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Review: Sweet Georgia Brown in Dallas

Sweet Georgia Brown 2840 E. Ledbetter Dr. Dallas 214-375-2020

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily

Posted 10:29am on Monday, Oct. 31, 2011

I can’t complain: It has been a jaw-dropping (and closing) good year for food, and on my last visit to Sweet Georgia Brown in south Dallas, I hit the proverbial barbecue high point. So high, in fact, it’s hard to imagine any other similar restaurant — whether here, in Austin, or anywhere — matching its cooking superiority.

For nearly 20 years, Sweet Georgia Brown has been serving soul food sides and barbecue that you’d swear was christened by the gods of all that is tender and savory.

It’s an overly modest establishment. I wasn’t able to find a website, a takeout menu, or any other type of marketing collateral. But even though it doesn’t have a site of its own, Sweet Georgia Brown is a force to be reckoned with online, where it has amassed an insane pile of positive feedback: over 500 affirmations and counting, actually. It seems almost improbable.

So what’s all the fuss about? Here’s what makes this place so overwhelmingly barbecue-tastic:

First off, all meats are tender. Put away the knives. You can cut everything with a fork. Dry meat? Not today. Not even close.

Second, nothing is dull at Sweet Georgia Brown. From ribs ($14.49) to sausage ($11.89), everything is seasoned to dang-near perfection. If you’re in disbelief, look at it this way: It has had 20 years to hone its meaty craft.

Lastly, and most importantly, the food has a smoky refinement that doesn’t mask flavor. This is where most barbecue joints screw it up: They smoke the heck out of everything, suppressing vital flavors.

As a bonus, portions are generous.

The two-meat plate ($15.74) can easily feed two, and the three-meat plate ($17.39) might as well be a Thanksgiving meal.

You can also order meat by the pound ($9.28-$13.65), saving you dozens of barbecue-soaked dollars.

Choose from ribs, chopped beef, sliced beef, Polish sausage, and sausage links. It’s not the most comprehensive selection, but seriously, your brain won’t be able to handle any more than what this place already offers.

Make a dash for the ribs. Pound for pound, ribs typically have the highest cost and the highest let-down, but at Sweet Georgia Brown, the ribs got game. Meat falls off the bone clean, with a tenderness you’re unlikely to experience anywhere else. Sausage is spicy and juicy. And the sliced beef, hands down, is the best I’ve had in the past few years.

Most meals include three vegetables ($1.75-$2.75 if ordered separately).

Choose from broccoli (and rice), cabbage, corn, collard greens, fried okra, mashed potatoes (hint: try these), and sweet potatoes.

And plenty of barbecue joints claim their meats don’t need sauce, but as we all know, that’s usually a fallacy. While Sweet Georgia Brown makes no such claim, it sure could if it pleased. I didn’t even bother with the sauce — actually, I downright forgot about it. It took awhile, but I finally found a place that left me in a barbecue-induced bewilderment, mauling ribs like some wild creature from the Serengeti.

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