It’s unfortunate that among all of the numerous barbecue joints inside the perimeter, there aren’t very many worth going to. Sadly, when asked for BBQ recommendations by others, I’m hesitant to even mention my favorite ITP que spot, Fox Brothers. While I really do enjoy their food, the quality of preparation is so spotty that you never no quite what you’re going to get when entering the Dekalb Avenue eatery. Finally, there is a new kid on the block: Community Q BBQ.
Located on Clairmont road in North Decatur, Community Q is pretty unassuming. As of right now they don’t even have a sign up for their storefront, just a banner. It was opening night, but I was literally the only customer inside. The interior space of the restaurant is typical of most BBQ spots, casual and comfortable. Low key. And, like any good Q spot, it actually smells like barbecue. You place your order at the counter and at least tonight, they have it ready for you in roughly three minutes. The two guys working there both kept up the friendly chit chat the entire time I was there and kept awkwardness at a minimum. I appreciate that.
Kins and I both ordered a rib combo plate and at $14.75, it’s a bargain. You have the option to get St. Louis cut pork ribs or beef short ribs. We both went by way of St. Louis. The meat is served with two sauces – a sweeter one and a vinegar one. The sweet is excellent but the vinegar was just too runny and I couldn't even get it to hang on to the meat. The rest of the items we ordered are as follows:
1. St. Louis Ribs – These were pretty excellent. While smoke-infused flavor wasn’t readily apparent, the ribs were still flavorful and extremely tender. Additionally the cut of meat was superb and lacked the large amounts of fat that can normally be found in most St. Louis ribs.
2. Pulled pork – This was just average. It was tender, but too dry. Nice smoke ring on it and again just the right combination of fat, bark, and lean meat in the serving. The sauce made any of its shortcomings magically disappear.
3. Brisket – This was the crowning achievement of Community Q. I would probably say it’s the best barbecued brisket I’ve ever had. Just perfect - it’s flavorful, smokey, and tender with the perfect amount of bite. Honestly, it’s incredible.
4. Mac and Cheese – This was incredible. While it doesn’t top Carver’s for me it’s up there on my list. The first thing I immediately noticed was the cream cheese base. It’s strong, but not overpowering. There’s definitely some cheddar and possibly American in this also, so it still looks orange and yellow like most mac and cheese. Additionally, they use much larger than average macaroni noodles.
5. Brunswick stew – Pretty standard fare. There’s pork, corn, tomatoes and broth. It’s on the medium side of thickness and consistency, but the flavor just doesn’t draw you in.
6. Fries – By themselves, these are just above average fries, however the seasoning is out of this world. It’s similar to a dry rub for BBQ, with sugar being the standout ingredient. They need to bottle this seasoning and sell it as it will improve most any french fry among other things. It was difficult to determine whether or not they were fresh cut or frozen, but I'm leaning toward fresh cut.
It’s pretty apparent that I really enjoyed the food here. To top it off, Community is ITP and economical. When asked where I would get barbecue in Atlanta, I now have a second alternative to suggest. Hopefully, if they keep their consistency up and improve their minor shortcomings, they can move up to my favorite spot.