Courtesy Fresh Air Barbecue
Courtesy Fresh Air Barbecue

By Collin Kelley
INtown Editor

As a southerner, it has been my duty to sample barbecue far and wide. From Texas to the Carolinas and all over the state of Georgia, I’ve tucked into pulled pork, ribs, Brunswick stew and brisket.

Barbecue is near and dear to the hearts of Intowners, as you can see in the feature we did in our current issue. I’m selfishly happy that all my go-to places made the list, especially Anna’s in Kirkwood and Fat Matt’s over on Piedmont Road.

But if you’re in a travelling mood – maybe a weekend road trip – I’ve got a few places outside the perimeter (OTP, y’all)  that are well worth the drive. The closest is Slope’s on Johnson Ferry Road in Sandy Springs (also in Roswell, Alpharetta and Cumming). The pulled-pork plate (love the sweet sauce) with mac ‘n’ cheese, Brunswick stew and cornbread is my favorite on the northside. I’m a Brunswick stew snob, and Slope’s has got it right on the money – the perfect consistency, pork, corn and tomatoes.

If you drive south, there are two places you absolutely must visit. The first is Dean’s Barbecue on South Main Street in Jonesboro. It’s been serving up finger-lickin’ ‘cue since 1947. The pork sandwiches are generous, the Brunswick stew has a slightly smoky flavor (along with meaty consistency) and they make sure to fill your bag with soda crackers, because it ain’t stew unless you can crumble or dip the crackers.

The second  is a bit further afield: Fresh Air Barbecue down in Jackson (they also have a joint in Macon), not far from Indian Springs State Park. It’s been a middle Georgia institution since 1929 and it’s so, so, so, soooo good. This is ‘cue and stew of the gods. I drove my mom down for Mother’s Day this year and we gorged ourselves and I bought a pint of stew to bring home. When you have to get some to go, you know it’s a winner.

Now my mouth is watering.

 

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.