The AJC recently bestowed the title of “Best Ribs” in Atlanta to Marietta based Grand Champion (GC) BBQ, so being the lover of pork that I am and always wanting to compare the best to my efforts, I made a special trip up to check them out. Robert Owens & Gregory Vivier opened GC in July of this year (2011) and have been receiving accolades ever since.
The first thing that hits you is the smell of the cue and the sight of several absurdly large pies on the countertop; each piece is enough for a family of four. Unfortunately I was way too full to try them, but the couple next to us assured me of their quality and I will be back to sample them.
The restaurant itself is tucked away in a strip mall and is rather small. It’s an order at the counter joint with booths and even a picnic table in the back to provide a little nostalgia; you definitely get the “I’m at a good friend’s house/family BBQ, except these folks can actually cook” feel.
On this quick visit, we sampled the aforementioned ribs, the pulled pork sandwich and a few of the sides. Let’s just cut to the chase and go straight to the ribs!
They had a nice char and pulled away from the bone with ease, but you could actually pick them up without the pork falling apart, which I like…people that boil ribs make me want to puke. They don’t overpower the pork with a strong dry rub either; the smoke and the flavor speak for themselves. Were the best ribs I have ever tried…no, but they’re pretty damned good and I will order them again. The pulled pork was also good; it was moist, had good flavor and was served on toast which I prefer to an oversized bun that turns the sandwich into a carb-fest.
GC serves up traditional BBQ sides: mac n cheese, baked beans, collards, Brunswick stew, etc, but their coleslaw was amazing; it was chunky and had a sweet taste from either pear or jicama…it even included poppy seeds.
GC also sells meat by the pound and has three sizes of sides; they also do different things around the holidays like turkeys. I was very pleased with my first visit to GC and am looking forward to going back in the coming weeks. They are a welcome addition to the BBQ scene in the metro and I highly encourage folks to check the out!