We have good news if you are looking for some smokin’ good ol’ bar-b-cue! David Fountain, a local foodie enthusiast and our community’s Best of Forsyth financial planner and investment advisor continues his monthly mission to uncover and support FoCo’s local favorites.
Here in the South barbecue is definitely a major building block of our Southern Food Pyramid. This slow-cooking tradition comes with a variety of different techniques, choice of fuelwood, dry rubs, basting and the oh so special sauce of choice.
With the warmer weather of Spring arriving, barbecuing makes for a fun and COVID friendly outdoor eating experience. So, David wanted to highlight some of our community’s prized BBQ establishments in hoping to provide you, our readers with a new favorite spot, while also helping these restaurants regain some of the business they lost over the past 12 months.
BARBECUE HIGHWAY – right at exit 14 off GA 400 you will find 3 of Forsyth’s Best Barbecue joints all within less than a mile of each other.
BEST OVERALL BBQ EXPERIENCE - 'CUE BBQ (Buford Hwy,)
‘Cue Barbecue (Buford Rd/Hwy 20)
The first stop on “Barbecue Highway” is the best spot where you will find a complete array of delicious BBQ choices! Right when stepping into ‘Cue, you feel the warm relaxing vibe and inviting atmosphere. You are promptly greeted by the accommodating staff, and it is evident that they take much pride in their establishment.
The menu is loaded, and everything is made from scratch. David and fellow foodie Jennifer Asher were enlightened to some of the favorites by their server, Jeff, who was very helpful. They began with the Barbecue Chicken Nachos, loaded with barbecue chicken, shredded cheddar jack cheese, queso, diced tomatoes, homemade corn and black bean salsa, fresh jalapenos, and lined with homemade guacamole and sour cream – a supper yummy appetizer or meal for two. Another favorite appetizer is the flavorful Rib Basket. Their baby back ribs are cut to share and chargrilled on each side for that special char taste as they fall off the bone.
For the meal choices, Jeff pointed to the “Big ol’ plates of stuff” for David. The Rib Combo Platter did the trick for David, with their Kansas City baby back ribs braised until tender and finished on the grill with their traditional sauce and cooked to perfection. David enjoyed the ribs with their homemade grilled pork sausage link and 4 smoked jumbo marinated chicken wings. The Southwestern Barbecue Chicken salad was Jennifer’s delight, with romaine and red lettuces, homemade corn and black bean salsa, fresh-made guacamole, cheddar and jack cheese, Roma tomatoes, jalapeños, topped with juicy pulled chicken and served with chipotle ranch. Jennifer also raved about the creamy macaroni and cheese, fried okra, and grilled sauerkraut.
A few other customer favorites were their Smoked Barbecue Sliders, Brunswick Stew, Smoked Pork sandwich, ‘Cue slaw and, Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole with toasted marshmallows.
FAVORITE BABY_BACK BBQ RIBS - Tam's Tupelo (Buford Hwy.)
Described as “Cajun meets Memphis,” Tam’s Tupelo took us by surprise with their tasty barbecue varieties. While Cajun is not typically paired with barbecue, this fusion offers unique flavors that has deemed Tam’s Tupelo a barbecue location to follow.
For lunch, David and fellow foodie, Caroline Howell, enjoyed the Pulled Pork Shoulder, Pulled Chicken, and Baby Back Ribs. The pulled pork and chicken were tender and flavorful and paired well with the bacon topped mac n’ cheese, and glazed brussels sprouts.
The Baby Back Ribs were picture perfect and stood out with their unique flavor and fall off the bone tenderness. Crafted by chef Michael Hadzmihalis, these ribs are prepared with a Cajun rub, and finished on an open flame, which mixes perfectly with the sweet and tangy barbecue sauce.
Tam’s Tupelo offers both dine-in and curbside take-away, perfect for your pandemic needs. They pride themselves on southern cuisine and hospitality by offering wonderful Cajun flavors in a relaxed environment.
BEST BRISKET & BACON BURNT ENDS - Sock's Love Barbecue (Buford Hwy,)
Right next door to the Cajun BBQ establishment is our pick for best beef brisket.
The Texas-inspired slow roasted meat is tender, moist, smoky flavored and shows off a gorgeous salt-and-pepper bark– picture perfect! This place may be small and only open for 3 hours a day (or sold out), but it is packed with some perfect takeout barbecue meals. Owner Steve Hartsock has been smokin’ and creating rubs and concoctions for over a decade now, turning a hobby into a passion of barbecue love!
If you are looking for a crowd pleaser, order up The Nankipooh-Pu Platter. Pick 5 different meats; Brisket, pulled Pork or Chicken, smoked Sausage or Turkey, along with 5 sides; like “OMG” Mac & Cheese, Fire Roasted Cream Corn, Cowboy Beans, Collard Greens, Country Coleslaw, or the Frito Chili Pie. If you’re anything like David, then you’ll want to make a special trip when Socks’ has their oh so delicious Bacon Burnt Ends – pop these like candy!!
FAVORITE SOUTHERN STYLE RIBS - Big D's BBQ (Downtown Cumming)
This BBQ shack might be off the “barbecue highway” but the North Carolina-based smokin’ fills the air surrounding downtown Cumming. President Darin Muenchow opened their first restaurant in Alpharetta in 2007 before moving to the outlet mall in Dawsonville a couple of years later, and serving homemade country breakfast, lunch, and dinner 7 days a week.
They have a large barbecue menu with all the trimmins’. David found their hickory smoked ribs to be a winner- tender, flavorful, smokey, with a nice char crust, and no need for barbecue sauce. Surprisingly, their BBQ sauce does something special to their creamy mac & cheese. Another great choice is the “Brownie Sandwich” with burnt ends, served on garlic Texas toast and their house-made spicy ranch.
LOCAL FAVORITE HOME-STYLE BBQ - Slope's BBQ (Canton Rd west of downtown Cumming)
The spot for Georgia-inspired southern home-style BBQ, this is the restaurant where locals go. For decades the family-friendly atmosphere of Slopes has been providing folks with a great BBQ experience.
With a good selection of sandwiches, plate combinations and many sides and trimmings to choose from, you are sure to find the BBQ spread perfect for you. The Jumbo Brisket Melt Special, with grilled onions and blend of cheese served on Texas toast, and a bowl of jalapeno cheese grits was David’s savory lunch.
WORTH THE DRIVE
Since smokin’ and grillin’ barbecue is an art and creation, we hit the road and found a couple of spots that delivered an experience that is well worth the drivin’ and tastin’!
ATLANTA STYLE FAVORITE BARBECUE - Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q (Little Five Points - Atlanta)
This spot is the official BBQ of the Atlanta Falcons, so bring your appetite and this BBQ shack will deliver some true Atlanta-style comfort food.
David, said go all in and start off with the Chicken Fried Ribs which are rolled in flour, hot sauce and then flash fried and served with their white BBQ sauce – delicious! Order The Everything Plate, pulled pork, beef brisket, ¼ chicken and smoked ribs and you’ll definitely find lots of tasty enjoyment. Let’s not forget the dozen plus sides. Another treat for the big boys is their Beef Short Rib, which is 1.5lbs of succulent beef on a 9” short rib that is slow cooked, and even tastier than grandma’s pot roast –certainly a sight to see!!
FAVORITE SOUTHERN & ASIAN TWIST BBQ Sweet Auburn BBQ (Poncey-Highlands Atlanta
Our last stop brings barbecue to a whole new level, combining the traditional barbecue style with an innovative Asian twist.
UGA grad and owners Howard and Anita Hsu have created an excellent menu, inviting environment, and exceptional food and hospitality. Our server, Hannah, helped build a perfect meal for our table to share. We started with the Barbecue Nachos, fully loaded with pulled pork, charred corn pico, shredded cheddar, queso fresco and scallions, which was a pleasant treat. The House Smoked Beef Brisket was some of the best we’ve had, and the Curb Market Spare Ribs put the babies to rest! Take a drive, you will be glad you did!
ACROSS THE POND
On the other side of Lake Lanier in Hall County you can find our favorites, like The Inked Pig. Check out GainesvilleTimes.com for the complete article of this week’s write-up.
NEXT UP: The montly food adventure continues with SUSHI!
We can’t wait to hear from you on where to find the best Sashimi, favorite Maki and Nigiri creations!