The first Golden Rule Bar-B-Q and Grill—a roadside joint frequented by locals and travelers alike—served its first heaping plate of lovingly smoked barbecue in 1891. The restaurant has since adapted with the times, acquiring a car-repair garage, neon signs, and a hovercar dock, in addition to nearly a dozen saucy outposts across the state. Now the various locations serve slow-cooked, hickory-smoked meats served with a variety of secret-recipe sauces and sides such as collards or mac 'n' cheese. Guests can also forgo the sauce and order surf 'n' turf dishes such as a hand-cut charbroiled steak or a creole grilled fresh catfish fillet.
For more than 50 years, the Berzett family has owned Greenbrier Bar-B-Que, while serving hickory-smoked barbecue chicken, pork barbecue, fried-catfish fillets, hushpuppies, and seafood—their specialties. After spending more than 30 years at its original location, the restaurant now resides in a different building located right off 565 near the Harley Davidson store. In this convenient new location, they broil catfish filets, batter and deep-fry shrimp, bake southern pecan pies, and more. Their southern-themed menu also features a roster of classic sides—fried okra, baked beans, and slaw.
When Granville Bruner envisioned Granville's BBQ, he imagined a casual restaurant in which he could share his time-tested recipes for slow-cooked meats such as dry-rubbed hams, succulent turkeys, and tender chickens with the foodies and families of Huntsville. Noting that the establishment "proves good barbecue isn't limited to hard-to-find back country shacks," Jon Busdecker of the Huntsville Times praised the ribs as "tender, smoky, and so, so good." The menu is filled with flavorful, pleasantly uncomplicated platters of catfish, brisket, and ribs that hit the spot, apologize to it, and then give it a barbecue-sauce-slathered hug. With a few TVs turned to the big game, walls hung with understated art, and modest tables and chairs, Granville's no-nonsense approach charms diners as they enjoy a comforting meal that leaves chatty bellies all talked out.
In 1958, spirits were high in Tuscaloosa as Paul “Bear” Bryant began his long career as coach of the Crimson Tide football team and John “Big Daddy” Bishop opened up the first Dreamland Café just south of town. Bishop was a brick mason by trade and began selling simple meals of grilled barbecue pork ribs with his wife, Miss Lilly, as a way to get a little extra cash. Little did the Bishops know that their bustling barbecue shack off of Highway 82 would blossom into 8 locations. A bona fide southern institution, the Café is famous for its tangy secret barbecue sauce, meaty slabs of slow-cooked ribs, and creamy, ambrosial banana pudding. Today, the slightly larger menu satisfies cravings for old-school Alabama barbecue recipes with pulled pork, hickory-grilled chicken, baked beans, and coleslaw.
Living up to the Café's motto—“Ain't Nothing Like 'Em Nowhere"—Dreamland's famous ribs are a cultural touchstone of the state of Alabama, like a haunting Hank Williams tune. At each location, a friendly, country-style hospitality shines forth in every door held open, earning the loyal patronage of families and local fans, as well as a raft of visiting celebrities and elected officials.
Jack of Hearts BBQ serves up savory barbecue cuisine made with love, smoke, and a kick of special homemade sauce. Peruse Jack of Hearts' menu for your preferred sauce-slathered selection, from the pulled-pork sandwich ($3.95) to a platter of tender ribs (half slab $11.99, full slab $21.99) that can cure any medium-to-large barbeque hankering. Nosh on the smoked turkey plate served with two stomach-stuffing sides, with options such as potato salad, killa' beans, mac ‘n’ cheese, and Simon's slaw (lunch $7.99, dinner $9.99). The family meals ($24.95–$26.95, feeds four to six people) and party packs ($49.95–$51.95, feeds 10–12 people) provide voracious hordes of friends and family with a hearty assortment of pulled pork or smoked turkey, pintsize sides, Jack of Hearts' special sauce, and enough buns to use as chips in a high-stakes game of Go Fish.
Barbecue masters at Mickey Roos spread dry rubs over choice cuts of meat before slow-cooking them in a Texas-style smoker. The hearty menu piles plates, platters, and buns with barbecue and Tex-Mex fare such as baby-back ribs smoked for eight hours and dished out with two sides such as Boot Kickin' beans or corn on the cob ($14.95 for a half-rack). The hearty barbecue plate ($9.95) packs a plate with smoked brisket, sausage, chicken, or pork and two sides, and the Tex-Mex burrito ($7.95) stuffs barbecue into a tortilla saddled with guacamole and refried beans.