Local Eats: Pulaski Heights BBQ
Located in a former steel fabrication plant in Athens, GA, Pulaski Heights BBQ has traditional Georgia BBQ with a strong influence of Asian and Hispanic food fusions. Pulled pork, mac and cheese, baked beans, ribs, etc? Yeah, it's all there. But what really makes Pulaski Heights stand out is their unique menu items such as tacos, fancy sandwiches, and their Wednesday special of BBQ Ramen. Yep, you read that right. BBQ Ramen. Let's dive into the "classic" menu items before hitting on the ramen.
Pulaski Heights isn't the grungy, old BBQ shack on the side of the highway. It's in a trendy renovated warehouse in the Pulaski neighborhood in Athens. The location is clean and has a nice patio area. It's more pricey than most BBQ joints because it has a relatively large menu and nice digs, but it's worth it. We got a couple of platters that we'll breakdown below.
Platter of pulled pork with mac & cheese and baked beans
This platter is a great example of classic BBQ with an upscale touch. The pulled pork was excellent with a good flavor, erring on the fatty side of the pulled pork spectrum. The mac & cheese was slap your momma good, but it may require a nap afterwards. This stuff is rich. The baked beans were very sweet and smoky, almost like mixing baked beans with Texas-style cowboy beans. A crucial supporting role in this platter was played by the homemade bread & butter pickles and Holeman & Finch bun. They were begging to be made into a sandwich, so we obliged.
A true work of art. Pulled pork sandwich with homemade pickles and their sweet tomato BBQ sauce on a H&F bun.
Pulled chicken platter with squash casserole and cole slaw
Next is the other platter we ordered. If you're trying to eat a little lighter, the pulled chicken is a very good choice. It was tender and flavorful. We don't recommend eating the squash casserole if you're dieting, it was sinfully rich and good. The coleslaw was vinegar-based and a great accompaniment to the platter.
Their two homemade sauces were also very good. They were on two opposite ends of the spectrum on taste and consistency, so we ended up trying them both and mixing them on our meats. Nice touch on the handwritten label and date to remind you they're made in-house.
Pulaski Heights BBQ's "BBQ Ramen" special with rib meat
Let's get to it. When we sent this picture to our BBQ family patriarch, his response was "Whaaaaaaaaat." Our family's text thread of travels and the food that goes along with it may rival most Food Network TV shows, so a shocked response is the equivalent of Anthony Bourdain not drinking on an episode of Parts Unknown. The Asian fusion influence on American food has reached its peak with BBQ Ramen. This dish is only available on Wednesdays and you better get there before 7 pm or they have likely run out. This dish has ramen in a hearty broth, served with seaweed, sesame seeds, green onion, egg, pork belly, collards (for real), and the BBQ meat of your choice. We opted for rib meat because the sweet flavor sounded good, but they also offer pulled pork, pulled chicken, and brisket. This dish was delicious, unique, and even better when eaten as leftovers. There may be another dish out there like it, but we've yet to see it.
Pulaski Heights BBQ does a great job of blending classic with modern, both in their physical space and their menu. It's solid food with a large menu and a great place to take people in your group who prefer lots of options and a clean space. While we love a good adventure to find a BBQ shack with a smoker out back, we recognize some people enjoy a printed menu and air conditioning.