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Bar-b-Coma ’09 – A Contest

Fresh Ribs Daily

Practically everyone I’ve met in Birmingham has a barbecue story, and I’d like to hear yours. Comment below or send a tweet to @skipinbhm with your favorite Alabama barbecue spot (and why) or your earliest ‘cue memory to win lunch with me at your favorite Birmingham barbecue restaurant. Fancy, huh? You’ve got until 11:59 July 23, 2009. Complete rules below.


1. Write in the comments section (NO email addresses or links, please) about your favorite Alabama bbq restaurant (and why), or a bbq memory. Alternatively, contestants may send a tweet to @skipinbhm with their memory or restaurant.
2. Email me – tips at bhamsandwich dot com  with contact information.
3. Giveaway will end at 11:59 p.m. Thursday July 23, 2009
4. Winner will be chosen at random. You may enter more than once, but each entry must be a unique memory or location. Duplicate entries will be ignored.
5. Winner will be notified by email or twitter, and will need to respond to set up a lunch time.
6. All of my decisions are final. Yep, that’s right.
7. Winner will receive one free lunch with me at their favorite Birmingham, Alabama barbecue restaurant.


  1. Wallybob says:

    Well, my favorite BBQ restaurant has to be Jim ‘n Nicks, in Trussville. I know it is silly, but I am a chile-head. My In-laws think I am odd, but I love to coat everything there in Habanero powder. (They don’t carry that anymore). Failing that, I just love their hot sauce. I admit, I like my own Q better, but what the heck, sometimes it’s nice to have other folks do the cooking.

  2. kristen says:

    My most pronounced bbq memory is meeting my now-husband’s best friend and getting in the Texas vs. NC classic bbq argument: is bbq a noun or a verb? And, additionally, is bbq pork, chicken, beef or does it even matter. I was glad when we moved here to find that bbq is a noun meaning pork in Alabama. All is well.

  3. Michelle says:

    What is more memorable than any BBQ meal on a slow, summer day. My preference is BBQ fresh off the backyard grill, but if I were to pick a favorite spot it would be Jim n’ Nicks. I became so addicted to Jim n’ Nicks during my previously frequent visits to Birmingham that it became somewhat of a joke at the local office. Then they opened one in Montgomery…six cheese biscuits and a chopped plate later…I was a fan all over again.

  4. So a few months after my wife left ne and the divorce was final I started talking to this Canadian girl through first the Internet and then the phone and the next thing you know she’s flying down for a visit. She’d spent about a week in Georgia a few years ago while on vacation and that was the extent of her time in the deep South. I wanted to show off my town so we ate at Highlands and the Bright Star and all the good restaurants and enjoyed all that fancy expensive food and then one day she said she wanted to try real barbecue and I figured that Dreamland would be the place to go. So we did.

    She giggled at the “No Farting” sign and sipped at the sweet tea and puzzled over the paper plates stacked with slices of Wonder Bread but when the ribs hit the table I saw her go from intrigued to entranced to transported. Fingers drippng sauce, mouth smeared red, one hand gesturing with a half-gnawed bone, she looked at me and said, “Is all Birmingham barbecue this good?” I admitted that it likely wasn’t and that we’d really need to do some serious investigating to test that theory.

    Well, it’s a year and about twenty barbecue joints later and she’s still here and we’re still finding new places to eat barbecue and for a Canadian she’s awful knowledgeable about dry rubs and hickory smoke and the difference between a mustard and a vinegar sauce.

    Oh, and did I mention? I’m fixing to make an honest woman out of her. I look forward to trying real poutine. And all her family just loved the bottles of sauce they got for Christmas.

  5. Wade Kwon says:

    Man, if Bitter Old Punk doesn’t win, I’ll be surprised.

    Of course, he’ll have to change his name …

  6. Lance says:

    Bah! The best bbq I ever had in my entire life was at the Oak Grove Bar B Que Pit in Jasper, Alabama. It’s where all the bankers had lunch every day so you knew from the size of their southern guts that it was going to be good. It was in an old gas station and still had the old pumps outside of it for the longest. The pork was a giant slab thrown directly onto a fresh hickory log every morning and sprayed with water over and over causing the smoke to, over time, yellow every single plastic surface on the menus on the walls. The sauce was spicy and slathered on the sliced pork and the plain bun and wrapped up in a piece of parchment paper that crinkled as you opened it and would oil up in spots and make the paper transparent so you knew you were going to get a great sandwich.

    It’s one of a handle full of food memories that I could elaborate upon that still stick with me to this day from my childhood.

    Great now I’m in the mood for a visit home.

  7. Hillary in the 'ham says:

    Well… my husband left me for a smoker. No, not the type that will more than likely end up with pulmonary fibrosis or lung cancer- she’s the one who will make you drool, leave you feeling fat and happy for the rest of your life and get you a little more pumped about football season. She holds 14 butts or 20 racks of ribs with no problem- she is a Lang!

    This gigantic, thick, trailor-mounted steel beauty arrived in the care of an Amish man on a back of a trailor. She was accompanied by four other sisters on the trailor who were headed their seperate ways.

    My husband was in love. He upgraded from his former lover, a more-petite generic smoker to this beautiful hunk of love.

    If you have not guessed, my husband and I are in love with the art of BBQ-ing. We are BBQ snobs and BBQ connoisseurs, but there’s no better BBQ than smoked BBQ! Unfotunately, the time consumption of smoking keeps local restaurants from doing the art correctly, so most BBQ is made pit-style. (Appropriately named, because it is the “pits!”)

    Our piece of advice is this: the best BBQ comes from the people who stand on the roadside each and everyday with their smokers selling it right from grates! Smoked BBQ is LOVED BBQ! Good BBQ requires NO side items or icebox pies.

    Stokin’ the Fire BBQ Festival is coming up on August 21-22, show your support to the people who know how to do BBQ the right way!


  8. Barrie Out 'n Hoover says:

    My favorite place to go for a pulled pork bbq sandwich is not even a bbq joint. It’s Rojo on Highland Avenue in Southside (http://www.rojobirmingham.com/). It’s served with a mildly spicey, slilghtly vinegary sauce and I like to order the chipotle coleslaw for my side. Because the coleslaw is a little too spicy for my palatte and the sandwich a little too big to hold with both hands, I like to spread the pork across the open face bun, spread the coleslaw on top of the pork and eat it with a knife and fork. Yum!

    When I do head for a bbq joint in the ‘Ham, it’s always Full Moon (on Southside or Valley Avenue).

  9. T. Shane Smith says:

    You must, must try Whitt’s bbq in North Alabama (or in Nashville). Owned by friends of the family, their bbq is the most decadent, most tender, to-die-for smoked meat I’ve ever tasted. The pork is succulent and wet not with thick bbq sauce, but with it’s own juices and a slightly buttery vinegary broth that can be spooned liberally over your sandwich, if the meat ever makes it from the plastic container to the bun. The sauce can be made as mild or as spicy as you like, depending on your request. I personally like to order my pork sandwiches “medium hot.”

    Sandwiches come in pork, smoked shredded turkey, and shredded beef varieties, each with pickle and sweet, vinegar slaw. They also serve whole smoked chickens, baked beans, potato salad, slaw, and a sweet but savory Brunswick stew.

    There is no “dine in” area, so you have to enjoy Whitt’s like we do back home: around your own kitchen table with the ones you love. They’ll even pack their bbq in dry ice and ship it to you, which is great for those of us stuck in Birmingham with no real decent bbq like Whitt’s.

    If you go to the Decatur locations, the owners also serve Christie cookies, a small boutique brand of cookie whose each flavor is studded with melted chips of toffee. YUM!

    I grew up eating Whitt’s in Athens, but truth be told, the Decatur branches are my favorite of the bunch.

  10. Dan says:

    People have told me some passionate things about Whitt’s and I can’t wait to get up there! Thanks for sharing.

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