Smokebelly BBQ – Atlanta, GA

Earlier this week, a lunch for two deal appeared on Travelzoo for Smokebelly BBQ, in Buckhead.  I don’t know that I had heard much about the place, but the deal seemed to be a value (two plates, an appetizer and two non-alcoholic drinks for $29).  Always interested in a deal, particularly when it involves barbecue, I clicked on “purchase” and set it aside for a later date.  This afternoon, we headed into Buckhead for some shopping and, armed with this deal, some barbecue.


There are plenty of TVs and lots of beers on tap.  The restaurant was large and looks like a barbecue joint, only if you leave off the “becue”.  It is, simply, a bar.  In fact, it look like a sports bar, brought to you by the teams behind Tin Lizzy’s and the Party Bus.  I can imagine that it fills up with the right-after-work crowd.  I can envision the bar lined with bros – the sleeves on their button-downs rolled up and their Cole-Haans shining.  They have three sauces on the table – IMG_0424

sweet, savory and Carolina gold, which were in glass bottles that were all cold and sweaty, as if they had spent the night in the fridge.  I was underwhelmed by all three.  For a starter, we queried the server and decided on an order of their cherry cola ribs.   IMG_0427

The ribs are flash fried, then covered in their cherry cola sauce.  Unfortunately, they just didn’t have much taste.  It’s rare for me to leave meat on a bone on a rib plate, but this time I left at least one completely untouched rib.  My beloved ordered the salmon plate, IMG_0429with smoky kale and potato salad.  She asked about the cole slaw, but it was creamy and mustard based – a double no-no for her.   I chose a combo plate with brisket and sausage, IMG_0431-0with a side of house waffle fries and Brunswick stew.   The brisket was very tender, but like everything else had very little flavor.  If this is “chef-crafted cue”, the chef has never crafted cue before this place.  

In my opinion, if this place succeeds, it will be because of the bar and not the “cue”.

Smokebelly BBQ on Urbanspoon


  1. Dickey’s BBQ Pit did originate in Dallas and produces some of the worst BBQ in the world. You just need a good tour guide. Start by calling me next time you’re in Dallas and let’s go eat at Pecan Lodge, #2 on the list of the Top 50 BBQ joints in the world.

    1. Thanks for the confirmation on Dickey’s. Pecan Lodge is on the list. We’re driving through later this summer and if we hit Dallas on the right day of the week it will be checked off.

  2. bcmoseley · · Reply

    Like lots of BBQ joints outside Texas, it sounds like these guys spent way to much time making fancy sauce options and not nearly enough time smoking their meat!

    1. I don’t think they spent that much time on the sauces. And, sadly, I’ve had tasteless barbecued beef in the Republic of Texas. Y’all are to blame for Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, aren’t you?

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