Decatur, Ala.: A grand city on a charming scale

LYSA ALLMAN-BALDWIN | 6/14/2012, 1:31 p.m.
Just a short 30-minute drive from Huntsville, Decatur--although only a small city of just under...
Decatur, Ala.: A grand city on a charming scale

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-style, plastic, three-sectioned camp plates, surrounded by tissue-box-size napkin holders and bottles of their famous sauces--Spicy Mustard, Backyard Mustard, Championship Red and Alabama Red.

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 or 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.

Despite the fact that we 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, N.C.--that it is truly among the top barbecue restaurants in the country and an essential gastronomic treat when in North Alabama.

Next up, we're traveling to the (Birming)Ham!

Resource list

  • Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Que: (256) 350-6969,
  • Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau: (800) 232-5449, (256) 350-2028,
  • The Year of Alabama Food: