But according to one regional magazine, there are five spots in the state that stand apart from the pack.
Southern Living named five Georgia restaurants to its list of Top 50 Barbecue Joints 2019: Fresh Air Barbecue (No. 6) in Jackson; Old Brick Pit Barbecue (No. 50), Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q (No. 45) and B's Cracklin' Barbecue (No. 31), all located in Atlanta; and Southern Soul Barbecue on St. Simons Island (No. 21).
This editor-curated list is not to be confused with the reader-chosen Best in the South list, which was released in April.
The magazine laid out the criteria for its selections, noting that “the overall dining experience is important: the physical setting, the aroma from the pits, the sauces and dishes served alongside.”
Ultimately, however, “it all comes down to the quality of the ‘cue. Be it slow-smoked brisket or charcoal-grilled ribs or even house-cured pastrami, nothing else matters if the barbecue isn’t delicious.”
For its Georgia selections, Southern Living noted Fresh Air’s “chopped pork dressed in a thin, spicy red sauce”;
Old Brick Pit’s “chopped pork, ribs, and chicken cooked in a hickory-fired brick pit and dressed with a peppery tomato-and-vinegar sauce”; Fox Bros.’ “ribs and other tempting options, including the hickory-smoked chicken wings,”; B’s Cracklin’s “ribs, which have a splendidly rich, smoky flavor that lingers after each bite,”; and Southern Soul’s “big platters of brisket, chicken, and sweet honey-basted ribs.”
Southern Soul has been the top pick on Southern Living’s reader poll for the past three years.
B’s Cracklin’ BBQ has had a roller coaster of a year -- its Riverside location was forced to close in March after a devastating fire, and owner and pitmaster Bryan Furman has been hosting pop-ups around metro Atlanta until he can find a permanent location.
Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ, which has locations in Charleston and Birmingham and was named No. 28 on the list, is slated to open its first Georgia location next year.