Ready your belly and gird yourself for battle, for the holy pilgrimage is upon us again: Meat Week, the annual 'cue crusade that leads hungry carnivores on a quest through the greatest barbecue establishments in Atlanta. Over the course of a week, barbecue connoisseurs of all kinds will march, like a league of hungry generals, from Grant Park to Decatur and beyond to sate their meat-lust. And you too can join in on some sauce-smothered hedonism. While the festivities officially commenced this past Sunday at Daddy D'z, there's still plenty of time to hop aboard the meat-wagon. Go whole hawg, ATL:
Tuesday: Burnt Fork BBQ
Just because it's Meat Week doesn't mean our vegetarian and vegan pals can't hang, too. In addition to their beloved barbecued meatstuffs, Burnt Fork also offers smoked, locally made tofu and a whole slew o' vegan-approved sides.
Wednesday: Bone Lick
Skeeball, Space Invader and barbecue so good, it was famous before it even had its own restaurant: that's pretty much the story of Mike LaSage's Westside 'cue joint. Bone Lick, which got its start as a weekly pop-up BBQ special at P'cheen, now whips up chef-driven takes on timeless classics: spicy boiled peanuts, hot 'n fresh pork rinds, and of course, the pulled pork sandwiches that made this joint famous. (Don't skip the bacon-infused Old Fashioned cocktails, either.)
Thursday: DBA Barbecue
Ask any intown barbecue aficionado, and they'll tell you: this Virginia-Highland staple reigns supreme as some of the best brisket in town. Heads up: if you make it out of there without trying the grilled Texas creamed corn, we're going to have to revoke your 'cue card.
Friday: Smoke Ring
Chef Jordan Wakefield, a born-and-bred Georgia boy with a predilection for pork, opened his Smoke Ring in Castleberry Hill earlier this year as a way to, as he says, "showcase barbecue at a higher level." Translation: putting fancy chef twists on age-old recipes, like adding a dab of bacon-bourbon marmalade atop those deviled eggs. See also: pig ear fries 'n moonshine (and a shiny Handpicked deal courtesy of yours truly).
Saturday: Heirloom Market
Don't stop now, meat-marathoners: the best is yet to come. Barbecue veterans speak of Heirloom Market in hushed, reverent tones: the melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork, the tempura sweet potatoes, the magic of Korean influences on Southern-style plates... and, of course, the ridiculously tiny space crammed with chowhounds looking for a taste of that nearly legendary brisket. A fitting way to honor this hallowed annual pilgrimage by completely pigging out one... last... time. May the meat be with you.