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Atlanta barbecue in the burbs: spots you should try

There are lots of great barbecue restaurants in Atlanta, and plenty written about them. This is where to try some OTP spots you may not have yet made it to.

City Barbecue in Johns Creek, Atlanta

best of the burbs -city barbecue atlanta

City Barbecue in Johns Creek is really popular, even at 5 pm!

With locations in the southeast, City Barbecue opened a new location in Johns Creek recently. We visited at 5 pm to avoid the crowds or so we thought. The place was still packed. There were four of us so, instead of each ordering a plate, we ordered the Mother Load which comes with a sampling of each of the meats (sausage, brisket, turkey, pulled pork, chicken, ribs and 6, yes 6, sides).

The disclaimer says that this plate at this Johns Creek barbecue spot is enough to feed at least 6 people. They lie. It’s not called the Motherload for nothing. It could have fed 8 people. And we skipped lunch so we were hungry. Click here to read the full review of City Barbecue

King Barbecue in Alpharetta, Avalon

Located in Alpharetta, King Barbecue is in the center, near Whole Foods. Lunch is a good time to visit as it is more quiet than the evenings. During weekends they have small stage with musicians.

King Barbecue pickle station Roamilicious

Pickle station at King Barbecue in Avalon

I loved the picked bar at King’s Barbecue. Think pickled onions, okra, jalapenos and lots of colorful choices. It will certain whet your appetite for what’s to come. Make sure to order one of the adult slushies (margarita was my favorite) but you can also a get a mule slushie which I’m looking forward to trying on my next visit.

Sliced brisket trumps the ribs by a tad. Not the least bit fatty and their Texas spicy sauce is divine slathered on that brisket. Sides for me are usually an afterthought. But the baked beans had an inherent smoky quality and were less sweet than I’ve found them to be at other spots, and the green beans were out of this world good too. Now, if calorie count isn’t a big deal, go for the mac and cheese and potato salad, both loaded with cheese.

King Barbecue Avalon review

Get the Brisket at King Barbecue

Smitty’s Lockdown Barbecue in Marietta

What was an abandoned stand alone building in a strip mall, has now been turned into a busy barbecue spot. Smitty’s looks smaller than it really is. If you’ve got kids they’ll love the jail theme. We easily snagged seating inside the “jail” but we went in the middle of the afternoon. I could see this being on high demand on a weekend.

There are tons of sauces to choose from at this Marietta barbecue spot. I must have lost all the weight I gained eating their barbecue by walking back and for the to the sauce counter at Smitty’s Lockdown. There was a coffee infused one I really liked, but I lost count after tasting about 5 or 6 (other include sweet tea and white sauce). I think they have about a dozen different kinds of sauces.

I liked that they offer much better portions than Willie Jewel’s down the road.

Willie Jewel’s Barbecue Marietta

willie jewels barbecue east cobb

Small portions at Willie Jewel’s barbecue in Marietta

A quick perusal of this Marietta barbecue location’s website and you’ll see this is a franchise with locations in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. The staff at the Marietta barbecue spot is really friendly. As soon as we walked in, they asked if we’d been their before and explained their menu and ordering options to us. I liked the clean and new design of the space.

There are four main sauces to choose from. There’s the Willie Jewel’s signature sauce, a sweet sauce, a Carolina mustard sauce and an Alabama white sauce. The signature sauce was the best of the bunch at this Marietta barbecue spot. While the barbecue is tasty, it seems like the portions are much smaller than other barbecue spots I’ve been to (check out the portion above. Yes that’s before I even touched it). But you should go and give it a try.


Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!

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