“There’s been a great demand for a good, high quality barbecue on this side of the county,” said Sam, a lifetime resident of west Cobb who is married to Diane Woods.
A trial lawyer for 40 years, Huff turned his hobby of barbecuing into a business. Ten years ago, he started the first Sam’s BBQ-1, a take-out restaurant in east Cobb.
“We didn’t really intend on having restaurants. It’s just a hobby that got out of control,” he said.
When David Poe joined Huff, they changed the name to Sam and Dave’s. Huff and Poe opened another store on Whitlock Avenue but parted amicably after four years. Poe kept the Whitlock Avenue store, and Sam kept the east Cobb store (again known as Sam’s BBQ-1).
Sam’s new west Cobb restaurant is an all-seated and full-service dining experience.
“We wanted to do a different concept than we do in east Cobb,” said Huff, who phased out his law practice and is concentrating on building a large barbecue operation with catering, takeouts for large groups and barbecue classes.
Huff, who has competed in professional cooking competitions “like the ones on television” for 15 years said, “That level of barbecue cooking is so far superior than normal restaurant work that it’s truly two different worlds.”
Sam’s BBQ-1 combines the highest quality ingredients with traditional cooking techniques like those he uses in competitions along with advanced wood-burning pits.
“The quality is much higher than in a normal restaurant where the goal is to cook large volumes and sell more food. It caught on (in east Cobb) and we found out there was a demand for that,” he said.
“It’s traditional, old-style barbecue. When it runs out, that’s when we close because we don’t microwave this meat. That’s the way we’ve always done it,” Huff said.
Meats are seasoned with handmade rubs and sauces developed through years of competition cooking.
“It’s that level of attention and techniques that we use in competitions that most barbecue restaurants do not use,” he said.
It is not surprising that in June 2013, Southern Living magazine voted Sam’s BBQ-1 as the third best Rib-Sticking Joints in the South.
“So that means third best in the world because the South has the best barbecue in the world,” Huff said.
In its June/July 2013 edition, Garden & Gun magazine featured Sam’s BBQ-1 college of barbecue in Barbecue 101: Pork U. In 2004, Huff won the Georgia National Beef Championship with his brisket.
Located at 3600 Dallas Highway, Suite 130, Huff’s BBQ-1 is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and closed Monday.
Visit bbq1.net or call (678) 324-1518.