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Atlanta’s Gluten-Free BBQ Joints

I grew up in the Midwest, so when we ate barbecue it was always beef. After moving to the South, I have learned that barbecue down here refers to pork or brisket and you need to ‘recognize’. It seems like a no brainer that barbecue sauce is gluten-free right? Well, you might be shocked to know that a number of restaurants add gluten (usually in the form of soy sauce) in their barbeque sauce, beans, and Brunswick stew making them unsafe for those following a gluten-free diet.

The life of someone following a gluten-free diet does require a little detective work; but with patience and perseverance, one can enjoy a safe plate of BBQ at a local restaurant where the sauce is safe and the meat is cooked slowly.

It is surprising to me that none of the restaurants listed below (except one) offer gluten-free buns. There are so many great options for locally made gluten-free buns, like Pure Knead, so hopefully one of these restaurants will offer one soon. I would love to eat a pulled pork sandwich on a gluten-free bun somewhere in Atlanta, which isn’t too much to ask!

In the meantime, the following restaurants offer gluten-free barbecue:

Big Shanty Smokehouse

One of the owners has celiac disease, so this Kennesaw restaurant goes the extra mile by preparing gluten-free plates in a separate counter. They make the majority of their menu items from scratch, so they know what goes into their products. This restaurant also makes homemade gluten-free bread and desserts (cakes, pies, tarts, crisps and cobblers). They use dedicated bowls, measuring cups, and paddles on the mixer to limit cross contact with the wheat-based desserts they also make from scratch. I have not been here yet, but I plan to rectify that situation quickly!

Community Q

Located just outside of Decatur offers gluten-free sauce, meats, French fries (without seasoning), sides, and an ever changing selection of vegetables. I am a big fan of their brisket and their fries and I love the gluten-free knowledge of their staff. I have yet to try the ribs, but I will soon.

Dreamland Bar-B-Q

Their sauce is gluten-free and they have a nice selection of meats and sides. There are locations in Peachtree Corners and Roswell, as this company is based in Alabama.

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

A former general manager, Scott, has celiac disease, which means this Inman/Candler Park restaurant is very sensitive to cross contact and to providing a bevy of options to those following the gluten-free diet. Their sauce, meats, and some sides are gluten free and their sauce can be purchased locally at Whole Foods.

Shane’s Rib Shack

I used to live right around the corner from Shane’s and ate there frequently. They launched a gluten-free menu in 2011 and it includes a nice selection of meats, sides, and of course gluten-free barbeque sauce. Some of their employees are not well-educated when it comes to the gluten-free diet, so be sure to tell them to leave bread off your order, or they will include it. You can find Shane’s in Norcross, SmyrnaVinings, Sandy Springs, and the Edgewood Shopping Center just east of Little 5 Points.

Slopes BBQ

Slopes have locations in Roswell, Cumming, Sandy Springs, Alpharetta and Cartersville. Their sauce and meats are gluten free and they offer a number of sides that are also safe.


About Jennifer Harris

After being diagnosed with celiac disease 15 years ago, Jennifer has turned her diagnosis into a rewarding career that gives her the opportunity to help the newly diagnosed. She owns her own consulting company where she provides consulting for local businesses. Her clients include: Bantam + Biddy, Erbert & Gerbert’s, Farm Burger, Fox’s Pizza Den, Frannie’s Gluten Free, Pure Knead, Sprig Restaurant, and YEAH! Burger. Jennifer has been interviewed and quoted in numerous articles and by media outlets, such as: Cook Bliss, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, CNN, Atlanta Parent Magazine, The Associated Press, and Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Photo Credit: Ariel da Silva Parriera

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