OK. You’ve been patient enough along this journey as part of The Year of Alabama Food, where we traveled—knife and fork in hand—from Huntsville, to Decatur, and finally to Birmingham. To start at Part One click here.
So here are a few places to tempt your taste buds while in The Ham!
From Farm to Table
I love visiting a city’s farmer’s market, so one the benchmark of city with a vibrant culinary landscape. This is definitely true at Pepper Place Market on 2nd Avenue South. Held from mid-April to mid-December, the market exudes a wonderful vibe, no doubt created by the plethora of succulent, multi-hued fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs for sale at the close to 100 booths presented by local farmers and vendors from generally within 100 miles of the city.
Many of the crop items have also been parlayed into delicious jellies and jams; sauces, rubs and toppings; breads, pies, cookies and cakes; wines and vinegars; sausages and all other sorts of other yummy culinary treats.
A bevy of arts and crafts are sold here as well, from homemade furniture to creative kitchenware, beautiful clothing and shoes, artwork, gifts and more. The ambiance here is also enhanced by live music from local talent.
Smack it up, Flip it, Rub it Down…
Yep – I’m talkin’ bout some good ole Southern ‘que. Like many states (and cities) across the country, Alabamans are fiercely proud of their barbecue. So we of course had to sample some – doing so at an outstanding, black-owned family joint called Rib-It-Up whose moniker is “The Finest Barbecue Around.”
Let’s just say that the flavors are amazing, the portions are sizeable, the options are numerous and the prices are very reasonable, especially considering the quality. Let’s start with the ribs, which are some of the best I have tasted. Tender, juicy, fall off the bone, and not to be missed. The dinners, all of which include a choice of two veggies plus a roll or bread encompass, in the bbq category, beef, pork, rib tips, pork chops, and ribs and chicken.
Chicken dinners range from quarters to halves, tenders, wings and chopped chicken, the fish dinners offering a choice of whiting or catfish. There are similar sandwich and sandwich combos, plus their awesome baked potatoes with your choice of loaded, with bbq pork, chicken or beef, or a combo spud with a side salad. The sides were tantalizing as well: mac ‘n cheese, green beans, turnip or collard greens, slaw, potato salad, fried okra or green tomatoes, bbq beans, yams, fries and onion rings. Another nice twist was the cracklin’ muffins, offering an extra crunch to this ubiquitous barbecue side. For desserts choose from lemon meringue and lemon and pecan (yes, this is one pie) pie, peach cobbler or homemade cake.
Some of the many other popular barbecue joints in the area include Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Que, Saw’s BBQ, Dreamland Bar-B-Que, and Moe’s Original Bar B Que, just to name a few.
Hang on to your napkin! We’re wrapping up this The Year of Alabama Food series with just a few more places to tempt your tastebuds! (To start at Part One of this travel series click here.)