By Frank Mack
With the Swallow At The Hollow and Greenwoods on Green Street passing into Roswell culinary history, the questions begging for answers are many. Where do we go for barbeque, fried chicken and pie now? Where do we eat? Who will take care of us? Who will feed us now?
Great cooks don’t fall out of trees, though barstools are another story.
Like most exceptional cooking, the plan is pretty simple. To do great barbeque you’ve got to source the killer fat content meats. The meat at any barbeque joint, worth a grain of salt, does not go from cold to stove. Rather, it smokes for hours, if not days. The sauces are unique and loved into existence from peppers and spice over time and heat. All of this is done slowly, very slowly.
The smoke box itself is serious science and it takes years of study to get it right. You have to know it by sight, smell, and ear as you build intuition. Legendary pit bosses swear with enough experience you can hear the perfect sizzle. They cook with amazing patience.
Brian Keenan, master smoker of Meating Street Barbeque in Roswell, is a Southern boy born and raised. The Carolinas made him and Roswell has him. Brian is a totally self-trained smoker, building his craft over the decades. From backyard, to catering, to the new brick and mortar location he’s been honing his skills. I don’t mind saying he ready for primetime.
The pictures say it all. The man’s sweet smoky ribs fall off the bone. A mound of his pulled pork is delightful and the brisket goes savory soft and succulent. The sides are not an afterthought either, as the beans are to die for and the slaw is special. To wash it all down they feature local suds, sodas, and the smiles are real.
Meating Street BBQ is simply lip- smacking delicious. They feature a custom-built smoke trailer running purely on wood that can feed up to 300 folks in a single cook. They also have a storefront and smiles from ear to ear. Now all the Keenan family needs is you, your family and y’all’s monster appetites. Where is it? Why it’s where Hog Wallow Creek crosses Alpharetta Street in Roswell. I bet you had no idea there was a Hog Wallow Creek… see you learn something every time you read this column. For those of you less adventurous, just put 1294 Alpharetta Street, Roswell into your GPS.
Meating Street BBQ features sandwiches to full racks and they are stunning. It’s family through and through. Comfort food? It is to me. And you know what he doesn’t have? A fryer. That’s right, he’s cut the bad for you fats right off the menu. This is homemade good for you food. It’s natural, no vat of fats to soak your calories in. Now that’s a statement that takes courage!
Roswell lost a great one with Bill Greenwood retiring in January. The Swallow at the Hollow was as good and as classic as any restaurant can be and had a national reputation. Bill is simply irreplaceable. That said, he is now history and it’s time to write a new chapter, heck perhaps we need a new book. Meating Street BBQ is today and ten years from now I expect we’ll still be talking about it.
I hope we have an answer to the barbeque question. The chicken and pie is one I’ll tackle next month. Somebody somewhere is getting a chicken plucking pie-making award and I have a few ideas. I’m the kind of guy that will always miss a local small family restaurant and personal story such that existed on Green Street. However, my appetite is a forward-looking device. The past is the past and we live in the moment so let’s eat. And let’s eat well. Our neighbors and their businesses matter, so please drive past the corporate logo up on the big corner. Eat local, live local, buy local. And locally, we should be ok.