Doug Allen, who played college football for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide, traded his life as a gridiron guru to become a grill master of Southern-style barbecue. Specializing in tender, golden-fried catfish ($11.50 for a six-piece dinner plate) and succulent, sauce-lathered ribs ($13.50 for 1/2-slab plate) slow-cooked over an open-pit, the Crimson Pit is a meaty haven of barbecue bliss. Dinner plates come with bread and a choice of two sides, such as classic barbecue beans, mac 'n' cheese, or the greens, a fearsome trio recently added to the roster that consists of collard, turnip, and cabbage.
At India Palace, blending and calibrating spices becomes an art as the chefs combine ginger, cardamom, and peppers to craft Indian entrees. The culinary experts draw inspiration from all around the subcontinent, paying homage to Goa by simmering shrimp curries and giving a nod to Kashmir with rogan josh’s tender cubes of lamb. They create their own cheese, nestling fresh chunks of it in tomato-based cream sauce or spinach, and take a lesson from Chinese culinary traditions for Manchurian-style cauliflower and marinated chicken spiced with soy and hot-pepper sauces.
After a spicy meal, diners don’t need to resort to eating a snowman alive—they can cool their palates with sips of mango lassi or swallows of indian beer. As they savor their drinks at tables draped in red tablecloths, they glance around at the wood-paneled dining room and framed art illuminated by overhead wheels that dangle six lanterns each.
At Arlene Williams BBQ, smoke sinks into sausage and sauce seeps into slowly roasting cuts of pork, beef, and chicken. In the dining room, the sauce drips from ribs, drawing nervous glances from the novelist writing the last line on their 432nd napkin. Steam and the sound of clattering pots drifts from the kitchen, conjuring images of the steamed okra, collard greens, and blackberry cobbler within.
Though its chimney can hardly be seen above its white and red awning, Smokehouse Cafe nevertheless relies on the smoky smell of slow-cooked meat as its first advertisement. Inside, a to-the-point menu breaks down exactly what foodstuffs generate that aroma, from the Big Butt burger to the sauce-slathered pork ribs. The cooks whip up classic barbecue sidekicks to go with their dishes, such as homemade fries or campfire beans, which can only be cooked in temporary lodgings in nearby forests. Additionally, Smokehouse Cafe provides catering for events of all sizes, allowing their slow-cooked meats to be enjoyed at office parties, family gatherings, or other special occasions.
The Brick Pit’s owner, Bill Armbrecht, firmly believes that great barbecue can't be rushed. Open the red doors of his massive smoker—"Big Red"— and you’ll uncover juicy slabs of ribs, chicken, and pork that have been roasting anywhere from 6 to 30 hours. Bill coats each cut of meat in his legendary spicy barbecue sauce, which was lauded by reporters from Southern Living and relished by Adam Richman on Man v. Food. For a sweet finish, Bill and his chefs whip up housemade banana pudding each day from scratch.
After ordering barbecue platters from the back window, guests retreat into the lively dining room. The walls are decorated in the doodles, praise, and thesis papers of the hundreds of guests who've passed through the restaurant's doors along with framed awards and glowing news articles.
As a feature on Local 15 shows, longtime Mobile residents can fondly remember warm summer nights in the 1950s, when they’d cruise the parking lot of Ossie’s Bar-B-Que with their sweethearts, singing along to the radio and sharing milkshakes. Cheerful carhops would dart about the parking lot, toting baskets of fresh fries and tangy barbecue-pork sandwiches straight to car windows. Though Ossie’s closed its doors in 1984, loyal patrons never forgot the legendary barbecue joint where they received first kisses, proposed to their wives, and spent many a Friday night.
It was the owner’s son—Rudy Boutwell—and his son-in-law—Chip Deupree—who came up with the idea to reopen the popular eatery more than 30 years later. The duo unearthed a handwritten copy of Rudy’s father’s famous barbecue sauce and fired up the grills in the restaurant’s original location. Today, cooks continue to whip up the beloved barbecue plates, chic-loin sandwiches, and hand-battered onion rings that made the original location a local favorite. The skilled cooks use Chip’s mother’s recipe to craft the creamy potato salad that was lauded by reporters from Mobile Bay magazine. Succulent barbecue sandwiches get devoured within the booths that line the lively dining room; elsewhere, drive-thru service facilitates a quick snack within the comfort of a car or atop a small pony dressed up to look like a car.