What's more Southern than barbecue? And what the city of Atlanta lacks in a distinct style of smoked meat like its counterparts in Texas and Kansas City, it makes up for with variety. So whether you're partial to Carolina style or Asian influenced; craving smoked wings or a plate stacked high with ribs; are grabbing a plate on the go or want a full sit-down experience, Atlanta has you covered. Here is our list of the 10 best barbecue restaurants in the city.
Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q
This Candler Park spot from Texas natives, self-taught pit masters and twin brothers Jonathan and Justin Fox has a loyal local following — and a celebrity fan in "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” host Guy Fieri. Come for the beef brisket and stay for the bestselling Frito Pie, served with brisket chili, red onions and cheese.
Sweet Auburn BBQ
Expect traditional barbecue with an Asian twist at this Poncey-Highland spot run by brother-sister duo Howard and Anita Hsu, who got their start dishing smoked meats and homemade sides from a mobile trailer. Notable dishes include the sweet and sour "Wu-Tang" wings and the crispy pimento cheese wontons, served with sweet Thai chili sauce.
While the flagship Riverside location is shut down temporarily due to a recent fire, you can still feast on James Beard chef semi-finalist's Bryan Furman's South Carolina-style, whole hog 'cue at breweries around Atlanta during pop-up events. Check out their Facebook for dates. Don't miss the signature hash and rice dish—chopped hog's head meat served over rice.
Heirloom Market BBQ
The love child of husband and wife team Cody Taylor and Jiyeon Lee, the restaurant blends the flavors of their roots — Texas and Tennessee for him, Korea for her. Located just off I-285 in the northwest corner of the city, Heirloom offers a lone communal table for diners who stand in long lines for the restaurant's unique blend of barbecue—think Texas smoked ribs marinated in gochujang (a Korean sweet, fermented chili paste). Pro tip: order online so you can skip the line and pick up your order via the restaurant's side door.
Get New Orleans barbecue with a twist at this Brookhaven spot owned by South Louisiana native and owner/pitmaster Scott Serpas (also owner of Serpas True Food in Old Fourth Ward). The meats — including favorites like smoked St.Louis pork ribs — are smoked daily, so get there early before they run out!
Community Q BBQ
Get plates, sandwiches and meats like pulled chicken and St. Louis-style ribs by the half pound and pound at this no frills spot located in a small shopping center near Emory University in Decatur. Don't skip the sides — the three cheese macaroni and cheese and collard greens are standouts.
This Westside smokehouse on Collier Road specializes in Texas-style barbecue like tender beef brisket, smoked over hickory and pecan chips. Non-carnivores will appreciate the meat-free sides like collard greens, elote and vinegar-style coleslaw.
Have a long layover at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport? Stop by this Hapeville spot, about 2.5 miles from the airport, for slow smoked ribs, chopped chicken sandwiches and one of Atlanta's essential foods: chicken wings. Get the lemon pepper wet, and save room for the housemade peach cobbler.
Located in the heart of Virgina-Highland, this is the ultimate neighborhood bar that just so happens to serve amazing barbecue. See why Atlanta is a top destination for beer snobs and try one of 18 beers on tap while you feast on pulled pork, certified Angus beef brisket or the restaurant's specialty: slice house-cured pastrami.
The Greater Good BBQ
With locations in Buckhead, East Lake, Tucker and West Midtown, you're never far from the Greater Good's brand of 'cue. In addition to smoked meats (we're partial to the baby back ribs), the restaurant has an extensive menu that includes tacos, sandwiches and even a signature burger, guaranteed to keep everyone in your party happy and full.