Here in the South barbecue is a major building block of our Southern Food Pyramid. This slow-cooking tradition comes with a variety of different techniques, choice of fuelwood, dry rubs, basting and the oh so special sauce of choice.
With the warmer weather of Spring arriving, barbecuing makes for a fun and COVID friendly outdoor eating experience. So, David wanted to highlight some of our community’s prized BBQ establishments in hoping to provide you, our readers with a new favorite spot, while also helping these restaurants regain some of the business they may have lost over the past 12 months
FAVORITE SOUTHERN STYLE RIBS BIG D’s BBQ / Hwy 53
Big D’s proudly serves their barbecue with Big flavor. President Darin Muenchow opened their first restaurant in Alpharetta in 2007 before moving to the outlet mall in Dawsonville a couple of years later, and serving homemade country breakfast, lunch, and dinner 7 days a week.
They have a large barbecue menu with all the trimmins’. David found their hickory smoked ribs to be a winner- tender, flavorful, smokey, with a nice char crust, and no need for barbecue sauce. Surprisingly, their BBQ sauce does something special to their creamy mac & cheese. Another great choice is the “Brownie Sandwich” with burnt ends, served on garlic Texas toast and their house-made spicy ranch.
BEST BBQ FOOD-TRUCK MUTT & JEFF’S SMOKEHOUSE
Nothing sounds better than BBQ on wheels, and Mutt & Jeff ’s Smokehouse proudly provides. Run by Jeff & Angie Cantrell, this food truck packs a lot of flavor into each plate that they serve. David ordered the Loaded Nachos and the Pig Melt. The Loaded Nachos certainly did not skimp on the portion size, and he was pleasantly surprised with how well the barbecue flavors paired with the jalapenos and sour cream. The Pig Melt was just as enticing.
Their barbecue was tender and flavorful, and made for the perfect sandwich. Do not let the small menu fool you, their barbecue plates are sure to excite your taste buds. Mutt & Jeff ’s smokehouse was recently voted Best of Dawson for their BBQ and Sweet Tea, and it is clearly well deserved. This restaurant on wheels creates a casual and carefree atmosphere which is perfect to chill out and enjoy their tasty selections. They post where they will be each week on Facebook and are available to book for catering services.
FAVORITE HOME-STYLE BBQ THE HICKORY PIG BBQ Hwy 60 & Mt Vernon Rd
The Hickory Pig is definitely a hole in the wall, but do not let looks be deceiving. The owner Phil has been smokin’ and pullin’ BBQ at this location since 1991 and continues to please customers today. When you walk in, it does not feel like a normal restaurant. It feels like you are walking into your family’s home as they are preparing to serve dinner. When David walked in, he was approached by Phil as if they were life-long friends, and made David feel right at home. Phil likes to tell stories and reminisce on the good ole days, while feeding you delicious food at the same time.
David was served a pulled pork sandwich with collard greens and Brunswick stew, which all tasted great. The pork is smoked with hickory wood and was extremely tender and was complimented well by the barbecue sauce. The locals rave about the collard greens, so David made sure to get a portion- he agreed they were delightfully tasty. The Hickory Pig has received many awards and has been featured in Atlanta Magazine and Southern living. You might have to call first to make sure the oven is up and running- but if it is, you will not be disappointed
FAVORITE BBQ SAUCE AND RIBS SHERRY’S BAIT & BBQ Dawsonville Hwy/ Hwy 53
Conveniently located right off Lake Lanier, Sherry’s Bait & BBQ is the perfect stop for a meal before and after a day on the lake. This location is very quaint and inviting and did not disappoint in the realm of BBQ. Their BBQ sauce stood out against others with the sweet and spicy mix of their homemade blend. David said It paired perfectly with the tender and moist ribs, which is hickory smoked using the “low and slow method.”
David also enjoyed the brisket and pulled pork with the homemade BBQ sauce as well. Sherry’s Bait & BBQ begins their barbecue with high quality meats, and this was evident in all three dishes. Recommended by a fellow customer, David ordered Mac & Cheese and cream corn to accompany his meal and thought it paired nicely. The side items were very enjoyable, especially with the rest of his meal.
Sherry’s Bait & BBQ puts a lot of care into their dishes as everything is homemade, including all the sides and desserts. This location is known for having many vegetarian and gluten free side options, and do not have any fried options, which is perfect for those with dietary restrictions. They offer fresh dine-in and take-out, as well as food truck and catering services
BEST OVER-ALL BBQ EXPERIENCE THE INKED PIG Main Street SW & Industrial
The new pig in town has wowed us with their new age twist to the classic southern BBQ. Andrew Elliott and Jimmy Ellis are co-owners of The Inked Pig that opened up just two years ago in midtown Gainesville.
They share their decades of experience crafting some of our favorite barbecue picks. The hip atmosphere, along with a super friendly staff certainly enhanced David’s visit. Joy, the hostess greeted us and guided us through some of the favorites, and David got excited with the Triple Threat sandwich, classic pulled pork piled on with house smoked bacon, plenty of their bacon jam and house slaw and pickles – delicious! T
he Barbacoa Brisket is another town favorite, with grilled onions and chimichurri sauce – something different that Jimmy blended for that refreshing Argentine flavor. For a meal we found that a plate of the picture perfect, well-seasoned St. Louis Cut Ribs, some of their super moist and tender Sweet Tea Smoked Chicken, accompanied with a cup of their porridge-like smoked chicken mull and side of creamy mac and cheese. Their house-made sauces certainly enrich the
FAVORITE BABY-BACK BBQ RIBS TAM’S TUPELO Buford Rd/Hwy 20
Described as “Cajun meets Memphis,” Tam’s Tupelo took us by surprise with their tasty barbecue varieties.
While Cajun is not typically paired with barbecue, this fusion offers unique flavors that has deemed Tam’s Tupelo a barbecue location to follow. For lunch, David and fellow foodie, Caroline Howell, enjoyed the Pulled Pork Shoulder, Pulled Chicken, and Baby Back Ribs. The pulled pork and chicken were tender and flavorful and paired well with the bacon topped mac n’ cheese, and glazed brussels sprouts. The Baby Back Ribs were picture perfect and stood out with their unique flavor and fall off the bone tenderness. Crafted by chef Michael Hadzmihalis, these ribs are prepared with a Cajun rub, and finished on an open flame, which mixes perfectly with the sweet and tangy barbecue sauce. Tam’s Tupelo offers both dine-in and curbside take-away, perfect for your pandemic needs. They pride themselves on southern cuisine and hospitality by offering wonderful Cajun flavors in a relaxed environment.
WORTH THE DRIVE
ATLANTA-STYLE FAVORITE BARBEQUE FOX BROS. BAR-B-Q Little Five Points-Atlanta
This spot is the official BBQ of the Atlanta Falcons, so bring your appetite and this BBQ shack will deliver some true Atlanta-style comfort food.
David, said go all in and start off with the Chicken Fried Ribs which are rolled in flour, hot sauce and then flash fried and served with their white BBQ sauce – delicious! Order the Everything Plate, pulled pork, beef brisket, ¼ chicken and smoked ribs and you’ll definitely find lots of tasty enjoyment. Let’s not forget the dozen plus sides. Another treat for the big boys is their Beef Short Rib, which is 1.5lbs of succulent beef on a 9” short rib that is slow cooked, and even tastier than grandma’s pot roast –certainly a sight to see!!
FAVORITE SOUTHERN & ASIAN TWIST BBQ SWEET AUBURN BBQ Poncey Highlands/Atlanta
Our last stop brings barbecue to a whole new level, combining the traditional barbecue style with an innovative Asian twist.
UGA grad and owners Howard and Anita Hsu have created an excellent menu, inviting environment, and exceptional food and hospitality. Our server, Hannah, helped build a perfect meal for our table to share. We started with the Barbecue Nachos, fully loaded with pulled pork, charred corn pico, shredded cheddar, queso fresco and scallions, which was a pleasant treat. The House Smoked Beef Brisket was some of the best we’ve had, and the Curb Market Spare Ribs put the babies to rest! Take a drive, you will be glad you did!
The Monthly Food Adventure continues with BURGERS:
Summer is just around the corner, so it is time to start the grill and prepare some juicy burgers!
We will be looking for the best burgers in Forsyth, Gainesville, and Dawson. Let us know some of your favorite burger joints in these areas, or worth the drive locations