Nationally, we speak a language of barbecue. Many of our restaurant chains offered barbecue sauce slathered on whatever meats each serves, from Arby’s to Slim Chickens to the lowly McRib. Yet, despite generations of drive-thru customers coast to coast, our regional barbecues retain their unique accents, styles and cultures.
Alabama Barbecue: Delicious Road Trips, and from our friends with Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism. And we utilized a fantastic barbecue-centric application available for free, the Alabama BBQ app.
We crisscrossed the area from Orange Beach to Fairhope, looking for places to sample and sniffing the air for those great flavors that often pull us off the road. After three days and nights and (I kid you not) 11 different meals, Grav and I came up with our five favorite spots for barbecue within 30 minutes of the Alabama Gulf Coast. What’s unusual about this list for us, is that we agreed on the exact order of each of these eateries.
Next time you’re headed south to enjoy the white sand beaches of Alabama’s Gulf Coast, put these stops on your itinerary.
The barbecue is simple and cheap. We went for a
That sauce… smooth, creamy, just
2. Hog Wild Beach and BBQ (Gulf Shores). There’s a sign right by the register that emphasizes the situation on supply at the restaurant: “when we’re out, we’re out.” That’s right – the restaurant closes down when it’s sold out of all of its pork, chicken, sausage, baby back ribs, turkey and wings.
We met our friend and Gulf Shores contact Kay here for lunch on a
And then there was the Smoked Crispy Chicken.
Cait's potato salad
Moe’s was founded by Mike Fernandez from Tuscaloosa, Ben Gilbert from Athens, and Jeff Kennedy from Huntsville. They all met at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, and they all
We were tempted on our Thursday night visit to sample the Thanksgiving Thursday, which consists of the sliced smoked turkey with cornbread dressing, cranberry sauce and white sauce on a bun… but wasn’t sure if that’d be a good review. Maybe at some other time.
Grav’s choice of sliced smoked turkey was decadent, especially in size, with seven slices of turkey drizzled with both that tangy red sauce and
very strong, very bright rainbow that came on when we were just a quarter mile from this location on Friday evening. Moreso, as we tried the different sauces and meats within, a double rainbow formed, and one customer claims
That being said, we were pretty pleased with the offerings here, especially the barbecue beef brisket stuffed potato I procured. The strongly smoky beef needed taming, which it got initially under the cover of cheddar cheese
Grav’s choice at L.A. Barbecue just barely can
smoked chicken salad, which retained a remarkable smoke flavor. Served up on green lettuce leaves, it was a nice cooldown in contrast to all the hot-on-the-bun barbecue we’d had on our trip. Website.
This exquisite sandwich on a bun baked by Sweet Olive Bakery was the most ridiculous fusion of meat with green chimichurri sauce, savory coleslaw, red cabbage and Alabama white sauce you can imagine… but it was also one of those things you
Grav stepped away from the sauce and went for the smoke with the daily special, a smoked meatloaf sandwich that was also quite amusing, served up
collard greens. The winner, we both agreed, wasn’t just my barbecue sandwich but the bread pudding made from Sweet Olive Bakery bread glued together with a lovely lemon-laced frosting. Writing that line just made me salivate again.
This place, by the way, took the spot originally held by Moe's Original Bar-B-Que when the
candy shop, a popsicle stand and a fruit stand – and that’s on top of the delicious breakfasts David conjured for us at Magnolia Springs Bed and Breakfast each morning. We found that everywhere we went, including all the beaches, were within a half hour’s drive. That included everything from watching the crowd at The Flora-Bama on the Florida-Alabama border to catching a sunset over Mobile Bay at Fairhope. In-between, we strolled through historic Fort Morgan in the rain, thrift-shopped in Foley, surveyed the beach in Gulf Shores, explored the back roads around Bon Secour and walked the boardwalk at the Weeks Bay Pitcher Plant Bog.
We utilized the Alabama Barbecue app, which came in very handy for finding some of our more secluded barbecue joints. It also shared tidbits of information about each of the restaurants along our way. Our next visit, I believe we’ll check out Mobile’s thriving barbecue scene using this handy application.
So when you head to the Alabama Gulf Coast, do yourself a few favors. I've given you some good tips here on barbecue joints, but you can make your own choices thanks to the good folks at Alabama Tourism. Go do some research at the Alabama Barbecue website. It has a lot of great stories, interesting links and information about Q - Alabama's Barbecue Legends Documentary. And pick up a copy of Alabama Barbecue: Delicious Road Trips (boy, I sure wish my books were published looking this good!) by Annette Thompson with Art Meripol. It makes a handy roadtrip bible for your Alabama barbecue trip.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Alabama Tourism. The opinions and text are all mine. Photos for this piece were shot by Grav Weldon and Kat Robinson.