Posted by: KStrate | April 7, 2008

Where’s the best BBQ in Athens?

On Friday, AJC Food Editor, Meridith Ford wrote a post on her blog, Table Talk, about some of the famous barbeque found in Georgia.

She bases her post from the book, BBQ Joints: Stories and Secret Recipes from the Barbeque Belt, by David Gelin. Gelin and his dog, Buddy, traveled all around the south looking for the best barbeque joints, and he wrote about their trip.

Like Meridith, but scaling it down a little bit, I want to know where the best barbeque place is in Athens. I’m actually going to eat at Jot ‘Em Down Barbeque tonight with a friend, so I’ll let you know how it is!

So is it Shane’s? Fresh Air Barbeque? Corky’s? Let everyone know, so we can all get excited for one of my favorite meals in the summer.



  1. I like vinegar based Barbecue sauces so I don’t really like Shane’s because I think it is too sweet. I do like Jimmy’s Barbecue because they have a great vinegar base to their sauce. My all-time favorite barbecue is Fresh Air in Macon, GA. Talk about great sauce! I haven’t tried Fresh Air in Athens so I can’t tell you if it lines up to Macon’s franchise. To tell you the truth I thought they only had them in Macon and Jackson. I did a Google search and they had two Web sites. and I’m not sure the difference in the owners. Let me know if you want to go try out one of the Athens locations!

  2. Thank you for mentioning my book.

    In the Athens area, I was truly saddened to see that the legendary Peanuts had gone, but in its place if Fresh Air, a truly fine and worthy joint.

    If you don’t mind a short drive up up 29 to Danielsville, Ricky and Cooter will do you right at Williams’ Barbecue. They are featured in my Book.

    David Gelin,
    Author BBQ Joints Stories and Secret Recipes from the Barbecue Belt

  3. Unfortunately, the best BBQ in the Athens area is in my freezer, imported from Lexington BBQ #1 in Lexington, NC.

    If Lexington BBQ #1’s sliced pork (or chopped pork) rates 5 pigs on my scale, I haven’t been able to find any BBQ in Georgia that rates above 3 pigs on my scale. Fresh Air on Hull Rd. is pretty good, and their vinegar-based thin sauce is pretty good – as good as many NC vinegar-and-pepper sauces. Maybe Fresh Air rates 4 pigs on a good day. They do get serious points for going light on the sauce and letting the meat stand on its own, which it does well.

    It’s not that I’m a NC snob. Well, OK, I am, sorta (but I will concede that perfectly done Texas BBQ beef brisket, as served by Smitty’s in Lockhart, Texas, wins my “Grandest of all BBQ” award). It’s just that I’ve been to probably a dozen BBQ places in Georgia, and while some of the ‘cue has been decent, none of it has been mindblowing like it is in the best NC BBQ joints like Lexington #1 in (for me, the pinnacle of western NC style BBQ – pork shoulder with a slightly thicker tomato-vinegar-pepper sauce) and Pete’s Skylight Inn in Ayden, NC (for me, the top eastern NC style BBQ – whole hog, with cracklings, and a watery vinegar and pepper sauce).

    I am warming to Fresh Air, however. And I’ll have to try Williams. Any other suggestions? Heavy’s BBQ in Crawfordville sounded interesting, and we tried it. The place and the staff are a hoot – but the BBQ itself definitely isn’t worth the drive.

  4. i think by far Johhny’s BBQ in Gainesville is up there for pork — uses a fresh ham — Pig n Chic on Peachtree ind great Pork — melt in your mouth – Spiced Right great ribs – best OKRA in the world —
    what about Zebb’s — you got free seconds and all the white bread you wanted —

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