Atlanta’s barbecue scene is a testament to the art of slow-smoked perfection, and the city’s premier BBQ restaurants are the undisputed champions of flavor and tenderness. These hallowed halls of hickory and oak deliver a symphony of smoky goodness that’s bound to satisfy even the most discerning of taste buds. From succulent pulled pork to melt-in-your-mouth ribs and savory brisket, Atlanta’s BBQ joints take their craft seriously. What makes them truly exceptional is the mastery of time and technique that goes into each mouthwatering dish. Whether you prefer your barbecue sauce sweet, tangy, or with a fiery kick, these establishments offer a diverse range of regional styles and flavors. Join us as we embark on a lip-smacking journey through Atlanta’s top barbecue destinations, where every bite is a celebration of Southern culinary tradition and a testament to the power of slow-cooked goodness.
Featured in Thrillist as one of the Best BBQ joints in Atlanta, Heirloom Market BBQ is a unique marriage of barbecuing traditions, from the Deep South to South Korea. Located in the northern suburb of Cobb County, Heirloom Market is a small country kitchen in a small wood-cabin-like dining room. Heirloom Market’s owners and head chefs Cody Taylor and Jiyeon Lee combine their collective heritages from Texas, Tennessee, and South Korea with their years of experience in the culinary industry to create the most innovative fusion of Korean and Southern barbecue. Their specialties are the 12-hour slow-cooked brisket and the Spicy Korean pulled pork, both of which are divine. I was even more impressed by the side dishes, including the kimchi slaw, Korean sweet potato chips, and tempura-battered onion rings with kimchi mayo.
DBA Barbecue is a bar, restaurant, and friendly neighborhood hangout in Virginia Highland, with a huge outdoor patio and a giant wood-floor interior. They use the finest cuts of meat and honor various Southern barbecuing traditions. They use a hickory smoker for all their smoked meats, and they create playful barbecue dishes that incorporate comfort food dishes from around the nation. They also offer over 20 beers on tap with a rotating menu of local and domestic favorites. You can get ribs, barbecue chicken, pork, and more, but the real showstopper at DBA is a different smoked meat altogether: pastrami. I’ve never had more delectable pastrami in my life, and with good reason. They smoke and house-cure their pastrami for two weeks. I can die happy after savoring their smoked pastrami Reuben.
An iconic Piedmont Park staple, Fat Matt’s Rib Shack is a fun, lively spot for the best ribs in town accompanied by nightly live blues music. The black and white checkered floor dining space has red walls and a giant mural of Atlanta’s most famous blues artists. They make and bottle their famous rib sauce so you can take a piece of Matt’s award-winning cooking home. They specialize in pork ribs, with platters and off-the-slab sandwiches to choose from. They also have a variety of domestic, premium, and craft beer in pints and pitchers. I recommend the half slab platter with macaroni and cheese and rum-baked beans. Save room for their world-famous sweet potato pie!
Fox Bros Bar-B-Q is a beloved Texas-style barbecue restaurant in Little Five Points from Texan natives and brothers Jonathan and Justin Fox. After they moved from Texas to Atlanta, they began a catering business to sell their delicious barbecue at parties and private events. They started selling the barbecue at a pop-up stand, winning the hearts and stomachs of Atlanta’s barbecue lovers. They opened the brick-and-mortar restaurant in 2007, and it’s been a favorite ever since. They serve certified Angus beef brisket in true Texas fashion, whether it be in a bowl of chili, over French fries, or as a luscious sandwich on Texas toast. I recommend their jalapeno cheddar sausage with tater tots and brisket chili.
Located in a cute and homey country-style dining room in Decatur, Community Q BBQ is a family-owned and family-oriented barbecue joint, serving fresh meat right out of the smoker daily. They offer meat until it runs out, and any leftovers are used to make meat-filled sides or donated to the community’s food bank. Their menu has all the smoked meats, from pork to ribs to chicken served as platters, sandwiches, or family-style combo meals. I recommend their barbecued bone-in chicken with a side of sweet potato with braised kale and black-eyed peas with rosemary and bacon. The sides are all unique and delicious.
Daddy D’z combines the best of southern comfort traditions: soul food and barbecue. Located right outside of Downtown Atlanta, Daddy D’z has the quirkiest, kitschiest décor, creating a fun and colorful barbecue wonderland. The atmosphere is as iconic as the menu, which combines soul food dishes with traditional barbecued meats. They also have some decadent creations of their own like the Daddy D’z famous Que Wraps, dough stuffed with BBQ pork and fried to a golden crisp. I loved their red beans and rice with sausage as an authentic soul food entrée. Another great barbecue dish is their smoked turkey, which I enjoy with candied yams and broccoli casserole.
Sitting between Cross Creek and Underwood Hills, DAS BBQ is a modern take on a classic neighborhood BBQ stand. The cute industrial-chic meets country BBQ-stand interior features a wooden order-up counter, chalkboard menu, and exposed brick walls with an adjoining covered outdoor patio strewn with white tealights. They have a simple yet thorough menu of smoked meats and sides in three different sizes for solo diners up to large parties. I loved their modern fusion takes on sides like the toasted sesame coleslaw, cheesy jalapeno corn, and apple cider-braised collard greens. I had their chopped chicken breast, which was juicy and delicious!
From the Atlanta famous Hsu family restaurant group, Sweet Auburn BBQ is the latest award-winning concept restaurant in Poncey-Highlands. Sweet Auburn is a classy and modern space serving smoked meats with a Korean twist. The family owners are three siblings who bring creativity and innovation to Atlanta’s restaurant scene. Sweet Auburn’s incredible Asian fusion barbecue has been featured in Best of Atlanta and has won multiple barbecue festival championships. They use their smoked wings in traditional Asian dishes like brisket egg rolls and Gochujan sesame spare rib rice bowls. My favorite dish was the taco plate featuring pulled pork and pear slaw, brisket and corn relish, and bulgogi steak and kimchi slaw tacos.
Owned and operated by three of the five Thompson brothers who relocated from Tulsa Oklahoma to fulfill their late father’s dream of opening a BBQ restaurant, Thompson Brothers BBQ is a true success story. Located in Smyrna, the casual, bright, and airy dining space is adorned with country kitsch and a huge family photo above the cash register. The brothers’ dream became a successful reality because of hard work and, more importantly, incredible barbecue. They even make bologna and smoked salmon. The simple menu offers each meat as a plate, sandwich, platter, or by the pound. I recommend the salmon, which you can only get on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Wood’s Chapel BBQ is a modern barbecue joint in Summerhill that honors the history of barbecue along with the history of the Summerhill neighborhood. Owning partners Todd Ginsberg, Shelley Sweet, and Jennifer and Ben Johnson are also owners of five other successful restaurants in Atlanta. They use wood-fired smokers to deliver the most sumptuous varieties of brisket, ribs, pork, salmon, chicken, and house-made sausage. The gorgeous dining space and gourmet display of the art of barbecue have won Wood’s Chapel BBQ praise from AJC, Atlanta Magazine, and Eater to name a few. I have never had a better take on a hot dog than Wood’s Chapel’s jalapeno and Oaxaca cheese smoked sausage dog with pickled red onions.
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We compiled all the findings in one location and sorted them by the frequency of mentions to ensure you receive top-notch recommendations. We strive to present you with a curated list of establishments that truly stand out, allowing you to enjoy the best dining experiences possible.
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