I cant 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, its 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 youd swear was christened by the gods of all that is tender and savory.
Its an overly modest establishment. I wasnt able to find a website, a takeout menu, or any other type of marketing collateral. But even though it doesnt 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 whats all the fuss about? Heres 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 youre 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 doesnt 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. Its not the most comprehensive selection, but seriously, your brain wont 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 youre unlikely to experience anywhere else. Sausage is spicy and juicy. And the sliced beef, hands down, is the best Ive 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 dont need sauce, but as we all know, thats usually a fallacy. While Sweet Georgia Brown makes no such claim, it sure could if it pleased. I didnt 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.