Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY

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buffetbuster
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2014/07/09 13:44:31 (permalink)

Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY

I wasn't planning on doing a trip report for this past weekend, but would like to see how it goes with the new format.....
 
For the Fourth of July holiday weekend, I found a cheap flight in and out of Nashville.  Now, I like Nashville just fine, but I have been here many, many times and as recently as this past December.  So, the idea was to use it as a jumping of point to explore some other areas.
 
Usually on these trips I have most of it planned out, with a pretty good idea of where I will be visiting and when.  This time, with it being a holiday weekend and not really knowing what will be open, I thought it better to play it by ear.  Landing in Nashville at 6:35AM, I headed for baggage claim.  Since the desk for Budget Car Rental was so close, I decided to get my car before the luggage.  Snag #1, the guy couldn't find my reservation.  I told him I would be back with the confirmation number, which was in my luggage.  After getting my suitcase and giving him the number, he said, "Here is the problem, your reservation is for Kansas City!"  Sure, I love Kansas City plenty, but I don't appreciate my laptop reserving cars there behind my back!  No big deal, as they had plenty of cars.
 
My first call was to the Roadfood reviewed David Gibson's Barbecue in Huntsville, Alabama to make sure they were open.  They were and I was on my way.  Two hours later, I pulled up to this small building

with a flat roof and a drive-thru on the side.  This place was opened by the son of Big Bob Gibson's in 1956.  More on the history of the place.

 
When I pulled in, I assumed breakfast would be the meal available.  After all, they open at 7:00AM.  So, I was working myself up for some country ham and biscuits.  Instead, the menu

offers no breakfast items and it is all bbq, all the time!  Truthfully, I like it better this way.
 
Having been bbq deprived for too long, I did go overboard in ordering.  So much so that the friendly woman who took my order was surprised when I said it was for here.  First thing up was the hearty Brunswick stew,

with more than a fair share of pork and not too loaded down with vegetables.  This came with a pair of dense, crunchy coated hushpuppies,

with absolutely no sweetness to them.
 
Wanting to try both the pork and the chicken, I went for a combination platter, which comes with three sides. 

You can see that the chosen sides were green beans, potato salad and fried okra.  No doubt that the star of this plate was the chicken

with the north Alabama white bbq sauce.  The meat was perfectly moist and juicy and was complimented well by the sauce.  It has been a few years since my last experience with the white sauce and I had forgotten how lemony it is.  You can still taste the mayo, vinegar and pepper, but the lemon is right there with the other ingredients.  As big as this half chicken was, I had no trouble eating the entire thing.
 
Just out of curiosity sake, I tried the white sauce on the pork and no, this was not good at all.  The pork was a little on the dry side and even using the sauces provided on the table, it didn't reach the heights of the chicken.  The sauce

on the right is the slightly sweet, typical tomato sauce, while the one in the middle is very thin and heavy on the vinegar.
 
Do you have a food that you keep ordering despite the fact that you almost never like it?  That is my relationship with fried okra.  I enjoy regular okra just fine, but it doesn't work fried for me.  Maybe it is because the okra is so small, the ratio of fried stuff to vegetable is skewed.  Anyway, I had just a handful of bites of the version

served here and moved on to better things.  The green beans

were nice and porky, but the best of the sides was the potato salad. 

I usually don't order potato salad, but when I asked for a suggestion about which of their sides were best, the woman who took my order said it first and told me it was made in house.  It was slightly mustardy and was whipped to the point where were no chunks of potato of any size.
 
To drink, some of the sweetest sweet tea imaginable. 

Strangely, it didn't come in a regular paper cup.  The photo is deceiving as it is short and wide and almost looks more like a soup cup.  They do make their own pie here, so I tried the chocolate,

which was terrific!  Nice flaky crust, deep rich chocolate filling and a lovely slight meringue.  This was one of the better slices of pie I have had this year.
 
Service was quick and friendly.  She came over and filled up my tea cup several times and even offered me one to go, which I declined.  For all of this food, the bill came to just over $20.00. 

And I am still trying to figure out why my tax ended up being a negative amount, though that isn't a complaint.
 
David Gibson's Barbecue
4114 Bob Wallace Avenue
Huntsville, AL
256-539-6312
 
Next up, I take a trip to daddy's place!    
post edited by buffetbuster - 2014/07/09 18:21:44
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    Ralph Melton
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    Re: Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY 2014/07/09 14:38:38 (permalink)
    I definitely have foods that I keep ordering even though I usually don't like them. We've talked before about haluski and sauerbraten - the beguiling thing is that when done well, those are great, but they're so rarely done well.
     
    But fried okra are not such a food for me; I can't explain why, but they're one of my favorite fried foods.
    #2
    buffetbuster
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    Re: Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY 2014/07/09 14:53:46 (permalink)
    Ralph, funny you mention haluski.  I have liked almost every version I've ever encountered, at least until yesterday.  I found myself in Youngstown on business, which presented an opportunity to check out Krakus Polish Deli in Boardman.  The pierogies and stuffed cabbage were both quite good, but the haluski was lifeless and bland.
     
    I agree that sauerbraten is another one of those foods.  It is what John Cusack's character in Say Anything would refer to as a "dare to be great" situation.  When I find a good one, it is one of my favorite foods.  Unfortunately, 90% of the time I am disappointed.  Chicken parm is another one of those dishes.
    #3
    mar52
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    Re: Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY 2014/07/09 15:34:16 (permalink)
    Darn!  I was in Nashville last week.  Just found out my cousin was there over the 4th.  Timing is everything.
     
    One of my meal choices was Prince's Hot Chicken.  After reading several different sites on Prince's I chose medium.  It was OMG good and hot!  Loved it.  Wish it were in Los Angeles.
     
    Pictures to follow in a month or so.  I'm putting miles on my car!
    post edited by mar52 - 2014/07/09 15:38:51
    #4
    Foodbme
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    Re: Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY 2014/07/09 16:34:22 (permalink)
    BB,
    That minus $1.00 on the check is not tax.
    That's your Senior Discount!!!!!!!!!!!
     
    #5
    buffetbuster
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    Re: Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY 2014/07/09 18:09:20 (permalink)
     
    mar52-
    Sorry we missed each other in Nashville!  When were you there?  I would have loved to have met you at Prince's or anywhere.
     
    Foodbme-
    I can't believe you went there!
    #6
    mar52
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    Re: Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY 2014/07/09 18:21:08 (permalink)
    Cliff, we were there the 26th and 27th of June. Why do restaurants close after lunch in Tennessee? Couldn't find anything worth trying that was open. Ended up eating at the Hard Rock Cafe on Broadway because they were open and they had valet parking.
    #7
    buffetbuster
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    Re: Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY 2014/07/09 18:24:54 (permalink)
    Okay Marlene, then we weren't there at the same time, then.  It really is a meat and three town, which usually means lunch.  It's no picnic finding something open on a Sunday, either.
     
    Safe travels where ever you are going!
    #8
    buffetbuster
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    Re: Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY 2014/07/09 19:59:41 (permalink)
    It took about half hour to drive down to Big Bob Gibson's in Decatur.  This is the most famous bbq restaurant in north Alabama and one of the most famous in the entire county.  They have a terrific sign out front. 

    As both of my visits have been during the day, I'm thinking this would be an especially great neon sign at night, but don't know for sure.  This is a large building

    with plenty of parking on the side and in the back.  Arriving at just before 11:00AM, I had no trouble snagging a booth in the corner. 

    By the time I was leaving, there were at least 50 people waiting for a table, with maybe an equal amount battling the crowds for take-out.
     
    All of the waitresses were wearing patriotic red, white and blue clothing.  It took a few minutes for my waitress to come over and when she did, I greeted her with "Happy Independence Day!"  She just stared back at me for a few seconds, contemplating and finally replied, "Huh.  I hadn't heard that before."  Okay, we aren't off to a great start here.  She was a little odd, but overall did a good job of taking care of me.
     
    I didn't think it was even possible, but the sweet tea

    here was actually sweeter than at David Gibson's.  You can almost feel your teeth getting ready to fall out.  I like the fact that give you plenty of ice, since I like my iced tea very cold.
     
    This isn't the most humble barbecue shop.  On the front of the menu they call themselves the best barbecue in the world and on the back,

    they brag about all the championships they have won.
     
    Wanting to try more of the white barbecue sauce and their famous ribs, I went with a two meat combination.  The ribs

    are excellent, big and meaty, although they could have been a little bit hotter, temperature-wise.  The chicken (obviously, I went with dark meat) 

    seemed to be crispier than what I had earlier in the day, but it came alive with some of the white bbq sauce, which was even more lemony here.  The fact that they keep full bottles

    of their sauce on the tables is much appreciated.
     
    The cole slaw is finely chopped and ultra-vinegary.  The bbq beans were very sweet, with little bits of onion and a generous dose of the championship bbq sauce.  Soft rolls 

    also come with your meal, but I never got around to trying them.
     
    For dessert, some mighty fine coconut cream pie!

     
    On the way out, I spotted a couple weird sculptures

    near the register, which after looking at the photos, are most likely trophies.
     
    My feelings on Big Bob Gibson's is that it certainly isn't the best bbq parlor in the world, but it is still more than deserving of it's fame.
     
    Big Bob Gibson's
    1715 6th Avenue SE
    Decatur, AL
    256-350-6969
     
    It was time to get out of this madhouse and start the drive back towards Nashville.   
    #9
    wanderingjew
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    Re: Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY 2014/07/09 21:08:07 (permalink)
    Trip report or not, this is a great start, buffetbuster.
     
    I'm going to be brutally honestYour photo of the chicken at Big Bob Gibson's reminds me of why I never came back to visit- 
     
    Next time take that   drive to Miss Myra's 
    Miss Myra's Pit Bar-B-Que Vestavia HIlls Al by ohso37, on Flickr
     
     
     
    #10
    buffetbuster
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    Re: Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY 2014/07/09 21:33:05 (permalink)
    WJ, Miss Myra's is high on the list of places I want to try.  But, it was far enough to drive down to Huntsville.  Driving down to Birmingham was not even a consideration.
     
    No doubt that the chicken at Big Bob Gibson's didn't compare to what I was served at David Gibson's Barbecue.  So you didn't even like Big Bob Gibson's ribs?
    #11
    wanderingjew
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    Re: Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY 2014/07/09 21:49:03 (permalink)
    buffetbuster,
     
    I know, Miss Myra's was too far- I'm just bustin' on you. I never had the the ribs at Big Bob Gibson's, I thought they were just famous for their chicken.
    #12
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re: Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY 2014/07/09 23:15:32 (permalink)
    My top three were your 2 pie selections and the fried okra!
    #13
    lleechef
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    Re: Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY 2014/07/10 00:44:00 (permalink)
     wj, please no more pictures of Miss Myra's......you're killing me!  We were so close last year yet so far.  Next time we'll arrive at 7AM and camp out in the parking lot so we'll be there in time for dinner!
    bb
    The new format is certainly working for you.....nice report......I had trouble and frustration posting 2 pictures tonight and nearly threw the camera and the laptop out the door! 
    #14
    CajunKing
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    Re: Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY 2014/07/18 11:42:37 (permalink)
    BB - I have sat at that very table where the walker is folded up.

     
    Your "Sculpture" are indeed trophies, they are the Grand Champion Trophies from Memphis In May.  One of the two biggest bbq comps in the WORLD.
     

     
    And just because I have been there a time or 100 (or so) I looked through my photos of BBG's and found this one for you.  It wasn't night or dark out but actually mid day during a tropical storm that was moving north.
      
     
     
    #15
    CajunKing
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    Re: Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY 2014/07/18 11:44:46 (permalink)
    Not that I would stop there EVERY time I went to visit my father in FL.  I do miss BBG's but Gabby's is getting close, I feel like NORM when I walk in the door.
    #16
    buffetbuster
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    Re: Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY 2014/07/18 13:45:23 (permalink)
    CK-
    Thanks for posting the lit up neon sign.  She's a beauty!  Have you ever thought about writing an official Roadfood review for the place?  Nobody knows Big Bob Gibson's like you do!
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    ChiBears15
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    Re: Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY 2014/07/20 12:49:08 (permalink)
    Cliff,
    Excellent pictures as usual.  Did you taste a noticeable difference between the white sauce at David Gibson's and Big Bob's?
     
    Danny
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    buffetbuster
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    Re: Holiday weekend trip to TN/AL/KY 2014/07/20 12:54:30 (permalink)
    ChiBears15-
    The big difference was that Big Bob Gibson's was more lemony.  I liked them both very much.
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