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Barbecue Road Trip in Georgia

Zelmos Zip In provides the necessary fuel for Georgia road trips.

  • Barbecue in the cosmopolitan areas of Georgia borrows elements from surrounding areas.

  • Georgia barbecue restaurants in small towns have a more distinctive style.

  • People plan Georgia road trips specifically to enjoy the delicious food and unique character that these establishments provide.

In the American South, barbecue has always been a major tradition. Georgia barbecue was considered the quintessential Southern barbecue in the late 19th and early 20th century because of the larger-than-life persona of Sheriff John W. Callaway, who gained national press attention as the overseer of the barbecue pits at large public events.

Unfortunately, the reputation of Georgia barbecue has taken a hit in recent years. The perception is that it incorporates elements from its neighbors but has no distinctive style of its own. The fact is that Georgia does have a distinct barbecue style, but you have to get out of the more cosmopolitan areas and explore the smaller towns to sample it. This quest has become so popular that people organize entire Georgia road trips around visiting obscure barbecue restaurants in out-of-the-way locations.

Whether you are a visitor or a lifelong resident of Georgia, barbecue road trips offer the opportunity to see more of the state. Here are some barbecue places to include in your itinerary as you plan your trip.

Bar H Barbecue

Dining at Bar H Barbecue is a little like visiting a distant relative's house for a special family dinner. Located in Franklin Springs, Bar H operates out of a house converted into a restaurant. It is only open four days a week, Thursday through Sunday. The menu varies from day to day, and once the food runs out, the restaurant doesn't prepare any more until the next day. However, as long as the supply of Brunswick stew holds out, servers carry it around in little pitchers to ask you if you want more if you finish your first helping.

Southern Soul Barbecue

This may be one of the most famous Georgia barbecue establishments in the state because of all the publicity it has received from magazine stories and features on the TLC and Food Networks. Thus, it may be difficult to believe that 15 years ago, this was only a pop-up that did business on a weekly basis. In 2007, the childhood friends behind Southern Soul established a brick-and-mortar location. Make your visit into an event by trying the Southern Soul Sampler with a bit of everything.

Fresh Air Barbecue

Fresh Air Barbecue has a limited menu to concentrate on a few items that it does very well. To set itself apart from other Georgia barbecue establishments, it changed its method of cooking. Fresh Air cooks its pork indirectly using smoke rather than with direct heat. Founded in 1929, Fresh Air has been family-owned and -operated since the mid-1940s.

Sconyers Bar-B-Que

Don't let the rustic country décor, e.g., old farm equipment arranged artfully in the yard, fool you. Sconyers Bar-B-Que has a long and eventful history, having catered to presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. With costumed employees greeting guests, part of Sconyers' appeal is its character. Another part of the appeal is South Carolina-style hash over rice, a relative rarity for Georgia barbecue. If you want pork skins, be sure to come on Thursday as that is the only day available. The restaurant is only open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Georgia road trips are a great way to see more of the state and learn about its culture. Plan to make pit stops at our 12 convenient Zelmos Zip In locations.

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