Is Mobile the Next Kansas City?

July 21, 2008 at 12:45 am

Originally posted at Azalea City Food Blog on July 20, 2008.

When asked where Mobileans go for barbecue you will usually get one of the following answers: Dreamland, The Brick Pit, Dick Russell’s, Saucy Cue, Rogers, J.R.’s, and even Naman’s Market. These are the big names for cue in the city of Mobile. Each one has its own style and they do it extremely well. But outside the limits of Alabama’s port city is a bevy of spectacular barbecue. Like . . .

Capt. Frank’s Smoke Shack in Bayou La Batre features a full menu of meats and each one is slow smoked for flavor and tenderness. Brisket, chicken, mullet, turkey, ribs, and pulled pork are all available with Capt. Frank’s homemade BBQ sauce which is sweet and smoky. The plates come with your choice of baked beans, Cole slaw, potato salad, or chips. Sandwich’s (Capt.’s large BBQ, Mate’s small BBQ, hamburger, and Bayou Pig) come alone or combo’d with a side and drink.

Saraland is home to two very good barbecue joints. The first of which is Chuck’s Bar B Q on Hwy. 43. They open early for breakfast and then close after lunch, usually two o’clock. The breakfast is fine, the burgers are quite good, but the barbecue is the star. Among their tasty samples are ribs, pulled pork, and chicken, with their best offering being brisket which is full of smoke flavor. Their sauce is sweet and tangy.

Across town on Hwy. 188 (Industrial Pkwy.) is J. Rogers Barbecue. J. Roger’s features what is probably the area’s best lunch buffet with fried pork tenderloin and gravy, homemade mac ‘n cheese, collards, and of course barbecue. They usually have sausage and always have ribs. Their sauce is brownish in color and tastes heavy of molasses making it perfect for pork.

Yellow and red striped walls, country music television, and the aroma of smoked pork can mean only one place, Robertsdale’s own Hickory House BBQ. This little shack right where Hwy. 59 splits features more pig figurines than you can shake a spare rib at. Part of the charm is the M&M dispenser on every table. The pulled pork is pretty good, the beef brisket is excellent, but the chicken steals the show. They also have the Big Pig salad (a garden salad with your choice of smoked meat) and all-you-can eat ribs everyday for $11.99.

Also in Baldwin County is the southern satellite of the Birmingham legend, Ollie’s (Hwy. 98 Daphne). Almost lost in a strip mall this branch features murals on the walls that conjure images of the original like the old familiar Coke sign that brags “Ollie’s World’s Best Bar B Q.” The house sauce is a thin vinegar sauce reminiscent of those found in the Carolinas. It is a welcome break from the thick, sugary tomato sauces found at most places. The vinegar sauce is best with the pulled pork and chicken. They do have a very nice traditional sauce that has a strong taste of Worcestershire. The ribs are very tender with a lot of smoke flavor. All plates are served with thick sliced pickles and white bread.

So get out there and pig out!

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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."

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