Grass VBQ Joint, Atlanta, GA
Seven years ago, while he was working as a corporate chef in Atlanta, Sargent became a vegan for health reasons and spent his free time experimenting with meat- and dairy-free recipes. Looking for a challenge, he tried his hand at making barbecue that mimicked the real thing—sausage, “chic’n,” brisket, and smoked jackfruit (a close stand-in for pulled pork). “It’s a day-and-a-half process,” Sargent explains. “Barbecue is a technique, and one thing I had to learn was patience.”
In 2019, wanting other people to enjoy these cookout favorites, Sargent held a pop-up on the Fourth of July. When the food sold out in 45 minutes, he knew he was onto something. “We didn’t have a website. All this was via social media and word of mouth,” he says.
Soon after that, he landed a small stall in a food court and then a full-time spot at Orpheus Brewing. Early last year, Sargent moved into his current storefront, offering an expanded take-out menu around the time that many restaurants closed their doors. His scratch-made ‘cue is smoked for hours then served with creative toppings (Roasted Vidalia Onion VBQ Sauce) and sides (Red Curry Coconut Greens and Stout Baked Beans).