The managing editor and I were out junkin'; we caught the aroma in the air. That wafting olfactory announcement that makes any advertisement for a real BBQ place superfluous. That flying scent of hardwood smoke mixed with the glorious dripping of the heat liquefied fat of swine. I knew what was for lunch.
Let me start by saying that I hold a skepticism for BBQ places with more than one location. It can be done, but it rarely works. And any BBQ place that sells their sauce in stores in suspect as well. BBQ is supposed to be made in a place you have to think twice about walking into. BBQ in a strip mall is O-U-T. Not even a consideration. Forget it. There's a reason we call it a BBQ joint.
Enter Williamson Brothers in Marietta. In the interest of disclosure, Williamson Brothers has locations in Douglasville and Canton. The first time I had heard of them was when I saw bottles of their sauce in a local grocery storeThe Roswell Road location is in an out-parcel in an old strip mall. Warning bells were going off, but the smell was just too good.
We were seated promptly despite a rather robust crowd within the restaurant. The meal started with an appetizer - fried green tomatoes. The portion was generous. The tomatoes were excellent. Steaming hot and cooked well without being turned into mush. And these tomatoes were thickly sliced. The breading was perfectly light and crisp with a tantalizing blend of seasonings. Served with a jalapeno ranch dipping sauce, they easily could have been a meal or so says the managing editor.
The menu was large and diverse. But I didn't follow the aroma to find myself eating a cheeseburger. I wanted to know the truth. I ordered the pork sandwich and it was a good chopped sandwich with enough sauce to get the job done, but not so much as to overwhelm the flavor of the meat. My wife, preferring a slightly sweet BBQ sauce, found the original sauce fit her taste buds and I was satisfied by its slight heat. This generous sandwich was more than enough for lunch, and the seasoned steak fries were a nice side.
Although quite full, when there is pecan pie, there is room for dessert. It wasn't as good as Mama's or the managing editor's. It didn't come with the managing editor's exquisite bourbon whipped cream. (See Our Dixie New Year). However, it was a nice slice of pecan pie and it was hot on arrival. It was a quite fitting desert to follow up some Georgia BBQ.
On the way out, I took a look at the meat cooking. The pit is open with the meat rotating in plain view. It makes the menu decision all the more difficult as you watch the ribs and other meats going up and down and around as the smoke wafts up all around it. The cook must be used to folks catching photos of his handiwork, or at least his reaction indicated that was the case.
So the food was good, the service was excellent, the price was decent. It was a good experience all the way around. And, if you're in the area and in the mood for junkin', The Classy Flea and the Marietta Antique Mall flank the restaurant on each side. So don't let the location fool you. Williamson Brothers is a good stop. Check them out.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire