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looking for hole in the wall iconic BBQ in alabama

traveling from panama city beach to Dothan...then Dothan to birmingham...then Birmingham to huntsville! Any help for the best ribs, the best pulled and best sandwich would be greatly appreciated for this chef traveling thru Alabama next week. I will post my opinions for all to seealong the way. Thanks in advance

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  1. I recommend Saw's in Homewood, a very close suburb of Birmingham. It's outstanding. The pulled pork is spot on, smokey and moist. They have 3 different sauces to choose from. Thin vinegary, white, and a more traditional thick. I loved them all, but the vinegar-based one was my favorite. I suggest getting 3 sandwiches, one for each sauce, and judge for yourself.

    1. My favorite is Miss Myra's in Birmingham. Just the white sauce itself is iconic. Pork sandwiches are great, but the whole (or 1/2 or 1/4) bbq chicken is amazing (especially with the white sauce), and I'm a huge fan of the ribs (not fatty like some other places *coughDREAMLANDcough*). And her pies are to die for. I had gestational diabetes, and after I gave birth her peanut butter pie was at the top of my list of foods I wanted to have immediately. The restaurant itself is great - hundreds of pig figurines are on every surface. I promise you will not be disappointed. It's located in Cahaba Heights, behind The Summit. Check out this recent article -


      1. Gibson's BBQ in Huntsville! Make sure you try the white sauce!

        6 Replies
        1. re: diningwithDeliaJo

          Big Bob Gibson's in Decateur is AWESOME!!!

          1. re: diningwithDeliaJo

            No, not this one. Go to Big Bob Gibson's in Decatur.


            1. re: Davwud

              Was at Big Bob Gibson's on Hwy 31 in Decatur over the weekend. Had the pulled pork and brisket combo with baked beans and slaw for sides. Afterwards, my girlfriend and I split a piece of chocolate pie.

              The pulled pork had a good smokey flavor, was tender, and juicy. Unfortunately, it wasn't fresh out of the smoker but had spent quite some time wrapped in cellophane so had gotten a little too soft.

              The brisket had a nice smoke ring and what would've been a nice, dark bark but had also spent time in plastic wrap. What would've been a caramel, crunchy, acidic, goodness was just a sign of what could've been.

              The coleslaw was pretty average. The baked beans were quite a bit better than average.

              I'd heard a LOT about the pies here and although they were homemade, they didn't blow my socks off. That may be due to my expectations being so high.

              Overall, I'd say they've got some of the best barbecue in Alabama I've tried.

              1. re: mahalan

                I agree on the pies. Very good but probably not worth the rep.

                I think Big Bob's 2 best things are the chicken and the ribs. YMMD


                1. re: Davwud

                  LOL. Figures. The two best things are the two things I didn't try. Oh well, I'll get the chance to go again soon.

                  1. re: mahalan

                    Keep in mind that it's only my opinion that they're the two best things. But I think you can take it to the bank.....LOL


          2. The truly iconic hole in the wall is Archibald's in Tuscaloosa. It involves a detour, is but well worth it

            3 Replies
            1. re: dcbbq

              If you do take the detour to Tuscaloosa for Archibald's which - I repeat - is the classic hole in the wall (5 stools, a pit and a refrigerator, byob), you will pass Chris' in Prattville on 82 and Jim's on 82 in the middle of nowhere with good barbecue, lots of original Bear Bryant pictures and posters (ALL decent barbecue places in Alabama have at least one picture of Bear Bryant) and they have real fried pies. Avoid Fat Girl's Barbecue, also on 82, despite the name.

              Fat Girl's
              3359 Highway 82 W, Billingsley, AL 36006

              1. re: dcbbq

                We're making our first pilgrimage to Tuscaloosa on Saturday. Archibald's in Northport for post-game 'cue? Or where?

                1. re: Big Daddy

                  You have to realize that as many as 250,000 people come to Tuscaloosa from out of town for football games (maybe half that for this game), so it is hard-to-impossible to get into any restaurant after a game - and Archibald's only has 5 stools. For dinner after the game you should see if any of the places that take reservations have any openings -- these would be the more upscale places like Chuck's Fish. Actually, it is best to connect with a group that is tailgating if you can. In any event you should go to Archibald's very early and buy some ribs and some pork to go. Actually, if you have a slab or two extra of Archibald's ribs, you'll be welcome in any tailgate - and there are thousands. The tailgating starts around 8 or 9 and continues until the last game on the west coast is over. (Tailgates generally include satellite dishes and tv sets, grills, coolers, and lots of food.)

                  Chuck's Fish
                  508 Greensboro Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

            2. There's a place called Mr. Crite's in Athens that I've been dying to try. We drove out there last summer but it was closed. I just called them and their regular hours are Tu - Sa 11 - 6 and Su 11 - 5.
              It's cinder block shack in the middle of nowhere. Here's a picture from another hound.


              3 Replies
              1. re: Davwud

                We are heading this way soon and I hope to try this!!

                1. re: wekick

                  There's a place called the Chuckwagon Diner in Fayetteville, Tn. It's about 15 mins north of the state line. Thurs - Sat they serve BBQ and it's fantastic. The place is really cool. It's two singlewides put together. There's a great smoke house out back. Ask to see it.


              2. Best hole in the wall BBQ (in my humble opinion): Archibald's in Tuscaloosa. Unlike Dreamland, which can be hit or miss (and honestly, if it's a 'hit' they knock it clean out of the park), I've never had a bad rib at Archibald's. I live in Tuscaloosa, so perhaps I'm biased - but I stand by my vote! Was reading this list (http://www.ranker.com/list/the-best-b...) and Moe's keeps getting votes - I'm not sure if I agree. We have one here, it's good but not great? Am I missing something? I mean it's not horrible, but I'm just not certain it deserves these kinds of accolades.

                Enjoy the BBQ and be sure to report back!!

                Greetings from T-Town.

                1. Here are some BBQ places you NEVER hear mentioned: Hickory Stick in Decatur (only open for lunch and pickup until 5 p.m.). Whitt's in Decatur (and some other towns, too - to-go only, no dine-in). Top Hat in Warrior (with to-die-for fried pies).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Southlander

                    I like Larry's, we always stop at the one (by the hospital) in Dothan on the way to the beach.

                  2. I have been in Alabama for 2 years... my favorite BBQ place so is Full Moon BBQ. http://www.fullmoonbbq.com/

                    Full Moon Bbq
                    2000 Patton Chapel Rd, Birmingham, AL 35216

                    1. A couple of other hole-in-the-wall places.
                      In Decatur, b.b. perrin's BBQ. This is more like a sports bar. Good pulled pork, good ribs. They have a sauce that's based on Dreamland's. Rib gumbo is pretty good, too.
                      Hickory Stick, on Alabama 20 in Decatur, has the kind of Q that doesn't need sauce. Awesome brunswick stew in season. Fried pies, though, don't come with Decatur area BBQ. Cream pies rule.
                      Just north of Warrior (which is north of B'ham), off the I-65 a couple of miles, Top Hot BBQ. A little of everything, good green beans, very very good Q, and be sure to get your fried pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

                        1. re: Littleman

                          Good lord, Big Cove shouldnt even be in the Top 10. Neither should Big Bob's, its awful.

                          The best bbq in north Alabama is found at a little hole in wall right off I-65 at Pricevillem the Bar-B-Q Smokehouse. Its good enough that my son and I drive up from Birmingham when I'm in town, and it is worth the trip. Smoked turkey and sausage too, and home made pies that are out of this world.

                          1. re: jtboyd

                            I didn't even notice that top 5 list.

                            I disagree with you on Big Bob's. Been there plenty and find it's great. Most people agree.

                            I'm not at all a fan of Thomas but it gets so much love I almost feel like I need to give it another shot. I won't even bother trying Lawler's. Too many people I know pan it. I've had turkeys at Thanksgiving from New Market and am not impressed.


                            1. re: Davwud

                              Big Bob's is for the tourists. My wife's family is from Decatur and I never heard of Big Bob Gibson's til he put up those billboards. LOL

                              1. re: jtboyd

                                I didn't realize Decatur was such a tourist mecca. I've been to both BBG's and on several occasions. Always packed. Decatur tourism must be through the roof.


                                1. re: Davwud

                                  LOL Yeah, north Alabama doesnt get any traffic. Thats why they put those billboards out on 65.

                        2. I've just had my first really good barbecue since moving to Birmingham almost two years ago - and not for a lack of trying.

                          Smith's Market on I-65 and 278 (not to be confused with Smith's Barbecue about 15 miles west on 278) is a general store with wine, cheese, meats, preserves, etc. They also have smoked chickens and boston butts (to go only). We picked up one of the boston butts yesterday and it was great!

                          Hands down the best barbecue I've had in quite some time.

                          Great bark. A pink smoke ring surrounding the outer 3/4" of the meat. Very moist and tender.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mahalan

                            Its Smith Farms, not Smiths Market, Exit 308 one block east of I-65 in Cullman. And just for clarification, there is no dine in restaurant here, its a big old fashioned country store with an assortment of smoked meats for bulk take out and a worthwhile stock of homemade preserves, jams, chow chow, and pickled canned items. I always stop there on the way through to pick up gifts and some smoked turkey and country ham, which are both very good.

                            If Nordstrom ever did a General Store this is what you would get. Beware "sticker shock."


                          2. Well I finally made it to Big Cove as per the article above. In search of THE BEST BBQ in N. Alabama. Well, it was good. Certainly not the best IMHO.

                            The pulled pork was a little bit dry however we were the last customers of the day so I won't deduct points for that. In fact, you could almost add points. They didn't drown it in sauce to keep it moist. They also didn't continually add liquid to it to steam it. It can get a spongy texture if you do.

                            The ribs were very plain on their own. However a little bit of sauce really picked up the pork flavour. They were fall apart tender but not as smoky as I like.

                            The beans were quite good. Not the best I've had but very solid.

                            The tater salad was probably the best I've had in a restaurant. Mrs. Sippi concurred. It was outstanding.

                            If I was in the area and wanted Q I'd go back but since I have to (literally) drive right by a place I like better (little Paul's) and it's about the same distance as up to Fayetteville, Tn to Chuck Wagon (see earlier post) it won't be in the rotation. I'm very glad I visited though.

                            The owners are terrific BTW.


                            1. We also tried David Gibson's while in town.

                              It was really well above average but I think his daddy's place in Decatur is better.