Location: 6557 Bells Ferry Rd, Woodstock GA 30189 - 678.445.7730 - website
Parking: Plenty of parking out front. Make sure to notice the parking pylons painted like pink pigs.
Style: Old school. Buffalo chopper pork. Traditional brisket and ribs. Minimal spice or fuss. Decent smoke level.
Sauces: Two sauces - Sweet, and Spicy
Service: Seat yourself full service plus take out.
Cooking on: Stick-burner in rear of restaurant. 3 different cookers visible this day but the smokehouse was empty. Have a suspicion that it was empty because the main cooker was to be used on a TV segment for ATL46 the following morning.
Backstory: First location opened in 1999 inside a small farmers market. Within four years, the owners decided to open a dine in restaurant. According to the website, JD's now has a second location in Acworth. JD's has all the charm and trappings of an owner-operated BBQ joint.
Our Selection for the Day: The "Boss Hog" 3 meat platter with chopped pork, sliced brisket, and baby back ribs, brunswick stew, and baked beans.
Pay special attention to the dude in the middle of the picture looking at me wondering why the hell I am taking a picture. It's the price you frequently pay to be a food blogger. My daughter was a little embarrassed. She's growing up, I guess.
Homey. Friendly. Clean. Inviting. Charming. Local. For me, JD's hits all the right notes when it comes down to your basic BBQ joint. The wait staff was attentive and friendly. There were plenty of pigs and family style memorabilia. There was a TV in the corner playing college football (it was Saturday, of course.) The decor is home spun and organic. Not self concious and overthought. Nothing screamed, "I'm really trying to look like a Southern style BBQ restaurant". JD's achieved that quite naturally and that's what you really should want.
The best thing on the plate that day by far was the brisket. Very smoky. Excellent bark, Fall apart tender and very juicy. The ribs were a bit of a miss for me. They didn't really have any bark and were a little short on flavor. The chopped pork was fine if you gave it some sauce. Pork run through a buffalo chopper has a tendency to die within five minutes. Once it dies, it dries out quickly and becomes tough. But the chopped pork did have great smoke and combined nicely with the sweet sauce. As for the sauce, it was right up the middle. Nothing disappointing or overwhelmingly great about it. Just a solid sauce that will appeal to most BBQ lovers. It reminded me of a western NC sauce that was heavy on the ketchup.
My daughter loved JD's BBQ - especially the brisket. She loved it so much that she begged me to buy her a t-shirt to add to her BBQ shirt jammie collection that includes old Sam and Dave shirts, Community Q, Dave Poe's, and Smokin J's (I really need a Big Shanty shirt now that I think of it.) I really enjoyed JD's as well. It didn't knock me over with cooking style or quality control. But it did remind me of a lot of great BBQ meals I've had in my life in that I got to enjoy some tasty smoked meat in a friendly atmosphere. JD's is much beloved in Cherokee county based upon the number of Best BBQ awards on the walls, and I can see why folks love them so much. There's some good stuff happening at JD's.