Two Trailheads weren't able to make this week's adventure. George was taking his wife to the airport for a flight to New York City, where their son lives. Of course, the city was being attacked by Canadian wildfire smoke, smothered in the polite air contaminants up north. "Excuse us, but do you mind if we smoke?"
An oral surgeon had Steve strapped into a chair for some serious dental work. We imagine the scene from "Marathon Man," with the patient repeatedly interrogated by his sadistic teeth doc, "Is it safe? Is it safe?!" We wanted no part of this drama.
Here's a funny anecdote for trivia fans. When filming that haunting scene of the movie, Dustin Hoffman stayed up all night and ran miles before coming to the shoot. He bragged to the director and the crew about his dedication to "the method" in achieving this level of authentic exhaustion. Playing Dr. Szell, Laurence Olivier asked proud Dusty, "My boy, have you never heard of acting?" Point, set, match, Sir Larry!
With two down, our crew had four determined outdoorsmen: Trail Master Guy, Brad, Roy, and Patrick, plus three dogs, Elvis, Fio, and Nilla, who would attack the Lullwater Loop Trail, beginning in Hahn Woods. We hiked the Woods before (read about it here, sports fans).
Before we began, Brad noticed his Ford Mustang EV had its lights on. Brad is always encouraging us petrol junkies to come over to the electric side of things, but he's often tinkering with something or other with his EV. Brad got on his handy app and did some tech wizardry to get his vehicle shipshape.
We suspect he will eventually transform into an electric car, shades of David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight in "Night Rider" (how's that for a deep cut of arcane trivia?). The Hoff was a big singing star in Europe. We don't see Brad going that route, but who knows? Maybe.
We began the journey and were soon at the creek's edge. The dogs went for a dip, then fought like cats and dogs. It was a beautiful day, so there was no rain like cats and dogs. Perhaps falling from the sky is why the animals fight. How about that hypothesis, science?
Guy raised a headscratcher of a question. In the Bachman Turner Overdrive song "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet," what is the "devil woman" talking about to her lover? What is it he hasn't seen yet? Is there a big surprise coming? The song has high drama with stuttering vocals and everything. No wonder it shot to #1. Whatever that "nothin'" was, it would be somethin' "you're never gonna forget."
BTO was a Canadian band (Grand Funk Railroad was an American band). Was this "nothin'" the Great North Rockers forecast for the wildfire smoke of June 2023? Let's face it; they promised, "B-b-b-baby, you just ain't seen na-na-nothin' yet." Those orange skies over Manhattan are apocalyptic and spooky like we've never seen. BTO foretold attacking our airspace––another conspiracy theory was born.
Along the path, we approached a beautiful, staggered waterfall over a sweet little dam and did a group shot. A kind couple watched us and offered to take our picture.
"Yes, please," we said. Guy usually takes our group shots, and his melon fills half the frame. The friendly man snapped some pics, and we returned the favor for the helpful couple, then went on our way.
We hiked along the creek, crossed roads, and went along the pond into the Emory University campus. Many other hikers, runners, and bikers passed us along the way. Trailheads needed more game to keep up with these spry folks. If that wasn't enough we even had to share the path with a rather hoggish dump truck.
Seeing one vehicle on the trail is unusual. But today we saw two. As we trudged along we happened to look up and saw blue flashing lights and a police car. A police car? Come on! We didn't do anything. No one littered. The dogs didn't chase any children up a tree. For that matter, neither did Patrick, which is unusual. We assumed our mug shots were being flashed on the computer screen in the car at this very moment. Perhaps facial recognition was pinning Jimmy Hoffa on us. We knew we didn't do it because George did and he was on the lam. So we walked by slowly, looking away and whistling, ready to break into a run at the drop of a hat or the sting of a Taser.
The Denver Nuggets Nikola Jokic's ears must have burned as we discussed his greatness and how much fun he is to watch playing. Patrick speculated that a skilled basketball player like Nikola must earn upwards of $56,000 yearly. Maybe even $57K! His partners were mum, no doubt surveying a good spot for a shallow grave.
In our search for a soft spot to dig, we came upon a suspended bridge. The dogs weren't so keen on crossing it. For one thing, they could see through the bridge to the ground. And while dogs are fun-loving, these three are definitely not swingers, So that rocking the motion was not their thing. The bridge looked substantial and we gave it a shot. There were tears and screams of terror, but they made it across. Elvis, Fio, and Nilla just shook their heads. And tails.
We had been hiking a good while, and Guy wanted to extend our journey, but the other Trailheads protested--it was feeding time for their barbecue tapeworms, so we began heading back. Everyone was excited because our destination was the original Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q on Dekalb Ave (we have visited it before, read about it here). Suddenly, the guys had some pep in their steps. The dogs had trouble keeping up with us.
The Brothers Fox are perennial favorites on best barbecue joint lists. Why? Because they have no weaknesses and flex their barbecue chops with flair. Brisket? Check. Chicken? Uh-huh. Pulled pork? Slam dunk. Smoked wings? Bam! Sausage? Hot damn. The sides are also all-star quality. If you were on death row and picking your last meal, ask for a Fox Bros. menu and go out like a champ. (By the way, what evil did you do to get into that sticky situation?)
Our friendly server brought us even more sunshine. The smiling woman's name is Yumouria or Renee, she'll answer to either, and she was terrific. Our check had one name on it and she told Patrick the other name. He said that was the story of his dating life. Women gave him fake names or numbers. Renee (we’ll go with that) got the dogs water, then beverages for the humans. We hungrily eyed the menu and the specials.
On this fine day, the theme was "Chicken Fried," the daily special appetizer was chicken fried spareribs. Guy said, "You had me at 'chicken fried.' Get a load of the description of these babies: "Our slow smoked St. Louis ribs, cooled, double cut, soaked in buttermilk and Texas Pete, then breaded and fried golden brown. Try the white sauce!" No poet ever wrote such beautiful prose. We placed our chicken fried orders.
The chicken fried ribs showed up like manna from barbecue heaven. But first, we had to discuss and debate the difference between "Country Fried" and "Chicken Fried." Is fried chicken fried or country fried? Should it have its own category? We ask profound questions but weren't getting fried chicken. Hell, they don't even have that, so what did it matter? But we digress. Kindly Guy shared the little tray of ribliciousness, and we enjoyed the flavorful crispy coating on succulent rib meat. Shazam––our magic mouths turned the ribs into a pile of bones. Let's go to the main event.
Patrick ordered a two-meat combo that comes with two sides. He ran the meat bases of pulled pork, four smoked wings, a side of brisket chili, and tots. That's three animal groups and spud babies. No chili compares with Fox. Bros. thick, savory, spicy all brisket recipe. And their smoked wings ("Extra Crispy-Wet!" Patrick had demanded) are also championship quality. The pulled pork was unsurpassed, and the tots were tater-ummmm. He couldn't begin to finish his lunch, so he had leftovers.
Guy had the grilled chicken and became an instant fanboy for its gloriously seasoned flavor. Trail Master and Brad had sides of fried okra and shared. The whole okra is battered and fried to crispy perfection. Take a bite, and you're in love, even if you don't like okra. It's "fried," for crying out loud––get happy!
Roy savored a bite and said, "That may be the best bite of pulled pork I've ever had. It was the perfect mixture of bark with tender meat." He was in pig heaven. Our resident slaw expert also gave a thumbs up to the coleslaw. Cabbage did not die in vain.
Brad had a combo of smoked wings and brisket. He held up a slab of juicy brisket and crowed, "Look at that, boys––perfection!" He made short work of the beef treat.
Alabama native sons Roy and Brad raved about their collard greens. "They're perfectly seasoned," said Brad before shoveling some into his gob. He likewise loved his crispy wings and slaw.
Renee came by to check on us, and we cooed. Trailheads were in meat comas.
We put some of our "Trailheads Approved" stickers by the door and left groggy and smiling. It was an excellent hike and a glorious feast at one of our favorite barbecue joints. And all of us made it out alive. As for Steve, he was probably still in his dentist's chair, answering the probing, painful question, "Is it safe?"
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: our group has acclaimed designers, and they think the ribs graphic looks cool.
Who are we to argue? Enjoy.