Fireworks, cold beer and finger-lickin’ barbecue—all the things that we love about July. If you’re wondering where you can chow down on some barbecue when the mood strikes this summer, consider checking out these OTP eateries known for their smoked meats, mac n’ cheese and all those other fixin’s.
Situated in a 180-year-old building in downtown Alpharetta, Smokejack BBQ serves up Southern-style eats in a welcoming space lined with brick walls and open rafters. Start your meal off with fried pickles or homemade pimento cheese, then order up one of their many sandwiches (the Smoky Pilgrim is a comforting mix of smoked turkey breast, cranberry jam, bacon and melty fontina) or one of the meats from the smoker—spanning everything from Bama-style chicken to pulled pork to baby back ribs to burnt ends and more. A host of different sauces are available to spice things up, including a tangy Carolina sauce and a KC sauce with Asian flare, among others.
29 S. Main St., Alpharetta, 770-410-7611, smokejackbbq.com.
Grand Champion BBQ
With three OTP locations (East Cobb, downtown Crabapple in Milton and historic Roswell), plus one in-town, Grand Champion BBQ has garnered a devoted fan base over the years. Diners favor their beef brisket and baby back ribs (but the pulled pork is trusty, too), served along traditional Southern sides like mac n’ cheese (another crowd pleaser here), collard greens and baked beans, in addition to a “southern lasagna” (think mac n’ cheese topped with Brunswick stew). Go for the sweet and smoky original sauce for a solid choice.
Various locations, gcbbq.com.
A simple space is home to Dave Poe’s in Marietta, but that doesn’t stop hordes of BBQ fans from stopping by this pit-style joint. Slow-smoked beef brisket and pork (16 hours to be exact) are the name of the game, as well as uber-tender ribs, smoked chicken and a host of traditional sides. Like any standout barbecue spot, the mac n’ cheese is on point (they too serve “redneck lasagna”—mac n’ cheese topped with Brunswick stew). No frills, just straightforward good ‘cue.
660 Whitlock Ave., Marietta, 770-792-2272, davepoes.com.
In an unassuming strip mall on 92 in Woodstock lies Bub-Ba Q (the original location is still in Jasper too), which lures diners with smoked barbecue classics for take-out or dine-in. Be sure to try some of their starters, which include crave-worthy creations like Bubba Peños (smoked bacon wrapped stuffed jalapeños) and a BBQ quesadilla. Sandwiches and combo plates feature generous portions, or you can keep it simple with a rack of baby back ribs with green beans and collard greens on the side. The extensive menu also boasts burgers and hot dogs, in addition to more creative options like pulled pork tacos and Pig-N-Chips (think nachos with pork).
10020 Hwy. 92 #100, Woodstock, 678-402-1662, bub-ba-q.com
1976 State Route 53 W, Jasper, 706-692-7929, bub-ba-q.com
Using hickory wood in a firebox to smoke their meats, J.D.’s Bar-B-Que (in Acworth and Woodstock) draws you inside with the enticing aromas wafting outside. Kick things off with the usual suspects of fried pickles and fried green tomatoes or opt for the chili cheese fries or onion rings for a hearty pig-out. Go with a Smokehouse Plate (the smoked chicken is a favorite) and two sides (like the fried corn or cole slaw), or a chopped pork sandwich for a trusty choice. Additional sandwiches, wings, burgers and more round out the offering.
4424 Main St., Acworth, 770-974-8434, jdsbbq.com
6557 Bells Ferry Rd., Woodstock, 678-445-7730, jdsbbq.com