Last week I was slated to travel to take a 2-day training class. The good news was that I missed the huge winter storm that slammed North Carolina. The bad news: my class was in Atlanta. So instead of snow and ice, I got lots and lots of ice. But once the ice melted, I decided to hit up a few BBQ joints in and near to the Atlanta area.
You may remember my last work trip where I got to check out Fox Bros. BBQ and Bub-Ba-Q. This time I made room for 3 BBQ joints. Let’s check them out! First up is a Friday lunch date at Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q.
Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q offers up BBQ cooked over a wood-fired pit, an array of sauces and other offerings, and a full-service catering department. They have three different locations available, but I ate at the original Marietta, GA location. And when I walked in and got seated, I got excited when I saw the meat roasting over the wood pit!
I ended up going with the BBQ Combo Platter which had full spare ribs, pork, sliced beef top round, and a chicken leg quarter. For sides, I got mac & cheese and Brunswick stew. At a price of $15.99, this was a deal!
The first thing I noticed was that they like their sauce — it was literally used in everything except the mac & cheese. It was a very good sauce, and the kitchen staff did not overly drench everything. The pork was excellent, as were the ribs. The beef was quite good too, with a velvety texture and good flavor. The only protein I was disappointed in was the chicken — it was a tad dry and overcooked.
For the sides… the mac & cheese was solid. The Brunswick stew was quite excellent, and I picked up hints of the Williamson Bros. BBQ sauce in the stew. And I had to finish off the meal with a yummy chocolate cream pie. YUM!!!
For dinner that evening, I ventured about 30 minutes south into the Virginia-Highland neighborhood of Atlanta to check out D.B.A. Barbecue.
They serve up a wide variety of BBQ offerings, including candied bacon (a.k.a. pig candy) and smoked-fried wings (which, according to my waitress, are what they’re best known for). I decided to go with the three-meat sampler plate. For my meats, I went with brisket, ribs, and pastrami. For my sides, I got creamed corn and baked beans. At $21.50 for the plate, the price point is a little higher than Williamson Bros (although the price would have been $2 less had I not picked the pastrami).
Everything was served unsauced, although a variety of sauces are available. The ribs (St. Louis style) had a good texture and level of doneness. The rub used on the meat was a nice combination of salty/sweet/savory. The pastrami (single slice) was cut about 3/4″ – 1″ thick and reminded me of a competition brisket slice. The flavor was excellent on the pastrami. The brisket was sliced very thin and had good flavor, but it was ultimately a little bit thin.
The sides here were awesome! The corn in the creamed corn was grilled prior to being creamed, and the beans had the bold BBQ flavor that I really like. To finish it off, I went with some delicious banana pudding.
For the trip home Saturday, I went about 20-30 minutes out of my way to Gainesville, GA — home of Lazy Bear BBQ.
Does the name sound familiar? If you are familiar with BBQ Pitmasters, you’ll recognize Lazy Bear BBQ as one of the teams that appeared in the regional “in-between” series. Bear Sloan and his wife competed for the title of Georgia BBQ Pitmaster. Walk into this BBQ joint, and you get a sense of coming home. The walls are decorated with various trophies from Bear’s competition endeavors.
When I got there, they were still serving breakfast and did not have their full BBQ menu available (for the record, I arrived there at 11:00am). But they did have pork available, so I went with the pork plate. The sides I got were corn fritters and baked beans.
The pork was a little drenched in sauce for my liking, but the sauce was sweet and smoky. The beans were fairly pedestrian, but the corn fritters were very tasty!
I was able to chat with Bear for a few minutes about his various BBQ escapades, the BBQ pitmasters episode, and other random topics. Let me just say he is quite the character! And a very friendly guy to boot. I’d like to come here again when they have the full BBQ offering to try some of the other meats.
So there you have it — my latest BBQ adventures! Soon I hope to embark on new BBQ journeys, so stay tuned!