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Barbecue Heaven at Big Bob’s

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If you’re ever in Northern Alabama and lookin’ for some good que, an essential culinary stop is definitely Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Que.

Located in Decatur, just a short 30 minute drive from Huntsville, Big Bob’s is one of the most famous barbecue restaurants in the country, and has been bestowed with hundreds of awards to attest to this. This includes a Jack Daniels World Championship honor for their pork offerings, sauce awards from the National Barbecue Association, wins at the American Royal Barbecue in Kansas City and Memphis in May in Tennessee, and multiple state wins in Alabama, Tennessee and Louisiana, just to name a few.

With all of this hoopla, it’s no wonder Big Bob’s is a “must try.” Just walking up to the place you get a true whiff that their que means business, as evidenced by the 300 foot-plus, almost five-foot high wall of hickory wood out back, and the throngs of folks coming in and out literally every minute they are open.

Located in a spacious, dark wood-paneled dining room with awards, magazine and newspaper critics’ reviews and photos of famous diners hanging throughout, the food here is served on classic 1970s, plastic, three-sectioned camp plates, surrounded by tissue-boxed size napkin holders and bottles of their famous sauces—Spicy Mustard, Backyard Mustard, Championship Red and Alabama Red

I’m not so sure if the “Big” in “Big Bob’s” refers to the bold flavors, or the size of their offerings—generous, eye-popping entrees large enough to satisfy any Alabama linebacker—but they are both a hit. Their ribs, one of the most popular items on the menu, are amazing, tender, fall off the bone, melt-in-your-mouth, earthy chunks like none other.

The sampler plate gets you a choice of three meats—smoked turkey, brisket, chicken, pulled pork, beef and a choice of the customary sides. Each of the meats are amazingly tender, exhibiting their own unique flavors sans sauce if you so choose, but remember that they’ve won numerous sauce awards, so it would behoove you to slather down some of the morsels for a real tantalizing treat.

Gibson’s baked potatoes are unbelievably huge as well, resembling an NFL-sized football split open horizontally just below the laces, encompassing the entire plate and topped with your choice of meats Never mind trying to count calories here—the adventure is well worth it.

Despite the fact that we’d each finished enough food for three, our group was forewarned by Big Bob’s fans that the pies are not to be missed. And they were right—outstanding smooth, moan-inducing, coconut, lemon, and chocolate fillings resting atop buttery, flaky crusts crowned with a light as air whipped topping.

There’s no question after dining here (there are two Big Bob’s in Decatur and a new one in Monroe, North Carolina) that it is truly among the top barbecue restaurants in the country, and an essential gastronomic treat when in North Alabama.

Written by Lysa Allman-Baldwin

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