As a grizzled, cantankerous, and brash food snob, I recognize the two subjects most indisputable to commence a food fight among restaurant nerds are deliberating about the best pizza or barbecue. The prevailing theory is that pizza and barbecue partisans become wed to a style (Texas, Memphis, East and West Carolina, etc. all have distinct methods), creating a built-in chasm even before eminence is mused.
Fear not, in what is assured to be the most inflammatory and bellicose editorial in the history of Scoop OTP — well at least until the pizza expose — here is the infallible guide to the best of OTP barbecue.
10) Moonie’s Texas Style Barbecue
Pitmaster J emanates from Austin, Texas, considered by many to be the barbecue capital of the world — another rabble-rousing declaration. What nobody can call into question is that Flowery Branch is home to outstanding Texas barbecue.
9) Fitzgerald’s Smoked Meats
What’s in a name? A lot as they are truly about the meats: beef brisket, pulled pork, plus Brunswick stew. Staples at both the Lilburn and Johns Creek farmers markets, aficionados can purchase Fitzgerald’s talents by the pound or on a sandwich. Side options are often non-existent, but take home a few pounds and make your own sides.
8) Smokin’ Mo’s
The mobile food trailer is ubiquitous in the Alpharetta/Cumming region. Lines are long and choices are ample on Mo’s diverse menu. For once, even foodies like to hear, “Welcome to Mo’s.”
7) Swallow at the Hallow
Many will proclaim SATH was the first to bring quality barbecue to the suburbs. On the other hand, purists will bemoan the smoke taste is substantially more subtle than their elite brethren.
Long-time restaurateur Bill Greenwood nullifies to noiselessness noshing nattering nabobs of negativism with possibly the best sausage inside or outside 285.
6) ‘Cue Barbecue
From the long-time pitmaster of the aforesaid Swallow at the Hallow, the resemblance is beyond reproach. Why do they get the edge over their barbecue patriarch? These taste buds impart the Brunswick stew formula has been refined and substantially enriched.
They have swerved little from their above doppelganger, but for stew they are always on ‘Cue. It also just may be the best in metro.
5) Meating Street
The one reappearance from our food truck directory, this up-and-coming caterer and event food vendor pledges he will soon open a storefront. As they precipitously cultivate ardent admirers, we look forward to escorting their evolution into fruition.
4) Dave Poe’s
Sam & Dave’s is to Atlanta barbecue what All in the Family was to 70s sitcoms. The two partners had a cordial business parting, each opening up their own restaurant. However, each had a pitmaster and/or GM who also opened up their own restaurants, both inside and outside the perimeter. All stuck very close to the successful blueprint of Sam & Dave’s. Overlook fretting about precisely how the family tree forks, so far they are all top contenders.
At the risk of stating the obvious, Dave Poe’s is the latter partner, maintaining the barbecue greatness just off of Marietta Square.
3) Grand Champion Barbecue
Another whose DNA traces to Sam & Dave’s, gastronomes have understandable apprehension they may be making an apocalyptic decision of expanding too rapidly. A fourth location is scheduled to open in downtown Roswell, their first full-service sit down restaurant.
Accelerated multiple location sprawl has been the death knell for so many prodigious casual restaurants. Here is hoping GCBBQ is immune and remains among the most prestigious barbecue in the environs.
2) Sam’s #1 Barbecue
Fiddlesticks, forget about quarrelling about best barbecue, one could get the sauce flying in anger simply contesting who is the flower of the Sam & Dave’s family garden (which would include ITP contenders such as Community Q).
We are in Sam’s Army, though the deviation among the entire down line is razor thin. The sausage falls well short of Swallow at the Hallow and ‘Cue, but every other meat and side excels. Their baked beans may be unsurpassed in the state.
1) Zeigler’s Barbecue & Catering
Smoked adherents will find no fault at Scoop OTP’s top choice for barbecue. The smoked taste is neither subtle nor (certainly not) overbearing. The environs are much like how devotees leave the ribs and chicken: bare bones. Let the la-di-da rue the dearth of creature comforts. We will just savor the greatness.
As a bonus, they are among the minority who also create praiseworthy chicken.
When not eating, which is rare, the author Joe Duffy is CEO of AJA Enterprises home to premier sports handicapping website OffshoreInsiders.com. The newest addition to the company is DuffyVideo.com, specializing in Bar Mitzvah video montages, company logos for small businesses and more. Joe has also written for Atlanta.Eater.com.
Read Joe’s article for Scoop OTP about the Best Food Trucks OTP too.