Okay, you’ve come to Savannah for the history, the architecture, the fine dining scene, or maybe even a ghost tour weekend getaway. But where can you grab a quick, cheap bite (under ten bucks a plate) where the locals eat? Southerners eat a lot of barbecue, and the secret to finding the locals’ faves is to remember that the very best BBQ is usually found in an alley (or lanes, as we call them in Savannah’s Historic District). The purest practitioners of the art of barbecue in these parts aren’t showing off their cooking skills in gleaming restaurants right on the main highway, complete with their own brand of mass-produced sauces; instead, you’ll find the true Jedi Masters of fall-off-the-bone-deliciousness smokin’ slow and low in a hole-in-the-wall backdoor joint that makes the average tourist waver at the door, wondering if they’ve maybe found the wrong place. But have no fear, you’re in the right spot to find out all about the two best barbecue joints in the entire South, and we locals are lucky they both call Savannah home.
Angel’s BBQ- 21 West Oglethorpe Lane- (912) 495-0902
Tucked in behind the Independent Presbyterian Church on Oglethorpe Lane is Angel’s BBQ, a Mom-and-Pop-run Memphis-style BBQ enclave in the Carolina-style South. Follow your nose (and the hickory smoke) to find some of the best 'cue in the city. If you’re unfamiliar with Memphis-Style, the main sauce used (although there are other options) is not overly mustardy or cloyingly sweet, but tangy tomato with just the right amount of vinegary zip. The no-frills menu consists of pulled pork, chicken, brisket, BBQ bologna and vegetarian (named ‘Faux-Q’). You have the option of a BBQ sandwich or a plate (meaning served on or off the bun) and sides consist of mac & cheese, baked beans, cole slaw, fries, or an intriguing collard green concoction fixed up with peanut sauce. Some sauce or spice options are on the table, and the BBQ sauces are home-made, which is a nice touch. If you’re looking for a cheap yet satisfying lunch, look no further. And if you’re a connoisseur of good barbecue, you may have found a little slice of heaven at Angel’s.
Walls’ BBQ- 515 E. York Lane- (912) 232-9754
The fact that Walls’ BBQ is located in a decidedly-non touristy section of town is your tip-off that this little BBQ joint is mostly a delicious, locals-only secret. Walls’ is only open on Thursdays (5-9), Fridays and Saturdays (both 12-9). They serve one sauce here, and it is a Georgia BBQ variety (a nice balance between tomato and mustard). The meats vary sometimes in availability, including catfish, chopped pork, and fried chicken, but they are most famous for their ribs. Oh, those ribs! They serve a full variety of sides, including mac & cheese, green beans, blackeyed peas, collard greens, and rice (both sides and entrees are big portions). If you love good authentic Georgia style BBQ, you’re fixin' to leave happy.
Remember, the Southern rule of thumb is, the fancier the restaurant, the worse (and more expensive) the barbecue! Just remember to check out these two on-the-lane gems and you'll be dining like a local in no time.