On the drive east from I-85, we could hear the whirr of an overhead MARTA train. Graffiti filled walls and rubble-strewn parking lots were interspersed with gleaming new mixed-use buildings. In this emerging neighborhood southeast of downtown, we also located Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, which probably serves the best barbecue in Atlanta.
Twin brothers Justin and Jonathan Fox learned to love ‘cue growing up in Texas. In 2001, they started cooking backyard barbecue using drum smokers, charging $10 for all-you-can-eat meat and inviting friends like Widespread Panic to provide musical accompaniment. By 2004, the Fox brothers were drawing 200 people to their backyard. They graduated to Smith’s Olde Bar, which served as a test kitchen for their vision. Finally, the Fox Bros. opened a full-fledged restaurant near funky Little Five Points on Labor Day 2007.
You’ll find two main rooms inside, the walls lined with beer tins, fake road signs, old photos and the requisite pig imagery. Still, it’s much more pleasant to sit on the patio, surrounded by red walls and large groups of family and friends soaking up barbecue, beer, and the warm Georgia air.
The Fox Bros. recently upgraded their capacity to keep pace with ever-increasing catering demand. The smokehouse now holds three smokers: a 500-pound, 700-pound and a 1000-pound smoker. We learned that they cook pork for 12 hours between 205-220 degrees. Brisket smokes for 10 hours and the chicken, wings and baby back ribs require 3-5 hours of smoke buffeting.
For our BC Plate (3 meats and two sides for $16.95), my choices consisted of smoked (dark meat) chicken, pulled pork, baby back ribs, Brunswick Stew and collard greens. The ribs were especially good, sporting a dry rub and a shellacking of brown sugar that resulted in great caramelization and an almost bark-like exterior. The stew is a hearty Georgia classic loaded with pulled pork, tomatoes, lima beans and corn kernels. The collards had some good spice and none of the off-putting bitterness that pervades lesser greens.
Of course it’s worth mentioning the signature barbecue sauce, which had a deep burgundy hue, a tomato base and good viscosity. The sauce wasn’t overly sweet pretty and had a peppery finish.
We considered ordering a bowl of banana pudding or a slab of chocolate pecan pie, but decided to hold out for Morelli’s Gourmet Ice Cream.
So often, barbecue is most successful on the outskirts, but Fox Bros. helped to prove that there’s still hope for urban barbecue.
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December 26, 2012 at 4:30 AM
June 15, 2010 at 7:38 PM
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April 29, 2010 at 10:47 PM
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March 25, 2010 at 2:25 AM
Yes. Appetizing pictures)
December 5, 2009 at 3:02 PM
The killer dish at Fox Bros. is the beef rib special available on Thursday and Saturday only if memory serves me right. It is delicious barbecue in a city that has a few pretty good places — Fat Matt’s Rib Shack in Midtown, Daddy D’z in Grant Park, and Rolling Bones downtown are other reputed standouts.
December 5, 2009 at 5:24 PM
Sounds like we may have mistimed our visit to Fox Bros. Beef ribs are hard to do well, but it makes sense that Texans could pull them off. I remember liking Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, but not as well as Fox Bros. I’ll check out Daddy D’z and Rolling Bones in the future. Thanks.
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December 2, 2009 at 5:41 AM
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