These Georgia restaurants have made Southern Living’s ‘The South’s Top 50 Barbecue Joints’ for 2022

ATLANTA — Barbecue lovers rejoice: Three Georgia barbecue joints have made Southern Living’s “The South’s Top 50 Barbecue Joints.”

From brisket to pulled pork, these barbecue joints have everything to cure your craving.

“Taken as a whole, the rankings offer a capsule assessment of ‘The State of Southern Barbecue,’ and the state of barbecue in the South is indeed strong — and getting stronger each year,” the magazine said about the list.

Southern Living magazine last published the list in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the country and closed down many restaurants.

Georgia fared well in this year’s list, with three barbecue joints making the top 5, two of which are in or near metro Atlanta.

Coming in at #48 is Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, at 1238 DeKalb Avenue Northeast, Atlanta.

Started by brothers Jonathan and Justin Fox, Fox Bros. opened its first location along DeKalb Avenue in Atlanta in 2007.

“After moving from Fort Worth to Atlanta, Justin and Jonathan were homesick for Texas-style barbecue and after being unable to find the flavors they grew up with, the twin brothers decided to take matters into their own hands. With no professional training, Jonathan and Justin began throwing backyard gatherings for friends and family to test out their barbecue skills. Small gatherings grew into cooking for over 250 people, a barbecue catering operation was born,” the restaurant’s website said.

“Brisket, ribs, and sausage remain the heart of the menu, but plenty of creative combinations span the South’s barbecue regions,” Southern Living said.

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To get to #24 on the list, you will need to head to the Georgia coast to try some Southern Soul Barbeque. The restaurant is located at 2020 Demere Road on St. Simons Island.

“In 2007, after cooking together for various charity events, (Harrison Sapp and Griffin Bufkin) launched their barbecue business in a subleased kitchen. Not long after, they moved into a half-century-old converted gas station at the side of a big roundabout just a mile off the beach,” Southern Living said in a 2019 article about the business.

“There are delicious slow smoked meats, of course — brisket, chicken, turkey, and sausage, all cooked over oak on Oyler and Lang pits. Sweet and smoky honey-basted ribs are particular crowd favorites, and Southern Soul’s rich, tangy version of Georgia’s traditional Brunswick stew is a delight,” Southern Living said about the restaurant.

Closer to the Atlanta metro, #9, the highest of the restaurants on the list, is located in Jackson. Fresh Air Barbecue is located at 1164 Highway 42 South.

“The original Fresh Air Barbecue in Jackson, Georgia, is the oldest pit-cooked barbecue restaurant in Georgia still in its original location,” the restaurant’s website said.

Fresh Air Barbecue was established in 1929, originally owned by Dr. Joel Watkins, and later purchased in 1945 by Butts County native George W. “Toots” Caston.

Since then, “four generations of Toots Caston’s family have either worked in or been directly involved with the history of Fresh Air Barbecue, adding their ideas and improvements to the business.”

“No brisket or ribs appear on the menu board at this Peach State icon, which dates back to 1929. Barbecue here means one thing and one thing only: chopped pork dressed in a thin, spicy red sauce,” Southern Living said about the restaurant.


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