Finding its roots in the Colonial South, barbeque has become the Americana food that defines easy livin’. There are two essential components of BBQ - a rich smoke and a flavorful rub or marinade. D.B.A. Barbecue has mastered both. Owner/ manager, Matt Coggin (La Tavola/ Rathbun’s Steak), working with his Mom, Lee, an Interior Designer, turned the space that once housed the upscale Vine into a “kick off your shoes” place with Mason jar lights and barn wood paneled walls creating the comforts of home, but with some New Orleans flair. Working his way through the food business, Matt learned the inner workings of the trade and the formula for success - good food at an affordable price, in a place where people can simply relax and have a good time.
The scent of smoked meats fills the air of the Morningside/ Highlands neighborhood and seems to magically pull you through the door. Once inside, the aromas intensify to the point that it’s fruitless to try not to drool. To create this sensation, a good BBQ joint needs a seasoned pit master who understands the art of barbequing- low, slow cooking. Matt snagged his friend, Drew Kirkland, from Rathbun’s along with his Lang smoker to cook up some outstanding BBQ. The D.B.A. Texas Margarita, with its semi-tart citrus flavors, helped to calm the savage carnivorous emotions. There are also some fun fruit inspired drinks, the Watermelon Caipirinha and the Peach Mojito that will make letting go of summer somewhat hard. These drinks are so refreshing and way too easy to enjoy. Besides these spins on Southern delights, there is a laundry list of outstanding beers. You can’t go wrong here; the smokiness of the meats pairs perfectly with the hop and malt flavors of a cold beer - besides isn’t beer good for the heart?
Erin, our bubbly server, started the picnic-like feast with the fluffiest Warm White Cheese Muffins that ever graced a table. The soulful treats quickly got better with the best ever Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs - perfect texture, flavors, and consistency - these are way better than any you find at some potluck dinner. The jumbo Georgia White shrimp wrapped in bacon, lightly fried, tossed in a spicy BBQ sauce, resting on a bed of outrageous slaw is way too good to be shared. But, the one that drove me absolutely crazy is the Fried Shell Bai Pickles from Hermann’s Pickle Farm in Ohio. Don’t miss this- the fried pickle spears are served with thick strips of batter-fried applewood smoked bacon. If this doesn’t flip your Wow switch, I don’t know what will.
The treats from the smoker are numerous. The super-sized “The D.B.A. Whole House” is a nice way to sample a bit of everything coming from Drew’s smoker. The pleasing aromas of oak and pecan woods impart a nice nutty smoky flavor on all of the meats. I feel that, with this type of richness and quality, why add any sauce? If you must, however, there are three to choose from. The smokehouse tour consists of perfectly seasoned Baby Back ribs that are meaty, pink colored, and so tender with a pleasant spicy finish. Forget the napkin, just lick your fingers, you know you want to. Even better, are the larger Memphis style Spare Ribs that have a nice smoky, crunchy bark on the outside, but an oh-so-juicy inside. If you aren’t finger licking by now, you need another beer.
The meat frenzy doesn’t stop here - there’s the pulled pork shoulder with a touch of crispness that has rich smoky, juicy flavors that are lip smacking good. The fork-tender Texas style beef brisket is cooked to absolute perfection, a brined then smoked turkey breast, and a moist pulled chicken are all mouth-watering delights. Then there’s the succulent smoked wings, which are flash fried for that extra crunch. Of the many tasty sides, I loved the baked beans that were slightly tangy with a nice sweet finish. A close second is the grilled Texas creamed corn with an aioli mayonnaise, lime and cayenne pepper whose flavors reminded me of corn I once had from a street vendor in Mexico.
The only serious faces at this BBQ joint are those looking at the pile of bones and contemplating what’s next. Don’t worry; D.B.A has some straightforward spectacular Southern desserts. The banana pudding with Nilla Wafers and touch of homemade whip cream is to die for. D.B.A. Barbecue is about comfort, relaxation, and some down home finger licking fun.
LGBT FRIENDLY ***** (Good Times For All)
FOOD ***** (Search Out Daily Specials)
PRICE ***** (Good Eats at a Good Price)
AMBIENCE ***** (Comforting/ Patio Dining)
DRINKS **** (Southern Inspired Cocktails/ Beer List)
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