There's more to barbecue than racks of ribs.

There's more to barbecue than racks of ribs. / Flickr

To many Georgians, barbecue is not just food. It's a lifestyle.

Over the years, barbecue has evolved in the Atlanta area. Southern folks still grill out, but in recent years the cuisine has re-emerged as an integrated bond of multiple different cultures and communities.

On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott speaks with John T. Edge.

The debate has also shifted from who has the best sauce, to who has the best sides. Step aside, baked beans — many restaurants now pair meat with kimchi, caramelized bananas and even mango chutney.

Over the next few months, we'll explore Georgia’s greatest barbecue joints and step into their kitchens to see what makes their food different.

To start off our the series, we sat down with John T. Edge. He’s the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance and author of "The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South."