Several months back, I heard that someone was smoking whole hog barbecue in northwest Atlanta. I made a mental note and figured that I would hear more about it and get there soon enough. Two months passed by when I saw an online article from Atlanta magazine about pitmaster Bryan Furman, at B’s Cracklin’ Barbecue, and knew that this was the place. He opened the original location in Savannah, in 2014, and quickly received accolades from Southern Living and Garden & Gun. Sadly, an electrical fire burned that place to the ground. When it happened, the Savannah community responded with a bang and helped rebuild. Success there led to the opening of a second restaurant in Atlanta.
I headed toward the address and found that this was, previously, the former Hottie Hawg’s location. On the first visit, which was the Sunday after Thanksgiving, it was a carry-out affair. Some of that chopped whole hog, a side of hash and rice (they’re one of the few places in town with hash), collards and a whole lot of that peach South Carolina style mustard sauce.
Bryan is actually breeding heirloom hogs (six breeds right now on a farm near Savannah) that he’s smoking and serving at his restaurants. It is smoked over hickory and cherry coals and is served without sauce. Notice that I did not use the word “dry” to describe it. It is far from dry – moist, tender, smoky and full of flavor.
Another carry out trip later on, brought hash and rice, mac-n-cheese and brisket home.
Hash and rice is the South Carolina answer to Brunswick stew – it is as ubiquitous there as stew is here. It’s the same idea – everything left in the kitchen ends up in this dish. Check out the smoke ring on that brisket!
The brisket is as moist as the pork and is fork tender. In addition to the peach mustard sauce, they also offer a red North Carolina-style vinegar sauce. I prefer the vinegar sauce on the pork and the mustard sauce on the brisket.
My beloved and I were talking in the car this week and, it is apparent, that B’s has become my “go-to” place for carry-out. We’ve probably had carry out from there once a month since Thanksgiving. It appears that I’m not alone in my fandom of this place – just last week, B’s was listed as one of Atlanta’s Best New Restaurants by Atlanta Magazine. So glad that B’s has joined the Atlanta barbecue scene.
Update from December, 2017. Plotting a Sunday barbecue outing on a Saturday afternoon, I knew we would be heading back to B’s:
- I love the food;
- they’re close;
- they’re open on Sunday; and
- I love the food.
What I didn’t know was that on Saturday night (Dec 16), he would be featured on Eat Sleep BBQ (Episode 2 – Stick to Your Ribs). We got in bed late on Saturday night and flipped on the Food Network, and there stood Rashad Jones, in the pit with Bryan Furman. We went mid-afternoon on Sunday and they were very busy. I asked the server if they had been busier than usual because of the show and she said that half the people that had been in were there for the first time, because of the show. This time, I ordered the ribs and chopped pork (I knew I liked the pork), with mac-n-cheese and hash and rice. And a cracklin’ hoecake.
These are now my favorite ribs in Atlanta. Perfect smoke rib, almost-but-not-quite falling off the bone rib meat and a beautiful bark. Tender, flavorful and without the need for a sauce. And this hoecake, griddled with cracklings were addictive. My beloved suggested next time that I get carry-out, I just get brisket and hoecakes and we’ll make sliders when we get home. That sounds like something that ought to be on the menu. And we ordered dessert, which is a rarity (when it isn’t banana pudding), a peach crisp (because they were out of fried peach pies).
Oh, my. Like a crazy cobbler, with plenty of cinnamon and crunch from the crust. What good food.
And now B’s has been named “Atlanta Eater Restaurant of the Year 2017” and Bryan was named “Atlanta Chef of the Year 2017”. The accolades are spot-on. This place is the real deal.