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 (which may be how you found out about them if you've already tried it). Zeigler's has won various awards over the past few years, including a State of Georgia Reserve Grand Championship in 2007. 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 baked beans, they are all wonderful sides to complement your meat of choice.
Recommended for Barbecue because: The smoky goodness of these slow-cooked meats are worth the drive to Acworth.
Kelly's expert tip: They do a great job with catering gigs.
True to its namesake, Kennesaw's family-owned barbecue joint is indeed located within a shanty. 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 for the meat to reach the savory succulence that Big Shanty Barbeque is known for. The meat is smoked for 13 hours and retains incredible juiciness and flavor. The restaurant also caters events in the area. If you're planning on feeding a big group, you may want to consider ordering one of the smoked meat selections to go (like the 12-to-13 pound whole smoked turkey).
Recommended for Barbecue because: Bib Shanty is a mom-and-pop resto that regularly tops Atlantans' best-of lists... and for good reason.
Kelly's expert tip: The restaurant closes early on Sunday and is closed on Mondays.
This bar/restaurant fills its menu with no-fuss plates like barbecue and burgers along with moonshine. The eatery is an easy-going place with TVs broadcasting sports games and a pretty bar. 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. The best option for a hungry group is the sampler platter ($40) which comes your choice of four 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 four people with you if you're planning on going for it!
Recommended for Barbecue because: Get solid barbecue in a low-key space in the Highlands.
Kelly's expert tip: Swap your sweet tea for one of the restaurant's craft cocktails.
Yes, the place looks like a dump. But don't be dissuaded by it--the facade is part of its charm. Grab a seat and have your pick of gluttonous BBQ. 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. On the weekends, the place attracts live blues bands. Check it out for a soulful show.
Recommended for Barbecue because: It's been a longstanding favorite for Atlantans. The proof is in the food.
Kelly's expert tip: Daddy Dz delivers to Grant Park, Cabbage Town and East Atlanta, but there's a $20 minimum for deliveries.
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 and the meaty, slow-cooked brisket. The ribs are meaty, juicy and full of flavor and really don't need the help 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. Your food will be brought to you. It is almost important to note that the restaurant closes super early both during the week and on weekends, so enjoy your feasting early.
Recommended for Barbecue because: This beautiful Decatur restaurant offers quality pulled pork and beef brisket.
Kelly's expert tip: Pay attention to the chalkboard advertising daily specials and more unusual, seasonal sides.
Sweet Auburn Barbecue makes a home nestled among the permanent vendors at Sweet Auburn Curb Market in Edgewood and at its newly opened brick-and-mortar location in the Poncey Highlands (656 N. Highland). Meats are slow-cooked over hickory and apple wood and boast a distinct flavor. Go for traditional meat plates and sandwiches with entrees like the Memphis baby back ribs or the Sweet Auburn barbecue plate (which includes options of pulled pork, chicken or brisket with two sides.) For more inventive options order the coconut lemongrass pork spare ribs or the Korean-style short rib sandwich. The restaurant also has a food truck.
Recommended for Barbecue because: After gaining notoriety at Sweet Auburn Curb Market, it's become a welcome addition to the Poncey Highlands.
Kelly's expert tip: In cooler weather, get their award-winning Chomp and Stomp chili.
Heirloom Market packs them in during lunchtime. Don't let the crowd scare you away. There's excellent Korean-style barbecue in store. Despite the lackluster facade, greatness awaits you within. The Korean barbecue brisket and pork sandwiches are the things to get, though the pulled pork and ribs are solid, too. Go-to sides include collards, Brunswick stew and the Korean-spiced sweet potatoes. 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-to-12 bar stools. You'd do best ordering your food to go.
Recommended for Barbecue because: The demand for the Korean-style barbecue at this small Smyrna eatery has only grown with time.
Kelly's expert tip: Seating is sparse at best. Don't come with a big group.
Traditional Texas-style barbecue reins at this Candler Park eatery, located off of Dekalb Avenue. It's hard to miss. It's a huge space that's very visible from the road--as is the crowd. It's always busy and always delicious. Portions are gigantic, so don't worry about leaving hungry. In terms of rankings, it's hard to beat this place. They get the food right, but the vibe and service are spot-on, too. Pulled pork and brisket are crowd-pleasers, as is the mac and cheese, Brunswick stew and St. Louis-style ribs. Additional menu items included smoked chicken and an adventurous "burger" (chopped brisket topped with bacon, tomato, red onion, pickles, melted pimento cheese and jalapeno mayo).
Recommended for Barbecue because: Fox Bros Bar-B-Q is a Texas-style barbecue spot that's family-friendly and consistently delicious. Everything about it is superb.
Kelly's expert tip: There's a good chance that there's going to be a wait. Especially if you come on a weekend. If that scares you, visit on a week night.