If variety is truly the spice of life, this is your season, or seasonings, as the case might be. With Memorial Day weekend upon us, we recently asked a survey question regarding favorite barbeque restaurants (joints), meats, styles, sauces, and sides. 

People have strong opinions about their barbeque. There are some familiar places that people enjoy and some new places, but the sides are consistent across the board. The styles of barbeque did vary quite a bit. I get that. I enjoy changing up the flavors from time to time.

We started our survey by reviewing Shotgun BBQ along the Tensaw River in Bay Minette. I have heard from a self-proclaimed BBQ aficionado that it truly passed his discerning BBQ taste buds with flying colors. We conclude this discussion with a review of the recently reopened Ben Jr’s BBQ in Fairhope by Theresa Lacey. 

Just in time for Memorial Weekend, here is a summary of the answers we received. 

Favorite BBQ Restaurants: Several votes came in for Moe’s Original BBQ. With several locations throughout the Scenic 98 Coastal area, I can tell you Moe’s is consistently good. It all began in Vail, Colorado but its roots are solidly in Tuscaloosa and Athens, Alabama. North Alabama is also where Alabama White BBQ sauce originated. It’s good stuff, especially on poultry! 

In Fairhope, Original Ben’s, Jr. received a lot of love as did Pirates Pit BBQ. Battles Wharf Mini Mart was also mentioned. L.A. BBQ in Summerdale received votes as did Bama Bob’s BBQ on Dauphin Island Parkway. Shotgun BBQ was noted several times in the survey. I can attest it’s really good. One do-it-yourselfer said, “At home with beer” was their favorite.

Favorite BBQ Meats: Pulled pork won going away, followed by brisket, then ribs, and smoked chicken. I like them all!

Favorite Style: One of my uneducated friends thought this was a stupid question and said so much. He’s lived in Texas, Memphis, Columbus, Mississippi, and now Tuscaloosa, so it begs the question…. I’ll leave it at that. The answers were wide and varied. It’s hard to argue with any of them. When prepared properly, they are all delicious.

Topping the list is, Carolina-style. With one of the oldest methods of slow cooking the whole hog over coals, Carolina BBQ Sauce is vinegar-based with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and often finished with mustard. It’s distinctly good!

Memphis or St. Louis style received several votes. Often prepared with a dry rub and slow-cooked, the meat melts in your mouth. Texas, known for its brisket, received several nods. They do know their brisket in Texas and are proud of it. Find a gas station serving BBQ and you’re bound to be a happy camper.

Also receiving several votes was Southern, South Alabama, wet, dry. Each area distinguishes itself with local sauces, some tomato-based, sweet, and thick with molasses, or thin, and vinegary. Whatever your preference, you are right! Buns and Cornbread were tied with white bread coming in third (probably for sopping up the sauce). I get it.

Favorite BBQ Sides: Now that we have places, meats, and styles covered, what do we serve with it? Hands done, ColeSlaw and Baked Beans won the day. Greens (Collards and Turnips) ran a close second with potato salad. 

The fancy folks mentioned deviled eggs, squash casserole, macaroni salad, and butter beans. Tiz’ the season, especially fresh corn, either on the cob or my favorite, corn salad. Chips and fries are a no-brainer. 

So, go enjoy your holiday weekend and the kickoff to summer. It’s the best eating time of the year!

May 22, 2024
Epicurean Delights

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