As I leave Atlanta, I was thinking about my stay there. My expectations were pretty low. Not sure why and it certainly wasn't based on anything factual. Maybe cause there's no beach and no terrain. Plus I've had plenty of BBQ in the past year. Of course the Southern US is more than one big smoker. As I was searching for grass-fed BBQ, the unicorn of the culinary world, I found a place near me called Heirloom BBQ. I guess Google associates grass-fed with heirloom from the organic world. The website made no mention of grass fed beef but it did talk a big game in more of an artistic way rather than a macho way. There was mention of Korean influence and some of the items looked conspicuously Korean. From the reviews the owners are an American man and a Korean woman at which point John and Yoko came to mind.
I went there on Wednesday; a regular BBQ place, sauces on the tables and real casual. I had the ribs and brisket combo with a Brunswick stew on the side, apparently a Georgia dish. I avoided anything with Korean connotations as my home in Auburndale has many Korean restaurants. And then, in a metal tray, my food was brought to me. Brisket, ribs, a side of stew, and some token veggies, your standard BBQ. I go for the ribs, I bite, I chew, and then comes the surprise; Korean spices! I was blown away. Eventhough Korean influence in the BBQ should have been obvious, the obvious and I have a way of avoiding each other. With every bite I was taken back to my younger years when I wasn't on repeat of various foods. Like a child eating spicy ice cream for the first time I was estranged, intrigued, and smiling all at once. I won't bore you with more adjectives on the rest of my meal but the Brunswick stew was great.
I did ask if the meat came from grass fed animals and they said "no." Overall, don't expect BBQ to have grass fed meats. Good luck finding one and let me know when you do. Butcher Bar in Astoria, New York is a big exception to this.
When I travel I avoid going to the same place more than once. Going to a place more than once on a short trip and in a place with a population greater than 40,000 should mean something! And so I went back to Heirloom BBQ another time. This time on Friday before heading to the airport in Atlanta. I ate again and this time as I was prepared for the Korean spices I was able to enjoy things on a different level. No more was I the little kid having spiced ice cream for the first time. I knew what to expect and my taste buds were set to red alert playing more offense than defense this time around! Ahhh! That was good and then I wisked myself off to the airport to head to Portland, Oregon with its rich culinary offerings. Until, then stay hungry, unless John would eat it!