Plenty of barbecue spots have opened around metro Atlanta over the past few years, highlighting different styles and regional riffs. In that time, some have morphed, moved, or even suffered disaster. Here are four worth finding.
4 Rivers Smokehouse
John Rivers, founder of the popular Florida-based 4 Rivers Smokehouse chain, likes to joke that Texas is where he found the two loves of his life: his wife and brisket. The first 4 Rivers outpost opened in Georgia in an old brick firehouse building on Marietta Street on Atlanta’s westside. Although it was slow to catch on at first, it’s since gained a loyal following.
In addition to the Texas-style brisket that Rivers says took him 18 years to perfect, the sprawling menu of smoked meats includes pork, chicken, turkey, burnt ends, pork and beef ribs, tri-tip, sausage and wings. You’ll also find a large selection of Southern-style sides, plus a surprising number of vegetarian options with seasonal vegetables, thanks to Rivers’ wife.
822 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta. 844-474-8377, 4rsmokehouse.com/locations/atlanta.
Another Texas-influenced westside spot, DAS BBQ made its mark with Franklin Barbecue-style brisket that makes aficionados swoon. At its best, DAS certainly can serve up great smoked beef.
Beyond that, the once simple four-meat menu with pulled pork, pork ribs and Meyer’s Smokehouse sausage has been expanded. Nowadays, it includes sliced turkey, a half-chicken, chicken wings and a bigger selection of sides, including brisket bark pinto beans, Brunswick stew, mac and cheese, elote cream corn, and standbys such as collard greens, vinegar-style coleslaw and potato salad.
1203 Collier Road, Atlanta. 404-850-7373, dasbbq.com.
The brainchild of longtime Atlanta chefs Shaun Doty and Lance Gummere, King Barbecue replaced the Avalon location of Bantam + Biddy, the business partners’ casual Southern chicken restaurant. And, with pitmaster Carey Wise, another longtime Atlanta chef and veteran of kitchens at Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q and Grand Champion BBQ, the eclectic menu included Texas-influenced brisket, North Carolina-influenced pulled pork, and baby back ribs.
Fast-forward to the present: Wise is out, King Barbecue is closed at Avalon, and it has reopened at Savi Market in Buckhead. The slimmed-down menu still includes brisket, pork and ribs, plus chicken and sausage. Most are available as a sandwich or plate, with sides such as baked beans, spicy collard greens, loaded potato salad and red pozole with chopped barbecue.
308 Pharr Road, Atlanta. 404-228-6591, kingbarbecueatl.com.
B’s Cracklin’ Barbecue
B’s Cracklin’, located in the Riverside neighborhood, can lay claim to making one of the biggest impressions on the Atlanta scene of any barbecue restaurant in recent times. The fact that a fire shuttered the operation earlier this year doesn’t diminish that. And, with a fundraising campaign underway, owner and pitmaster Bryan Furman has vowed to reopen soon.
In the meantime, we can celebrate what makes Furman’s personal style so crave-worthy. We’re talking whole-hog pork, ribs, chicken and brisket, and signature sides, including hoe cakes, collard greens, baked macaroni and cheese and South Carolina-style hash and rice. And, of course, his crazy-good peach mustard sauce.
Watch for Furman’s pop-ups in the coming months.
2061 Main St. N.W., Atlanta. 678-949-9912, bscracklinbbq.com.