Southern Soul Barbeque, St. Simons Island
Start your sticky-sweet-savory dining adventure on the Georgia coast, with one of the state's best barbecue joints: Southern Soul Barbeque on St. Simons Island. Housed in a former gas station-turned-seafood market, the Southern Soul crew converted the space into a restaurant, only to have it tragically burn down in 2010. But, thanks to a hefty social media campaign and a mega-dose of community support, the boys rebuilt the restaurant and rose, strongly, like a Phoenix from the ashes. Now, Southern Soul offers smoked pork, brisket, turkey and chicken alongside a long menu of Southern-style veggies, plus bottled sauces, gifts – and easy access to beaches along the coast.
Fresh Air Barbecue, Jackson
The menu doesn’t stray from the basics that put this roadside institution of pure Georgia barbecue on the map in 1929: smoked pork, slaw, Brunswick stew, pickles, and bread.
Jomax BBQ, Metter
Heading to Atlanta from Savannah, you'll want to stop off I-16 for lunch at Jomax BBQ in Metter. This lodge-like restaurant named for founders Joe and Maxine Hulsey who started it more than 30 years ago is a detour you won't regret.
Heirloom Market BBQ, Sandy Springs
Husband and wife Cody Taylor and Jiyeon Lee combine the flavors of home —Tennessee and South Korea — at metro Atlanta hotspot Heirloom Market BBQ. Try the spicy Korean smoked pork for an exemplary taste of this beautiful marriage.
Miller Brothers Rib Shack, Dalton
Since Walter and Eugene first served ribs and chicken from a front-yard smoker in 1978, Miller Brothers has been a household name in Dalton. Want to add some heat? Ask for the homemade Dragon Lady sauce.
Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, Atlanta
Smoked wings, colossal beef ribs, and juicy, charred brisket — these are the smokehouse sensations of their Texas youth that Jonathan and Justin Fox bring to Fox Bros. Bar-B-Que in Atlanta's Candler Park neighborhood.
Blackbeard's B&B Bar-B-Que, Albany
Smoked ribs, half chickens, and barbecue pork make this longstanding shrine to Southern food live up to its name, but the menu covers all manner of Southern staples, from fried catfish and hushpuppies to cheese grits and country fried steak.
Sconyers Bar B Que & Fincher's Barbecue
You can find some of the South's best barbecue at Sconyers Bar B Que in Augusta and Fincher’s Barbecue in Macon. Old-fashioned pit-smoking with oak and hickory hold the key to the Augusta spot's praised menu, where hungry diners will salivate over lean tenderloin, tender ribs and smoked hash, all cooked using a secret family recipe.
Macon-based Fincher’s is popular enough to be spread out to four locations throughout the city, so diners have ample opportunity to try their Southern pork, chicken and turkey dishes.
Wiley's Championship BBQ
Up the road a bit in Savannah, diners can find Wiley's Championship BBQ, which has routinely been named the city’s best in that realm. Opened in 2005, the restaurant has claimed national titles in barbecue competitions every year for nearly a decade, thanks to a menu that includes smoked meats and sausage, pulled pork, stuffed baked potatoes and classic banana pudding.
Jim's Smokin' Que, Blairsville
Heading to the mountains? Several barbecue bistros dot the journey. Jim's Smokin' Que in Blairsville not only offers all your barbecue needs, but also has a welcoming, hometown atmosphere ideal for mountain dining. They are closed in January and February, but reopen to start serving on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays in March.