Atlanta is a Southern city that’s especially proud of its Southern-ness, with a wide range of memorials and museums that commemorate its key role in the Civil War and Civil Rights movement.
Southern hospitality is another common theme in Atlanta, encompassing a wide range of warm and welcoming traditions for visiting guests.
Nothing says southern hospitality like a heaping plate of Southern food in a homey atmosphere. Atlanta’s BBQ restaurants offer the best examples of the southern comfort culinary experience.
Barbecue has always been a Southern specialty, and the following list of the best BBQ restaurants in Atlanta represents every barbecue style in a variety of friendly atmospheres.
2243 Akers Mill Rd SE, Atlanta, GA 30339
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.
2243 Akers Mill Rd SE, Atlanta, GA 30339
Teetering between Oakhurst and Edgewood, Anna’s BBQ is a family-friendly, casual counter-service barbecue and American comfort food restaurant.
The no-frills dining space features red brick walls with big-screen TVs playing sports and a great outdoor patio with wood picnic tables covered with umbrellas.
Not only does Anna’s serve incredible barbecue, but they also serve over-the-top burgers and hot dogs smothered in homemade chili.
You’re here for the barbecue, so I recommend one of their combo meals to sample various meats and sides.
I loved the ribs and pulled pork with a corn muffin and a side of collard greens and fried okra.
1190 North Highland Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30306
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.
1811 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30324
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!
1238 DeKalb Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
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.
1361 Clairmont Rd, Decatur, GA 30033
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.
264 Memorial Dr SE, Atlanta, GA 30312
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.
1203 Collier Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318
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!
True to its name, Grand Champion BBQ is an award-winning BBQ joint from owners Robert Owns and Gregory Vivier, with locations in Smyrna, Roswell, and Milton.
Grand Champion BBQ has received widespread praise from the Atlanta Journal, Atlanta Magazine, and Zagat for its delicious barbecue and casual, family-friendly atmosphere.
One of their award-winning meats is their super-meaty pork baby back ribs. They also provide sauces from different barbecue traditions.
I favor the North Carolina vinegar-based sauce to dip the baby back ribs in. For an especially decadent side, try their “lasagna”, made with Brunswick stew poured over their utterly creamy mac n’ cheese.
4441 Roswell Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30342
Located in East Chastain Park, in a no-frills painted brick building, The Greater Good BBQ is a family-friendly barbecue joint that opened in 2012.
The owner uses family recipes to create a home-cooked meal in a cozy atmosphere.
The Greater Good BBQ offers unique barbecue dishes that combine southern tradition with comfort foods from around the US.
I highly recommend starting with pimento BBQ potato skins and fried pickles. They also have a variety of comfort food meals, from chopped brisket burgers to fried ribs to pulled pork tacos.
Their fried ribs were out of this world. Nothing tastes better than smoked meat that’s also been fried.
656 North Highland Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30306
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.
2445 Cobb Pkwy SE, Smyrna, GA 30080
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.
85 Georgia Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30312
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.
Atlanta has one of the most eclectic barbecue scenes in the nation. Drawing from barbecue traditions from around the south and abroad, my list of the best BBQ restaurants in Atlanta runs the gamut from traditional to avant-garde.
Whether you want a tried-and-true, no-frills barbecue or innovative barbecue fusion, every option on my list is delicious. And don’t forget to head to these awesome distilleries for a drink after your meal!
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment and we’ll check it out!
- Heirloom Market BBQ
- Anna’s BBQ
- DBA Barbecue
- Fat Matt’s Rib Shack
- Fox Bros Bar-B-Q
- Community Q BBQ
- Daddy D’z
- DAS BBQ
- Grand Champion BBQ
- The Greater Good BBQ
- Sweet Auburn BBQ
- Thompson Brothers Barbeque
- Wood’s Chapel BBQ
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