‘Cue Barbecue – Milton

Every Friday, Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series I like to call Foodie Friday. This week I continue a summer series reviewing barbecue restaurants in Alpharetta.

I vividly remember my first visit to ‘Cue about a year ago. This random barbecue joint opens up shop with no fanfare in a space that had proven to be unlucky to restaurants. It didn’t take me long to figure out that they were a boutique barbecue shop. But slowly I started to notice some familiar things. The racks of fresh bread, hand-cut fries, course chopped Q, delicious stew. It all reminded me of something. Then I started seeing faces that looked familiar including the owner of the joint. It all came together for me then… this is Swallow at the Hollow!

I went home and googled like mad, thinking this must surely be the second location of my favorite Roswell Q joint. Not so much. Turns out that Swallow’s former chef, Paul Doster, went out on his own. Thankfully he brought the best of what I remember from his days in Roswell. If you’re familiar with Swallow at the Hollow then you’ll know what to expect at ‘Cue. The barbecue is very similar. Many of the side items are as well. The Brunswick stew is a tad different but very similar. Everything is made from scratch, even the pickles.

But let’s talk about the barbecue… They cook shoulders and serve as a course chop. There is always a good mix of outside meat with the inside stuff. Noticeable smoke ring? Yep. Tender and moist? Check. Decent sauce that doesn’t overpower? Stick to the vinegar and pepper stuff and you’ll be alright.

I’ve had the ribs a few times but find them to be inconsistent. When they are on, look out! Very good stuff, tender yet with some body (fall-off-the-bone is over tender in my book). But I’ve had racks here that are fatty and unappetizing.

Don’t like ribs or pork barbecue? Shame on you! ‘Cue also has brisket, chicken, and sausage in addition to off-the-wall stuff like barbecue pizza and nachos.

I mentioned that the sides are all homemade. It is tough to go wrong with anything. I enjoy dipping the bread into stew. I’d also suggest trying their seasonal veggie of the day. Almost always a winner.

Can you tell I’m a fan of this place? Of all the Q joints I will review this summer, ‘Cue is by far my favorite. Nevertheless I think they have some things to improve upon. Those would be…

- Often I find the outside brown portion of my chopped pork to be overdone. It can sometimes be the consistency of very crisp bacon. It should be chewy but not crunch. They also don’t apply a rub to their pork (if they do, it isn’t much). In my opinion they are losing the chance to add a big flavor profile to their barbecue.

- Their restaurant is small. There’s no other way to put it. ‘Cue is very popular right now and is literally bursting at the seams. This tiny strip mall can’t handle it. Parking and finding a seat are tough. They’ve gotta get out of this piece of real estate pronto.

- Decor. To be fair, I can’t knock places like Dickey’s on fake Q joint decor and not do the same for ‘Cue. It is a little hokey.

So there you have it. ‘Cue is a winner. Disagree with me? I’m always up for a barbecue debate. Leave me a comment or shoot me an email at lee@rootsinalpharetta.com

'Cue Barbecue on Urbanspoon


  1. Roots in Alpharetta » Blog Archive » New/Closed Restaurants – September 2010 - September 10, 2010

    [...] as I think this part of Cumming can support more barbecue. I wish them the best. In the meantime, check out my review of their Milton [...]

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