“It’s blood, sweat, and tears and it’s beautiful.”
Over the last two years I have come to experience the community and growing reputation of North Georgia BBQ. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been eating and loving BBQ my whole life, but what I’m experiencing now is a bastion of BBQ innovation and craftsmanship. A lot of these craftsmen are weekend BBQ warriors and others have cashed in the 401(k) to go all in. The results are some of the finest, most relevant eats coming out of our community today.
Nestled in these north Georgia hills are pitmasters with BBQ just as diverse as the stories that have brought them here. Some of them are old friends I grew up with and others have found a home serving our community. Speaking of service, I am constantly blown away by how well they serve others. They are involved in our community whether serving Marine vets or feeding the least of these who’ve fallen on hard times. Not just soup kitchen meals either, these men give their finest Que to help a brother or sister in need of a good meal.
“I consider these folks an extension of my own family.”
Another common value I see among them is a commitment to authenticity. Pardon the pun but there are no smoke and mirrors in the way they do BBQ. It’s blood, sweat, and tears and it’s beautiful. It’s impossible for me to give you an exhaustive list of all the great North Georgia BBQ so I’m going to mention those I’ve personally experienced and know the best.
Whether it’s brisket tacos from Four41South, the Kitchen Sink from AngelFire7, meticulously smoked pork butt from Choate BBQ or smoked wings and signature sandwiches from J.Miller Smokehouse, you are going to find real folks with real Que. I consider these folks an extension of my own family and I’m privileged to know them and support them.
Kevin Ward at Four 41 South smoked our family’s Thanksgiving turkey and ham, catered our company Christmas party and a Super Bowl party. Everything, and I mean everything I’ve tasted has been amazing. I’ve enjoyed following and getting to know Kevin. Reformation got to sponsor his Big Green Egg competition team and my family and I got VIP passes in return. I won’t soon forget that day of great eats and beer. Kevin and his crew also took home second in one of the most prestigious comps in the circuit. I can’t wait to see what’s coming for Four 41 South, because whatever it is will be amazing.
Joseph Martin at AngelFire7 has contagious passion and has become a staple food truck on a weekend night at Reformation Brewery. AngelFire7 Food Truck is always where I want to be. And when I see Thelma Jean out at one of the million beer fests in Atlanta, I immediately feel the comfort of family nearby and a Kitchen Sink (Pulled Pork, Brisket, Smoked Bourbon Beans & Mac & Cheese sprinkled with shredded cheese combined together in a bowl) in my belly.
Brian Choate at Choate BBQ is a teammate from high school and we’ve been in a lot of trenches together. His love of family rubs off in his approach to BBQ. He takes many of the traditional favorites and spends time with every detail. You’ve probably had a lot of pulled pork sandwiches in your life, but I promise you’ve not lived until you’ve had some pork from Choate BBQ.
Joe Satterfield at J.Miller’s Smokehouse is a true jewel in downtown Woodstock. The only Que with a storefront on my list. Joe has been a great partner from day 1, carrying every year round beer that we craft on tap. Joe’s smoked wings, signature sandwiches, and brunswick stew makes eating lunch in Woodstock every day of the week an awesome experience. In some ways it’s off of Main St, a “hole in the wall” location makes it special for locals like me. I like that it’s a bit of a secret but you’d be mistaken not to make this a regular part of your week.
I’d be amiss if I didn’t thank Gary Lamb and BBQ and Brews to introducing me to some of these pitmasters and many others that I’m still getting to know and love. BBQ and Brews is bringing this community and culture to life in North Georgia. With four events this year, it’s shaping up to be another fun and delicious year. If you’re not following along you’re missing out on something bigger than just BBQ.
Join us July 1st for live music, local BBQ, and independently owned, operated, and brewed craft beer.