Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Moonie's Texas Barbecue (Flowery Branch, GA)

5545 Atlanta Highway
Flowery Branch, GA 30542

Moonie's Texas Barbecue on Urbanspoon

A Texas-style BBQ joint in Georgia...really original. We're already littered with many places making this claim. Some really good (Fox Brothers BBQ) and many not worth your time at all. But no, Moonie's isn't just "Texas-style" or Texas inspired, this is a real-deal Texas Barbecue joint that somehow has made its way into Georgia's graces. From the woods used, decor, meats offered, and beer selection, this place feels like you've stepped straight into some outlying town near Austin. Our friends at Socks Love Rub were actually the first to let us know about this up and coming BBQ spot in Flowery Branch near their house . I don't know much about Flowery Branch besides that the Atlanta Falcons train and are headquartered there. It's nowhere near where I live so I made a special trip to see how this food could compare to anything we've tried to date.

We pulled into Moonie's on a Friday evening around 6PM. I made sure to call ahead to ensure nothing was sold out just yet. With the limited hours I've heard Moonie's sells out more often than not. As soon as we got out of the car Jamie and I immediately noticed something different in the air. It wasn't your typical hickory log smoke that most Georgia BBQ restaurants use. There's nothing wrong with hickory. I actually enjoy it. This was post oak though. Post oak is something that you'll find at a lot of Texas joints across the state. I didn't realize how different it smelled until our Georgia BBQ adventures began. I haven't had enough experience with woods to be able to just pick smells out of the air (just yet), but it didn't take much to know that this wasn't our usual wood smoking. The outside has a small resemblance to Louie Mueller BBQ in Taylor, TX. It even has the double flags out front signifying if meat is sold out yet (flag's up, you're in luck...down, sold out). 

Once inside, the line was already formed about seven people deep. There's meat by the pound as well as some "plates" that Moonie offers (all served on butcher paper). Moonie (computer programmer by day) and family just recently joined the Atlanta BBQ scene after moving from the Austin area a couple years ago. After a lot of hard work, the doors finally opened to his dream job in the summer of 2011. When you walk in though it's still evident that Texas is very close to their hearts. Lone Star beer waits in the tubs while the Texas staples such as brisket, sausage, and ribs are available by the pound. Pulled pork and turkey are also available if the Texas trinity doesn't particularly do it for you. The sides are simple and few including baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, and creamed corn.

I ordered our half pound of brisket from the moist end. This brisket had a lot of smoke flavor and oozed properly rendered fat and juice from the 15 plus hours in their BBQ Guru-maintained Pitmaster Vault. The nice bark added great flavor to some of the best brisket we've tried in Georgia. The jalapeno sausage was equally as pleasing. They use a medium casing and has an inside that's a lot more "crumbly" than anything you'll usually find in a Georgia BBQ joint. Moonie mentioned that he's also in the process of adding his own beef sausage to the menu as well as beef ribs very soon. The St. Louis style ribs were seasoned nicely and also had a good amount of smoke. I wasn't fond of the thick membrane left on the back and would really love to see them take the extra time to remove before smoking. Regardless, they were cooked perfectly. The pulled pork was smoked to a perfect temperature but was just too smoky for Jamie and I. It had a nice bark and also tasted like a light sauce was added prior to serving. You couldn't really taste much of the pork flavor though the sauce and smoke though.

Moist brisket from the point
The colesaw tasted fresh with crisp pieces of shredded cabbage and carrots in a light mayonnaise based dressing. The baked beans are hardwood smoked and include chunks of apple that add a sweet contrast to the meal. All meals are served with soft towers of white bread, pickles, onions, and jalapenos.  Moonie was hesitant to include any BBQ sauces, but offers three different options for anyone who prefers that sort of thing. After all, great BBQ doesn't need sauce, right? There's a regular and spicy sauce which both have strong cumin, pepper, and tomato flavors. The spicy version has just a little more kick though from the jalapeno powder. There is also a third mustard-vinegar sauce that's available.

Lean brisket from the flat
Moonie's served quality food that should make any Georgian or Texan proud. Be warned, they don't go lightly on the smoke though. We at GBH highly recommend the brisket and sausage. I can't wait to visit again and wish the best to Moonie and crew. If you stop by, please let me know what you think.


  1. Moonie's has become a regular stop for me. I love the quality and the taste of the food he puts out. This is real bbq flavor, not plain meat hiding under a bunch of sauce.


  2. I will be giving this place a try.

  3. After reading this review I had to try it as I live very close and as a life long BBQ fan I am eager to find something near by. I went early Friday to avoid the BBQ sell out and got a little pulled pork, beef brisket, ribs, and link of sausage.
    Cut to the chase. I love the pulled pork it was juicy not greasy and no fat. A taste that was what I love (YMMV). I tried it plain and with all of the sauces. The mustard based was my favorite but all the others were to my liking. The sausage was a bit dry, not enough fat was lean and spicy just too lean for my taste. The ribs were for my son, he said they were very good. The misses is very picky and she got the brisket which she said was very good, wanted a little more smoke flavor but she said it was the best she's had.

    Bottom line, new favorite and will return as often as possible for the delicious BBQ

  4. greg and michelleMay 4, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    We loved it!! My new No1

  5. went to Moonies last night, food was great we had pulled pork and sliced Brisket. Sides were Mac salad n baked beans n brisket Chile n coleslaw all was Delish and yes a Lone star beer.
    price was right, for everything.

  6. Nice post! Very good crusty pop and pretty good distribution of meat, cheese, & jalapeño. I liked the crunch but the flavor could have been deemed on the bland side, even with the jalapeño bite. Mix this with Buzzies BBQ sauce though and you have a real winner. I usually don’t judge with BBQ sauce but for Buzzies I will because I liked the sauce so much.

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  7. The brisket had a gorgeous black crust in bbq, with a pronounced smoke ring beneath. I could tell it would be melt-in-your-mouth tender just by looking at it.
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  8. Nastiest place I've eaten in a long time. The whole atmosphere is just dirty and greasy. Prices are absolutely ridiculous. Cold nasty food, dirty place, bad service...won't be returning.