Monday, September 19, 2011

Heirloom Market (Atlanta, GA)

32243 Akers Mill Road
Atlanta, GA 30339

Heirloom Market BBQ on Urbanspoon

Heirloom Market...finally, we meet. Known locally as a small place getting big attention, this has been on my list for quite some time now. It's hard when you walk into certain restaurants with such great expectations. I'm often let down more than satisfied. It's a lot like when someone tells you "It's the best movie ever!" More often than not you'll leave wanting your money back. I hate to be so pessimistic but that just seems to be the way it goes...well, for me at least. 

We arrived on Friday at 7PM for dinner. The set up at Heirloom is a little different. It's right next door to a convenience store and seating is limited. I counted fourteen chairs total including the large family style table. It's the type of place that you'd like to be a regular. They buy all of their meats and vegetables locally and are extremely proud of that (as they should be). The staff is warm and friendly and does a good job of trying to make you feel at home. Heirloom Market has two head chefs, Cody and Jiyeon. Cody, who's Texas born, provides the traditional BBQ experience and knowledge. Jiyeon is a South Korean native and helps give Heirloom an Asian twist that sets it apart from traditional BBQ joints. Together, they've created a wonderful thing. We watched the regulars order (who were often greeted by name) before finally placing our order...the Texas Trinity. With a name like that, it had some big shoes to fill. This combo came with brisket, pork spare ribs, and beef sausage. I've heard good things about the mac 'n' cheese here so we made sure to include as well as the baked beans. Our order arrived about five minutes after placing.

I couldn't help myself. Initially I dove straight for the brisket. Wow. It had a good smoky crust and was tender enough to pull apart with your hands. I was very pleased with this selection. They offer a couple different sauces here to complement your meal. The settler, table, and Korean sauce are offered daily, while "Hotlanta" was the sauce of the month. The settler is more of a vinegar sauce. The table sauce (our favorite) was Memphis style, being more tangy and sweet than the others. The Korean sauce was a little different, but spicy and sweet. Lastly, the Hotlanta sauce tasted like a spicier version of the table sauce. Sauce is all about personal preference, and they have some good options here.

Next we tried the Texas style beef sausage. This place was now two for two. I felt like I was back home for a second. Great brisket. Great sausage. It was juicy but not greasy. It had a good snap and great flavors. Even after recently visiting the mecca of Texas BBQ in Lockhart, Jamie and I were both impressed with their offerings here at Heirloom. The downfall came at the spare ribs. These were the first ribs we've had on the Georgia BBQ Hunt that were actually over smoked. You don't really see it that often in Georgia because of most establishment's reluctancy to give meat the smoky flavor it deserves. These ribs however, were bitter due to the amount of smoke absorbed. It's hard to really describe meat that's been smoked too long, but you'll know it once you have it. All you can taste is bitter, heavy smoke. Keep in mind that this is coming from someone that thinks 95% of the places we visit don't smoke their meat enough here in Georgia. I will say that they were tender though and I'd honestly like to go back to try them again. The last meat we tried was the pulled pork sandwich. This was another homerun. The pork was very tender, and had a ton of flavor. There wasn't a lot of bark, but that was easily overlooked once you try it.

I have a confession to make about the sides here at Heirloom. The confession is this. We liked the mac 'n' cheese so much here that we actually went back up and proudly ordered another helping. It was like going back for seconds at your favorite family dinner. The noodles were properly cooked and baked with a mixture of cheese that literally leaves you wanting more. It wasn't too cheesy and wasn't too dry. It was some of the best mac 'n' cheese we've had to date. The only place I can think that compares right now is at Grand Champion in Roswell. The baked beans weren't my favorite and tasted a lot like ranch style beans more so than baked. The beans were also a little too hard which could mean they just weren't cooked enough.

We highly recommend visiting Heirloom. Great staff. Delicious food. Fair prices. Despite the ribs being oversmoked, this has been one of our favorite stops so far.
The Georgia Barbecue Hunt continues...  

Monday, September 12, 2011

J.D.'s Barbecue (Woodstock, GA)

6557 Bells Ferry Road
Woodstock, GA 30189

JD's Bar B Que on Urbanspoon

I'll go ahead and start off by saying that JD's BBQ in Woodstock is one of my favorite places we've visited to date in Georgia. Usually I wait until the end of the review to really let you know how I feel, but I'm making an exception for this one. I've often passed JD's, smelled JD's, but for whatever reason I've never stopped and eaten at JD's. They're fairly young in BBQ years with only being around since 1999, but don't let that fool you. They definitely know what they're doing here. I believe that BBQ is at its best when it's at its purist. Keep it simple. They only use hickory wood here to fire up their side-smokers. No frills. No weird marinades or crazy rubs. Just wood, a couple spices, fire, and meat. A lot of people ask me why I like Texas BBQ so much and what makes it so good. My answer is easy...they keep it simple.

Kenan and Jamie accompanied me on this Georgia Barbecue Hunt stop. When you walk in to JD's, it's a little awkward. There's not much seating and there's pretty much no place to wait. I'm sure we're not the only ones who've made this observation since they're currently in the process of opening a bigger and better location in Acworth soon. We waited about fifteen minutes until a table was available. Once we sat down, we ordered a plate of their smoked wings, some fried pickles, a BBQ chicken quesadilla, and fried jalapenos. We were hungry and had heard great things about these appetizers. The smoked wings were fantastic. They're hickory smoked, fried, and then topped with their homemade BBQ sauce. Great flavors. The BBQ chicken quesadilla uses their smoked chicken for a different but great smoky taste. As for the the fried pickles and jalapenos, they were just ok...nothing special. JD's has two sauces here, an original and spicy. The original was a sweet, tangy, tomato-based sauce. The spicy sauce seemed to be the same sauce with just a little more kick.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Slope's BBQ (Alpharetta, GA)

5865 Gateway Drive
Alpharetta, GA 30004

Slope's Barbecue of Alpharetta on Urbanspoon

Slope's BBQ has been around the North Atlanta BBQ scene for almost twenty years now. I've seen multiple locations, but have honestly never tried any of them. Today would be my first. My buddy Clay would join me for this Georgia Barbecue Hunt tour stop.

We arrived during lunch time and after much consideration I ordered the combo plate. After speaking with the gentleman at the counter who assured me that all their meat is slow-cooked using hickory wood, the chicken, spare rib, and pulled pork plate seemed like my best bet. I went with the mac 'n' cheese and baked beans as my sides. This BBQ sampler included a drink but still set me back $16. Clay's on a budget so he went with their pulled pork sandwich special with fried okra and green beans on the side. Dave Ramsey would've been proud. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

'Cue Barbecue (Milton, GA)

13700 Highway 9
Milton, GA 30004

'Cue Barbecue on Urbanspoon

After finding that the local Pig 'n' Chik had recently shut down, I went with my back up plan, 'Cue BBQ in nearby Milton. From what I've heard, the former chef from Roswell's own Swallow at the Hollow left in hopes of making his own name in Georgia BBQ. 'Cue definitely doesn't have the atmosphere that makes Swallow at the Hollow so locally famous, but we were only focused on one thing here...the food.

When you walk in 'Cue you'll notice the "modern meets Western" decor. Just in case you're wondering, it's nothing like the backwoods, distressed look that you'll find at the Swallow. The friendly staff promptly greeted me and sat me at the nearest table. I was surprised to see some of my Texas favorites on their menu such as brisket and sausage. As strange as it might seem to some, you don't see a lot of either on many Georgia BBQ menus. I decided to go with the pulled pork and brisket with coleslaw and their bacon beans as my sides. While I waited for my food, I went ahead and sampled each of their three homemade BBQ sauces. The Kansas City style sauce, which they referred to as their "Georgia sauce", was decent. It was pretty thick and sweet, but not dark at all like you'd see with a molasses or heavy brown sugar sauce. It had a strong sweet tomato flavor. The South Carolina sauce tasted a lot like honey mustard to me. The last sauce was their vinegar based sauce which I actually enjoyed. It had some kick and nice smoky chili flavors as opposed to just straight vinegar. This complemented the pulled pork very well.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Boners BBQ (Atlanta, GA)

634 Fraser Street Southeast
Atlanta, GA 30312

Boners BBQ on Urbanspoon

Summer: good food, friends, and baseball. What more could you ask for than a combination of warm weather, outdoor sporting events, and fine Southern BBQ? This week the Georgia Barbecue Hunt decided to make a trip down to Turner Field to watch our Braves play. Before the game we landed at a new barbecue joint called Boners BBQ. With their motto being "Put a little south in your mouth", we couldn't pass this one up. This is a neighboring restaurant near the Braves Stadium, Turner Field aka “The Ted." Yes, Boners is an interesting name for a BBQ place, but don’t get too excited just yet.

With the menu being small (which I appreciate), we had a few choices for our mouths to water upon. We first picked our meats: a ¼ slab of wet pork back ribs, pulled chicken sliders, and pulled pork sliders. For the sides we chose the Sweetwater 420 baked beans (the hometown brew) and studs, which are crisped, quartered potatoes served with spicy ketchup. Between two people it was just enough food to satisfy our needs. This whole meal set us back about $25. Now that you know what we ordered, here we go with the usual nitty-gritty breakdown. We'll start by reviewing the below average barbecue which we struggled to eat and then make our way up to the exceptionally, well prepared Southern BBQ that we thoroughly enjoyed. Here we go...