“The Beast” cannot control his urges when it comes to Barbeque. Meats being smoked “Low and slow” awakens him with intense vigor. When on the southern side of the Mason Dixon Line, it is imperative to seek out and feast at a neighborhood BBQ joint that is a regular spot for the locals .
In a new city, not knowing anyone familiar with local BBQ adds a challenge. So what do you do? Just talk to the residents, those in the know. And that’s what we did. Wherever we were, we would ask around, “Who has the most authentic Georgia barbeque?” One place kept getting mentioned. That place is “Anna’s BBQ” in Kirkwood, Georgia. Kirkwood is located on the south side of Atlanta.
We jumped in the car with great anticipation for what was in store for us. During the ride the question was posed, “What is Georgia barbeque?” It would do a disservice to the craft if you just labeled all barbeque the same and simply cooking various meats in a smoker. It is much more involved and it is a culinary art form. Throughout the United States, different areas have their own definition and style of barbeque. Texas BBQ will differ from Memphis barbeque which will be different from St. Louis. Then there is completely different ideologies on how to smoke meats throughout the United States and what type of meat to use. Some areas believe barbeque means pork products while others feel it’s beef or a combination of both. Should it be naked (No sauce) or completely sauced. You see where I’m going with this? There is no distinctive definition that encompasses the term barbeque.
I digress. Let’s get back to understanding Georgia-Style barbeque. Anna Phelps, the proprietor of “Anna’s BBQ” feels a simpler dry rub combination is the key. Just a few ingredients are all that is needed. She also believes that the meat should have a high concentration of flavor from the smoking process by using more smoke. Many also say that Georgia barbeque is a combination of styles found in neighboring areas which helped Georgians develop their process and that there is no singular standard as you may find in other parts of the United States.
In about fifteen minutes we had arrived. It was an oasis for “The Beast”. Stepping out of the car, it stood in front of us. Everything we hoped for! A simple building, picnic tables and a smokehouse on the side. We quickly went over and placed our order. The tables were filling up fast, so we claimed one and set our belongings down. Next was to investigate. We walked along the side of the building and came across the smokehouse. Right outside was the wood stack ready to be used. Inside the smoke house was a two door vertical smoker that you could tell had a great deal of mileage on it. For smokers that is a benefit. The meat is infused with a higher flavor profile the more often a smoker is used.
Our order was ready and we returned to our picnic table. One order was a variety of three taco’s with a side of macaroni and cheese. Each taco was different with one being filled with brisket, another with pulled pork and the third with barbeque chicken. All topped with slaw. Each taco had their own unique flavor and it was difficult to pick a favorite. All three meats were extremely tender and juicy.
The second dish was a pulled pork sandwich topped with slaw. It was on a nice size bun with a healthy helping of pulled pork. The slaw was made in house and complemented the smokiness of the pork extremely well. The pork was tender with a nice amount of sauce on it.
The final dish was the two meat combo. You have a choice of several sides, however the two selected were the baked beans and collard greens. The collards were tender and flavorful with a slightly similar taste to kale. It was a flawless side dish. The beans were perfectly cooked in a fantastic sauce where you just wanted to eat them with a spoon to enjoy every drop. In addition you get a corn muffin with your order. The corn muffin was extremely soft and moist. You didn’t need butter or any other additional flavoring. However, I did enjoy dipping it into the beans. Next was the stars of the plate. From the choices available, the two meats selected was pork spareribs and beef brisket. The spareribs were an excellent size and came right off the bone. You could taste the flavors of the rub like garlic, sugar and salt and the sauce had a terrific sweetness to it. The beef brisket ran away with the prize. It was extremely tender, falling apart as you bit into it. With each bite you can taste the flavor of the smoke.
There is a reason why “Anna’s BBQ” won “Atlanta’s best BBQ” in 2019 by Atlanta magazine. This family owned barbeque restaurant, greets you with a smile, serves up some fantastic BBQ using classic smoking techniques and waves goodbye as you leave while your loosing you belt from being so full. This was an outstanding adventure and a very satisfying meal.