Atlanta Restaurant Reviews

REVIEW: Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, Morningside, Cheshire Bridge, Atlanta

Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, Morningside, Cheshire Bridge, Atlanta
Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, Morningside, Cheshire Bridge, Atlanta

Frequent readers of our blog, understand our love of BBQ. Many of you have mentioned Fat Matt’s Rib Shack when we’ve reviewed other BBQ spots and BOY, now we know why! Fat Matt’s Rib Shack is a foodie’s dream! An unpretentious location. A blues-centric theme. Food that rocks. When it seems like BBQ joints have gone “trendy” in Atlanta, Fat Matt’s Rib Shack stays true to it’s roots and they deliver the real deal direct to your table.

When we arrived, it was barely the dinner hour but parking was already at a premium and the line was out the door. It’s counter service, so you order and then you’re seated. We always have a great deal of anxiety when it comes to such places because I have this fear of standing there with food in our hands and not being able to find a place to sit. One thing in your favor though is that about half the people in line, are getting it for carryout. The other thing was that the guys inside were really good about getting tables cleaned off quickly and finding seats for everyone who wanted to dine in.

Smoked Chicken & 1/4 Slab Ribs Combo served with Potato Salad and Brunswick Stew, Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, Morningside, Cheshire Bridge, Atlanta
Smoked Chicken & 1/4 Slab Ribs Combo served with Potato Salad and Brunswick Stew, Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, Morningside, Cheshire Bridge, Atlanta

As if it were planned, a table became available just as we finished ordering and our food arrived “freaky fast”. When it comes to BBQ, we base our decisions on many factors but ribs have to come in pretty high on the list. The meat has to fall off the bone and leave a clean rib. If the meat is tough or you find yourself gnawing on the bone to get the meat off, it’s not done right. Fat Matt’s Rib Shack knows ribs. It doesn’t fall off the bone, it melts off the bone. That meat is so tender it’s crazy! Even when you get on the end where the cartilage is, the cartilage pops out cleanly from the meat. Really amazing stuff!

Smoked Chicken & 1/4 Slab Ribs Combo served with Mac & Cheese and Brunswick Stew, Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, Morningside, Cheshire Bridge, Atlanta
Smoked Chicken & 1/4 Slab Ribs Combo served with Mac & Cheese and Brunswick Stew, Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, Morningside, Cheshire Bridge, Atlanta

The chicken was so smoky, it was ridiculous. When restaurants claim “smoked chicken”, rarely does it taste this good and with such a rich, smoky flavor. You don’t really need the sauce, which I found to be very enjoyable but it was a little too tangy for Melanie’s tastes.

To top it all off, the sides were excellent. The potato salad was rich, creamy and the potatoes were done perfectly so that they just melted in your mouth. The Mac & Cheese was cheesy beyond belief! And the stunning comment from Melanie “this Brunswick stew is the best”. What she means is that is it’s the best next to hers, which is still a pretty awesome comment.

Our experience was that Fat Matt’s Rib Shack is a hands-down winner for BBQ in Atlanta. Great food, the staff totally looks out for you – it’s an awesome, authentic BBQ experience the way that barbecue was meant to be enjoyed. It’s on our list of MUST EAT places in Atlanta. Guten appetit!

Fat Matt's Rib Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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  1. steve
    November 20, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Ribs done right? Fat Matt’s is probably the most overhyped BBQ spot in Atlanta. It’s not even real BBQ. They boil their ribs and then finish them on a grill. I’m sad for you if you think this is the best BBQ in Atlanta.

  2. November 20, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Steve, thanks for the comment! What’s wrong with boiling ribs first? I think its an accepted part of ribs preparation to get them to fall off the bone like that. Believe me, Fat Matt’s has plenty of grill time to make it tasty. I think there’s plenty of “best BBQ in Atlanta” and Fat Matt’s is certainly one of many in that notable group. Now, with all food, things are a matter of personal preference and taste. What’s your favorite? Where do you like to go when you’re craving ribs? Don’t be sad for me, we eat good! 🙂 Thanks again for the conversation – RC

  3. Steve
    November 20, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    Fall of the bone is a term that gets overused. Ribs should be tender and you should be able to pull the meat from the bone fairly easily but they shouldn’t fall off. Plus, boiling leaves you with flavorless ribs which you then have to mask with tons of sauce.

    Boiling ribs is bbq faux pas. Go talk to the folks at Community Q, Heirloom, Fox Brothers, or Bone Lick and see how they feel about boiled ribs. And while you’re there, get a taste of some of the best real bbq in Atlanta.

  4. November 20, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    Let me assure you, the ribs from Fat Matt’s had PLENTY of flavor. I’ve been to Community Q (not impressed) and Fox Bros (big fans). Haven’t been to Heirloom or Bone Lick but since you recommended, I will definitely add that to our “on the radar” list.

    Good discussion. We’re in the process of joining KCBS and getting certified to judge so I’ll follow up with you on what “the party line” says about boiling because I know several folks that think that’s their secret weapon. We’re just in search of some great food and willing to share our experience!

    Thanks for reading and contributing! -=RC

  5. Not BBQ
    November 24, 2015 at 11:28 am

    Sorry, but Fat Matt’s is not BBQ. Boiling ribs is a shortcut approach and allows too much flavor and moisture to be pulled out of the ribs. Gentle indirect heat of a smoker > highly conductive direct heat of a pot of boiling water.

    This is why Atlanta has such a hard time gaining any credibility in the national BBQ community. Our most popular BBQ joint isn’t BBQ. It’s boiled ribs with BBQ sauce. You can’t just sauce something and say its BBQ!

    From the guys at Amazing Ribs, in a piece titled, “If you boil ribs the terrorists win”

    A lot of folks boil their ribs before grilling them and slathering on the sauce. The concept comes from Eastern Europe where Poles and Czechs prepare ribs by simmering them in water with cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and caraway seed, making a very nice pork stew.

    But water is a solvent. It pulls much of the flavor out of the meat, and it can make the meat mushy. When you boil meat and bones, you make a rich flavorful soup. All that color in the pot is flavor that you can never get back into the meat. Boil meat too much and water can even dry it out by causing the proteins to contract and squeeze the moisture out of the muscle fibers.

    People talk wistfully about meat that falls off the bone, but if it does, it has probably been boiled and denuded of its best flavors. What they’re really loving is the unctuous barbecue sauce. That’s why McRibs are so popular. They’re just ground pork swimming in sweetened ketchup mixed with liquid smoke and some other flavors. Classic Southern ribs have the same mouthfeel and bite as a tender juicy steak and most important, they taste like pork, not just sauce. They tug off the bone rather than fall off the bone.

    If you are really really in a hurry, you are better off steaming or microwaving them and then finishing them on the grill or under the broiler.

    Just don’t boil ’em!

  6. November 24, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Thanks for your comment! Really interesting stuff! So where do you think we should go to get some awesome ribs? -=RC

  7. November 24, 2015 at 11:32 am

    BTW, I found the link to the article you mentioned in your post.

  8. Not BBQ
    December 2, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Heirloom & Moonie’s are the best BBQ spots in my book, though I can’t vouch for the ribs at Heirloom.

    Brisket and ribs are the way to go at Moonie’s.

  9. December 2, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Sounds like we need to plan a trip to Moonies! Thanks MUCH for the recommendation!

  10. Stewart
    December 31, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    I am from the deep south and I love oven baked and boiled ribs. If you grow up places with sizeable African American communities this is generally how you grow up eating ribs. Not in bbq pit joints but at soul food joints. Its not bad, its just different. Fatt Matt’s is a great rib joint.

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