Bro-ing down at B’s Crack­lin’ Bar­be­cue

GA Voice - - Front Page -

As you know, gay men are ob­sessed with be­ing “masc.” To earn the dis­tinc­tion re­quires, ac­cord­ing to so­cial me­dia sites, that you en­joy col­lege foot­ball, out­door ac­tiv­i­ties (like pool par­ties?) and, weirdly, grilling. Yep, the girly men can bake cornbread, but only a man’s man can bar­be­cue a pig butt.

Prob­a­bly the most manly bar­be­cue th­ese days is to be found at

in the River­side neigh­bor­hood in west At­lanta

cue B’s Crack­lin’ Barbe- (2061 Main St., 678-949-9912, bscrack­linbbq.com).

The owner-pit­mas­ter is Bryan Fur­man, who opened a restau­rant of the same name in Sa­van­nah in 2014. It was an in­stant hit, earn­ing men­tions on “best of ” lists at the na­tional level. Un­for­tu­nately, that restau­rant burned down in 2015, but quickly re­opened in an­other Sa­van­nah lo­ca­tion. Last year, Fur­man and his wife Nikki added the At­lanta venue.

The restau­rant – or “joint,” if you pre­fer – is no-frills and has two din­ing ar­eas. The sun­lit room up front in­cludes only com­mu­nity ta­bles. The larger, darker main din­ing room is more di­verse and also in­cludes a full bar. The space is large, so I doubt there’s ever much of a wait.

What makes the bar­be­cue so un­usu­ally good? Fur­man had a stroke of ge­nius when he was plan­ning his first restau­rant: He only smokes lo­cal her­itage hogs. If you’re a BBQ freak, you’ll rec­og­nize the dif­fer­ence in taste right away. The fla­vor of the pork and ribs is so, um, meaty that I found my­self not even go­ing for the sauces. The rib meat is firm, not fall­ing apart, which for some rea­son is pre­ferred by many peo­ple. The brisket is as­tound­ing. The fat slices of meat are sur­rounded by a layer of slightly charred fat. The chicken was the most bur­nished of the meats I sam­pled. It, like ev­ery­thing else, was juicy. Too many restau­rants smoke their meats to the point of des­ic­ca­tion. Then you have to pump so much sauce on your plate that you lose the fla­vor of the meat it­self.

What first com­pelled me to visit B’s was learn­ing that Fur­man grew up in South Car- olina, where mus­tard-based sauces are most pop­u­lar. His is phe­nom­e­nal. It’s in­fused with peaches, the sweet­ness of which col­lides with the strong mus­tard. It should be avail­able at bet­ter gro­cery stores that have a crack aisle. He also makes the sauce I grew up eat­ing – North Carolina’s vine­gar-based con­coc­tion. I found it to be es­pe­cially good squirted on the brisket. There’s a third ketchupy Ge­or­giastyle sauce. No thanks.

Any veg­gie sides are lo­cally sourced. The col­lards, how­ever, were so com­pli­cated, all I could taste was a mish­mash of fla­vors. I think I even de­tected cumin. The mac ‘n’ cheese was as rich as it gets. Ba­nana pud­ding was as sweet as it gets.

Com­plaints? Only one. When I or­dered my meal, I asked for crack­lin’ cornbread. The server told me it came with all plates. What I re­ceived, though, was a sweet hoe­cake. It was de­li­cious, but I wanted those lit­tle chunks of pork skin that my mother put in her sug­ar­free cornbread.

Oh. One more com­plaint. The por­tions are ab­nor­mally gi­gan­tic. But, hey, what could be more masc than bran­dish­ing half a chicken in one hand and a rack of ribs in the other? Let’s eat this thing, bro.

Cliff Bostock is a for­mer psy­chother­a­pist now spe­cial­iz­ing in life coach­ing. Con­tact him at 404-518-4415 or cliff­bo­stock@gmail.com.

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