Here is the fifth installment of our BBQ tour of the US South. This road trip includes three BBQ stops and another honorable mention. This post picks up with samples from Alabama, South Carolina, and Mississippi The first one covered Louisiana and Texas. The second post covered Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. The third covered North Carolina and eastern Virginia. The fourth part covered western Virginia, Alabama, and Georgia (by way of Vermont). This is a very unscientific sampling taken from doing a search on the likely places we might stop for a meal. We consulted the Southern BBQ Trail and Our State Magazine (NC), as well as doing simple searches.
Bob Sykes started his first BBQ in Birmingham in 1957 and then moved to Bessemer, Alabama in 1968. The food had been recommended by some people we met in New Orleans, so we made it a destination. The present Bessemer location was started in 1977 by his wife, and their son Van later took over. They had some of the largest ribs I have ever eaten and they were quite tasty also. The smoking grill is located right in the center of the place and “nothing has changed in over fifty years in the way we prepare and cook our famous barbeque and special sauce.“ It is located at 1724 9th Ave N, Bessemer, AL 35020 (205) 426-1400.
In Greer South Carolina, my cousins get together every year. We often get BBQ at Mutts for one night and this happen again this year. As the Web site states, “The idea for Mutt's BBQ stemmed from a long family tradition in Randy Jones' family. His grandfather, on special occasions, especially Christmas, dug an open pit, cut hickory wood, made his special sauce, and presented his family with a whole pig, prepared to perfection. Years later, his son Mutt, desiring to pass along the tradition to his sons, began having “pig pickings” every Thanksgiving.” Randy, Mutts’ son, opened Mutts in 1998 using grandfather’s methods. We had a number of people to feed so we got ribs, pulled pork, fired okra, beans, cole slaw, sweet potato crunch, hash & rice, hush puppies and green beans. It was all good. There is a model train that runs around the top of the restaurant and a lot of railroad stuff on display. It is located at 101 S-23-305, Greer, SC 29650 (864) 848-3999.
Squealer's Hickory Smoked Bar-B-Que is not as old as Bob Sykes as it has been in Meridian, Mississippi since 1998 (same as Mutts in Greer). This was our first try at BBQ in Mississippi and it did not disappoint. They offered free pork skins as a starter. Then we had some very bready but still good onion rings. The main event was their Sampler (1/4# Pulled pork, 1/4 Chicken, 1/4# Brisket, 3 wings, 2 rib bones, your choice of 2 side fixins and 2 slices white bread). We had their excellent fried okra and cole slaw as the sides. This was a lot of food, even for two people as you can see. Then we got carried away and took some ribs and brisket as a take out for later. They write: “believe that Bar-B-Que is a style of cooking. The sauce should not take away from the flavor of our meat. Our sauces only enhance the flavor you taste in our smoked meat.” I could not agree more and often do not put on any sauce to get the full taste of the meat. They are located at 4805 29th Ave (601-483-2727 or 601-693-0910).
Post Script: We tried to find Cue in a small Georia town with two places. However, one was closed for good and the other was closed on Monday. We went to a Colenel Sanders as an alternatve. We were pelased that the lcoal people had set up their own all you can eat buffet with locally cooked food. I am not mentioning the town in case corporate does not endorse this move but we loved it. Here is a sample plate. In addtioin to the fired chicken, there were scalloped potatoes, corn, fried okra, biscuits, mac and cheese, peach cobbler, choclate pudding and much more.