Is there an Atlanta barbecue?
America’s food map is dotted with cities and regions that have distinct identities within the world of barbecue, styles that typify a specific geographical area. When you think Memphis, you think dry-rubbed ribs. Eastern North Carolina? Whole-hog pork with a vinegary sauce. Texas? Beef, pardner. Central South Carolina is all about mustardy mops, while there are pockets of Alabama where mayo-based sauces practically paint the town white.
But is there an “Atlanta style” of barbecue? Arguably the unofficial capital of the South, Atlanta should be known as a barbecue mecca the way Memphis is, right? Or Austin? Hell, even Lexington, N.C. — with a population of fewer than 20,000 — is more of a bona fide barbecue destination than we’ve ever been. Atlanta is situated in the heart of barbecue country, but when you ask some of the area’s best barbecue bloggers and chefs to explain the city’s place in the wider world of ‘cue, you get more hemming and hawing than from a pitmaster being grilled on what’s in his top-secret rub. […]