
8 Zeigler's BBQ
Zeigler's BBQ and Catering company is one of the lesser known barbecue restaurants in Atlanta, but they do quite a good catering business for both corporate and private events. That's mostly how most people find about them.
Zeigler's has won various awards over the past few years. In 2007 the team was awarded a State of Georgia Reserve Grand Championship. The simple pulled pork is some of the best in the city and is definitely the way to go here.
They also have terrific sides. Whether you love potato salad, macaroni and cheese, cole slaw or beans, they are all wonderful sides to compliment your meat of choice. ((770) 529-5227)
7 Big Shanty Barbeque
True to its namesake, the restaurant is indeed located in a humble shanty. Big Shanty Barbecue is a family-owned business that has been voted Best in Atlanta in 2009. For a taste of the best the restaurant has to offer, order Steve's Sampler. This comes with ribs, brisket, sausage and pork. Notable sides are the potato salad and beans, which spend time in the smoker, taking on the smokey flavor. It takes time to for the meat to reach the savory succulence that Big Shanty Barbeque is known for. The meat is smoked for 13 hours, and the barbecue sauce is homemade. They cater for lots of offices around the Kennesaw area. (770-499-7444)
6 D.B.A. Barbecue
This bar/restaurant sells barbecue, burgers, and moonshine. D.B.A. Barbecue stands for "Doing Business As", although owner/ manager Matt Coggin originally wanted to name the restaurant "Kermit" after a legendary Blues singer. Walking around D.B.A. Barbecue, you'll notice some of the decor lends itself to the New Orleans Jazz theme. Even the music (courtesy of Matt's iPod), on certain days, may be playing jazz.
Spicy boiled peanuts, fried pickles, and fried green tomatoes are some of the other Southern starters you can find at DBA. But the bacon-wrapped shrimp is a must order. Best option is the sampler platter ($40) which comes your choice of 4 sides and a large portion of all meats: beef brisket, smoked turkey, pulled chicken, pulled pork, wings, spare ribs and baby back ribs. You better have at least 4 people in your group if you order this baby. (4042495000)
5 Community Q BBQ
Decatur's Community Q has customers lined up for their pulled pork, meaty ribs and mac 'n cheese. Fans love the pork with its smokey flavor. They love the juicy brisket as well. Ribs and juicy and well and they don't skimp on the meat. They are so juicy in fact, they almost don't need either of the two sauces found on the table: sweet and vinegar based.
Note that there is no table service here. Diners must place their order at the counter. Food is then brought to their table shortly after. It is almost important to note that the restaurant closes quite early on weekdays: 8:30 pm and 9:30 on the weekends. ((404) 633-2080)
4 Daddy D'z
Daddy Dz has been featured and rated as a top barbecue joint by several publications. For an appetizer, try the barbecue wraps, meat wrapped in crispy dough. Fried mushrooms, wings, chicken tenders, and shrimp comprise of some of the other appetizer choices. Order ribs by the slabs, barbeque plates with sides, or desserts. Cheesecake, cobbler, or cakes are available. For a taste of the South, try the shrimp and grits. And if you are attempting to eat healthy, get the peach glazed salmon. Daddy Dz delivers to Grant Park, Cabbage Town and East Atlanta, but there's a $20 minimum for deliveries. (404-222-0206)
3 Fat Matt's Rib Shack
Just chill to live blues and munch on barbecue. Fat Matt's Rib Shack has rib sandwiches, chicken and pork. Pulled pork, chicken, ribs on the bone, or a combination of chicken and pork, for those of you who like both. The rum baked beans puts a different spin on the usual banked beans. You can also try Brunswick Stew, a Georgia specialty. True to Georgia tradition, peanuts are on the menu. Oh, and there's pie -- sweet potato and pecan. The food is so good, that it can get a bit crowded in Fat Matt's but it's worth the wait. (404-607-1622)
2 Heirloom Market
Heirloom Market packs them in during lunchtime. What this restaurant located next to a convenience store lacks in looks, it makes up for ten fold in taste. Their unique Korean barbecue brisket and pork sandwiches are well worth the drive, though barbecue purists will find pulled pork and ribs on the menu as well. Sides of collards, brunswick stew and the korean spiced sweet potatoes are great too.
Even though the line is long, they get orders out quickly.
Heirloom Market only has one actual table for seating, right in the middle of restaurant. The remaining seating consists of about 10 -12 bar stools that you pull up against the wall, so don't visit with a large group. (770-612-2502)
1 Fox Bros BBQ
For traditional Texas-style barbecue, Fox Bros. just may be your go-to spot. The restaurant was started because parties that founders had every year in their home which became so popular, they decided to start a restaurant.
Of course pulled pork and brisket are crowd pleasers. Regulars will also tell you to order the burnt ends: the ends of the brisket smoked for an extra amount of time.
This is truly a place for fried foods with fried pickles and fried ribs being top choices. Wing lovers will enjoy the smoked wings too. If you are feeling adventurous try the Frito Pie. ((404) 577-4030)
About Malika Harricharan
Malika is the Author of Food Lovers' Guide to Atlanta. With a background in marketing, Maika's passion is Writing and Social Media Marketing and she works for various clients in Atlanta.
Malika also seeks Atlanta's hidden gems, writing about them on her Atlanta Restaurant Blog. She believes that an exceptional meal can be found at a hole-in-the-wall joint, as well as in a swanky building.
Exotic travel is also important to our Atlanta expert, who wants to see the whole world. “There are so many great experiences and so much we can all learn from different cultures,” she says.
Read more about Malika Harricharan here.
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