Updated: Aug 16, 2021
The beauty of Atlanta is our diversity. It’s true of our people and our barbecue.
In the Carolinas, they love their pork. And in Texas, they drive their cattle straight to the smokers. And happily, here in the capital of the south, we can enjoy some of the best of both passions without prejudice, thanks to a couple of Texan transplants––twin brothers and co-pitmasters Jonathan and Justin Fox.
They started doing their magic over smoldering hickory wood in 2007, serving smoked meats in Smith’s Olde Bar. It caught on like rice paper hugging a flame.
The brothers describe their barbecue as “Texas-style, southern-style,” and they serve it all: pulled pork, smoked brisket, chicken, all with your choice of regular sauce or spicy. Fox Bros. sauces are Texas tomato-based recipes with a savory flavor and nice vinegary kick. You’re not getting mustard or Carolina vinegar-based sauces here, so if that's your jam, BYOB. But if you like the brothers’ brews, you can find them in the local Atlanta grocery store. Patrick scored a three-pack at Costco and felt like he won the lottery.
Following a short hike on the Morningside Nature Trail, the kind of journey an actual outdoorsy type would call a casual stroll, Trailheads zipped across town to the Fox Bros. on DeKalb Ave. Parking is limited, and the table waits can be long in prime time. Still, we arrived on the early side of lunch and secured a six-top on the patio where Elvis and Fio could join us and continue their spirited discussion of squirrel anarchy and their evil plot to destroy the world. Our kind server brought our tailed pals bowls of cool, clear water––a refreshing chaser to the brown water they had been drinking on our hike.
Our kind server treated our motley crew with warm hospitality. We reviewed the extensive menu and selected a couple of table apps–– a dozen smoked chicken wings (extra crispy, please NOTE: ALWAYS request wings and pizza, extra crispy), and two small jalapeno cornbread loaves with honey butter. All TrailHeads agreed the wings are incredible, as good as wings get, and we cooed over our cornbread. While Roy liked it, he preferred the crispy cornbread at Moe’s.
Somewhere, a Fox brother cried. Moe is good with that.
Guy, who was eating healthy at his wife’s behest, ordered green beans as a side for his pulled pork. He described them as “sublime”- whatever the hell that means. A couple of Trailheads got green-gone-brown veggies––fried okra, which was superb. Who knew eating healthy could taste so good?
Steve gave his Brunswick stew GOAT status. Brad, who had served us some delicious ribs he’d made at our recent poker game, ordered the Fox Bros. pork ribs (St. Louis style). Brad said the ribs at Fox Bros. were the equal of Dreamland BBQ, which meant to the rest of us that they were the equal of Brad’s. We like Brad’s.
George and Patrick enjoyed bowls of Texas-style chili, which means no damn beans getting in the way of the flavorful meat. The Fox twins make theirs with beef brisket, and if you’ve never had Fox Bros. brisket, it’s the stuff that makes cowboys cry for joy. Tender, smokey, feeds the soul tastiness.
The three pulled pork eaters enjoyed their plates but believe Dreamland may have been better. All who sampled the coleslaw raved.
Trailheads stuffed themselves, and a couple of us got to-go boxes for leftovers. Our final verdict: Fox Bros. is a contender for the best barbecue we’ve sampled, but the nod to pulled pork may go to Dreamland. Our extensive research into Georgia barbecue must continue.
We believe in exhaustive, belly-bursting scientific studies.
One final note: Elvis and Fio think squirrels would be pretty good smoked. Trailheads did not comment but wondered if the regular or spicy sauce would be the best topper.
Rating: Four Ribs*
Fox Bros Bar-B-Q
1238 Dekalb Ave NE, Atlanta GA 30328
*About Our Barbecue Rating System
Trailheads do not claim to be food experts, epicureans, or sophisticated palettes. We are hungry hikers who attack a selected barbecue venue and ravage our way through whatever smoked fare and fixings they’re dishing.
Our reviews feature what we believe are the highlights of the menu we sampled. So our intent is not to trash talk the saintly folks who tend to smoldering smokers on hot, humid summer days. They are sacrificing themselves in the noble art of smoking meats and feeding the drooling masses. Many are independent entrepreneurs who are the backbone of this humming American economy.
Now that you know our standards, you may wonder why every barbecue place gets a four ribs rating. The answer is easy: we have acclaimed designers in our group, and they think the ribs graphic looks cool.
Who are we to argue? Enjoy.