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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.
Hall County's Best Barbecue
BEST OVERALL BBQ EXPERIENCE The Inked Pig (Main St SW and Industrial)
The new pig in town has wowed us with their new age twist to the classic southern BBQ.
Andrew Elliott and Jimmy Ellis, are co-owners of The Inked Pig that opened up just two years ago in midtown Gainesville.
Andrew Elliott and Jimmy Ellis, are co-owners of The Inked Pig that opened up just two years ago in midtown Gainesville. They share their decades of experience crafting some of our favorite barbecue picks.
The hip atmosphere, along with a super friendly staff certainly enhanced David’s visit. Joy, the hostess greeted us and guided us through some of the favorites, and David got excited with the Triple Threat sandwich, classic pulled pork piled on with house smoked bacon, plenty of their bacon jam and house slaw and pickles – delicious! The Barbacoa Brisket is another town favorite, with grilled onions and chimichurri sauce – something different that Jimmy blended for that refreshing Argentine flavor.
For a meal we found that a plate of the picture perfect, well-seasoned St. Louis Cut Ribs, some of their super moist and tender Sweet Tea Smoked Chicken, accompanied with a cup of their porridge-like smoked chicken mull and side of creamy mac and cheese. Their house-made sauces certainly enrich the meats and taste perfect with the mac and cheese too!
FAVORITE TEXAS STYLE BRISKET Moonie's Texas BBQ (Atlanta Hwy. in Flowery Branch
Located in a former service station, Moonie’s BBQ provides a rustic feel for BBQ lovers. Pitmaster Jason Martin honed his craft in Texas and his tender, flavorful brisket is the result. Moonies smokes their meat hot and fast, which has enabled a very enjoyable BBQ experience.
David selected the slider plate, which is a great choice if you want to sample four different meats. He ordered pork, chicken, sausage, and turkey, with a side of jalapeno mac & cheese. As long-time fans of Moonie’s, David’s foodie friends, Bruce and Sandee Fricks, both ordered the delicious brisket straight out of the smoker.
The brisket looked perfectly juicy and had a nice burnt edge. Their sauce accompanies the brisket well and provides just the right amount of heat without masking the taste of the meat. Sandee paired her meal with coleslaw and potato salad, while Bruce chose the Brunswick stew. Jason and wife, Brooke Martin, regularly support the community and continue to do so with their deliciously crafted barbecue.
FAVORITE BBQ SAUCE AND RIBS Sherry's Bait and Barbecue (Dawsonville Hwy/Hwy 53)
Conveniently located right off Lake Lanier, Sherry’s Bait & BBQ is the perfect stop for a meal before and after a day on the lake. This location is very quaint and inviting and did not disappoint in the realm of BBQ. Their BBQ sauce stood out against others with the sweet and spicy mix of their homemade blend. David said it paired perfectly with the tender and moist ribs, which is hickory smoked using the “low and slow method.” David also enjoyed the brisket and pulled pork with the homemade BBQ sauce as well. Sherry’s Bait & BBQ begins their barbecue with high quality meats, and this was evident in all three dishes. Recommended by a fellow customer, David ordered Mac & Cheese and cream corn to accompany his meal and thought it paired nicely. The side items were very enjoyable, especially with the rest of his meal.
Sherry’s Bait & BBQ puts a lot of care into their dishes as everything is homemade, including all the sides and desserts. This location is known for having many vegetarian and gluten free side options, and do not have any fried options, which is perfect for those with dietary restrictions. They offer fresh dine-in and take-out, as well as food truck and catering services.
LOCAL’S FAVORITE BARBECUE Smoke House BBQ (Atlanta Hwy & Mundy Mill Rd)
Being a family-owned restaurant, Smokehouse BBQ strives to make their guests feel at home. The staff is very welcoming, and the restaurant is cozy, which allows you to wind down and enjoy some tasty BBQ. Everything is homemade from their BBQ sauce to their desserts, and it is definitely a local favorite.
David visited this location a few years ago, and remembered the menu looked great, as did the service and presentation. Upon his recent visit, he was pleased with the same experience. He enjoyed the traditional BBQ pork and ribs, along with the mac & cheese and fries. The pork had just the right amount of smokiness, and the Sweet Heat homemade BBQ sauce enhanced the flavor even more. If you are looking for a homey and friendly BBQ eatery, this is the place to go.
FAVORITE HOME-STYLE BBQ The Hickory Pig BBQ (Hwy 60 & Mt Vernon Rd)
The Hickory Pig is definitely a hole in the wall, but do not let looks be deceiving. The owner Phil has been smokin’ and pullin’ BBQ at this location since 1991 and continues to please customers today.
When you walk in, it does not feel like a normal restaurant. It feels like you are walking into your family’s home as they are preparing to serve dinner. When David walked in, he was approached by Phil as if they were life-long friends, and made David feel right at home. Phil likes to tell stories and reminisce on the good ole days, while feeding you delicious food at the same time. David was served a pulled pork sandwich with collard greens and Brunswick stew, which all tasted great. The pork is smoked with hickory wood and was extremely tender and was complimented well by the barbecue sauce. The locals rave about the collard greens, so David made sure to get a portion- he agreed they were delightfully tasty.
The Hickory Pig has received many awards and has been featured in Atlanta Magazine and Southern living. You might have to call first to make sure the oven is up and running- but if it is, you will not be disappointed.
READERS SUGGESTION Johnny’s Barbecue (Cleveland Hwy)
Johnny’s BBQ is a family restaurant that has operated in Gainesville since 1990, and is currently being run by Johnny’s grandson, Zach Ivey. This small joint seems to be a fan favorite, as many frequent customer’s recommended David visit. David had a platter with ribs, chicken, and pork, which are all hickory smoked. On the side, David got Brunswick stew which was very flavorful. Johnny’s has a drive thru and catering trucks, so they seem very eager to serve their customers.
WORTH THE DRIVE
ATLANTA-STYLE FAVORITE BARBEQUE 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 Forsyth County you can find our favorites, like “Cue Barbecue. Check out ForsythNews.com for the complete article of this week’s write-up:
The Monthly 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!