Updated: Jan 28, 2022
The Trailheads (sans George, who is hobnobbing with Olympics bigwigs in Switzerland) ventured into virgin territory: The Yellow River Park Loop in Stone Mountain. Who knew there was a Yellow River? We didn't. This is a beautiful trail meandering along the scenic river. We came to a fork in the road and took the path less followed (the one littered with the bones of Robert Frost). Then, all hell broke loose!
A sign warned we were entering "private property." The law-abiding Trailheads (Steve, Roy, Brad, and Patrick) stopped, not wishing to test the leniency of Georgia gun laws. But trail master Guy urged us to follow his illegal lead into the forbidden lands. We refused. We believe in law and order.
We sat trembling in fear and crying. Guy called us nasty names, kicked sand in our faces, and forged ahead with his loyal law-breaking furry friend Fio. Guy was probably one of those jazz cigarette-smoking, rock 'n roll listening radicals who burned flags and bras in college.
We waited patiently for our prodigal son's return and concocted our story for Guy's wife Patty when we returned one hiker short. Standing close by us was a fellow who stood out in the wooded area, off-trail, by a large tree with his phone and a plastic bag full of who knows what? He kept glancing at us with suspicion. We kept an eye on him. Finally, he left, and we hypothesized many stories about what might have been going down with him. Nothing good, we suspected. But all interesting.
When Guy returned, he told us of a land of milk and honey. We told him to shut his piehole and get us on a proper trail. We proceeded to have an enjoyable journey on a crisp, clear, cool winter day.
Famished from our brouhaha and hike, we headed into Atlanta's Summerhill neighborhood for Wood's Chapel BBQ, located in the long shadow of The Ted–– the old Braves stadium now owned by GSU. The entire area is transforming with new restaurants, housing, and shops.
The people behind Wood's Chapel BBQ also own and operate The General Muir, Fred's Meat & Bread, and other successful eateries. How would their barbecue joint rate on the palates of Trailheads?
The place was a hit. Trailheads threw around superlatives like a drunk conventioneer with a wad of singles at a strip club. Were we that drunk conventioneer, we would have been "making it rain!"
Brad declared Wood's Chapel BBQ "the best" he has had in our travels. He raved about the beef brisket, loved his baked beans (a crazy mixture of bean types, large and small, with brisket ends), and proposed marriage to his potato salad.
Guy sampled the glistening, lacquered, barbecue chicken and was too busy stuffing his gob to comment much, but the clean-picked bones left behind gave a good indication of his opinion. The law-breaking desperado liked his greens but was rather indifferent to the slaw. Maybe it should have had a 'no trespassing' sign on it. That may have made it more appealing to the bad boy. Or it could have been the beet juice tinting the slaw a pinkish purple color.
Steve raved about his pulled pork sandwich and baked beans but wasn't a fan of the slaw with beets. What is it with beets anyway? Roy, who had sampled Wood's Chapel once before, loved him some brisket, greens, and slaw. Roy embraces the beet. The greens were full of flavor and meat. And while they were salty, they weren't a salt bomb like so many we have sampled. Thinking one move ahead, Roy got a pound and a half of smoked meats, beans, and greens to go for dinner.
Brad and Roy agreed (and that's rare) you should ask for the fatty or "wet" brisket slices. The lean slices were great, but the flavor's in the fat. The sauces came in small tubs. Woods Chapel BBQ wants you to focus on the meat, not the sauce. But both the vinegar and the sweet varieties were tasty and added a nice compliment to the smoked meats.
Patrick went for a chopped brisket sammie. He appreciated the toasted bun capable of handling the hefty pile of meat. While he liked the beef's flavor, he wished it had more smoky character. He's a smoke guy. The Brunswick stew is thick and hearty, chocked-full of brisket, sausage, tomato, corn, and lima beans. It is one spoon-bending, rib-stickin', stewy stew with a nice flavor.
The restaurant space is beautiful, the service is attentive and helpful, and the spacious patio is an ideal place to camp out and enjoy some excellent barbecue. Elvis and Fio certainly enjoyed it.
The Trailheads agree, with no fights among the group––we're fans of Wood's Chapel BBQ. And since it is private property, Guy was happy to trespass. Please give it a go.
Rating: Four Ribs*
Wood's Chapel BBQ
85 Georgia Ave SE, Atlanta GA 30312
*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.