The first words when we got back into the car after lunch? “Unlike most barbecue places you take me to, this actually was delicious.” That’s high praise, being sung shortly after high noon. After a morning spent walking up and down Stone Mountain, we were ready for lunch and my eyes had been set on Greater Good Barbecue for about two months. Maybe longer, ever since a friend sent me a picture of their Pimento BBQ Pork Potato Skins.
We arrived around 11:15, shortly after they opened and would have thought, by looking at the parking lot, that they weren’t open. But the “Open” sign in the window, and all of the employees’ cars parked in the shade along the back of the lot proved differently. They told us to sit anywhere, so we took a spot on the porch as there was a nice breeze. (“Nice breeze” is a gentle word for the wind that ultimately threw paper towels and menus all over the porch). We started by ordering the pork skins, then I began a survey of the sauces:
Their house sauce was okay (it was served on the potato skins) and it seemed to be the basis for at least two of the others. The sweet sauce was like the house sauce, with more molasses or brown sugar – it was thick and sweet and tasty. The hot sauce was like the house sauce, but had a kick to it, being my second favorite of the group. But the “Carolina” sauce was wonderful – like a mix of two classic Carolina sauces. Half mustardy / half vinegar and pepper flakes equals all good. It was exceptional. The potato skins (other than being topped with non-disclosed slaw) were very good, with the mixture of pork, pimento cheese, potato and the (added) hot barbecue sauce being very tasty.
Jo ordered the 1/4 chicken, baked beans and cole slaw (I failed to get a picture of her meal). I ordered the Lil’ Smokey (2 meat / 2 sides combo), with pulled pork and ribs, fries and mac and cheese. They do have a “Pitmaster” plate with four meats and two sides, which we separately considered sharing, but neither mentioned.
Here’s the oddest thing about the meal – of the four sides that we ordered, three were bland. The fries were crispy and okay, but: the baked beans were like pork and beans with no sweetness; the mac and cheese was not terribly flavorful; and the slaw was neither vinegary nor sweet. When the manager came by and asked about our meals, we complimented the meats, but mentioned the lack of flavor in the baked beans. He said that they must not have left them in the smoker long enough, but asked if we liked green beans. Within five minutes a cup of their green beans arrived, filled with pork, tomatoes and potatoes and they were as flavorful as the other three were bland. That little white ceramic bowl was emptied.
As we told the manager, the meats were amazing. The chicken was the best barbecue chicken that I’ve had in years – smoky, moist and tender. And they served it with a “white” barbecue sauce that they made with cream, horseradish and Ancho chiles (according to our server) that Jo said was the perfect complement to the chicken. Not being a horseradish fan, I declined the sauce but the sample of the chicken that I was given was full of flavor. The pulled pork was truly pulled – served in big chunks / strips and very smoky. I made two small half sandwiches on the two slices of Texas toast (one from each of our meals), slathered in the Carolina barbecue sauce.
The ribs were baby backs, with a sugary taste in the rub on the bark, quite meaty and cooked perfectly. The meat pulled from the bone with ease and we (I shared one of the bones) picked the bones clean. I ordered both meats dry and found that the sweet and hot sauces mixed on the ribs and the Carolina sauce on the pork were excellent. Their pitmaster was at the top of his game today.
While we were finishing up, we asked the server about the name, as most barbecue restaurants are named for the owners. He said that the two owners wanted to open a place for the “greater good of Tucker”, and at that point they didn’t even know it would be a barbecue joint. They’ve succeeded in opening a place with great meat coming off the pit, and have a second location on Roswell Road, in Buckhead, that we’ll be visiting in the coming weeks.