With my family and childhood originating from the Memphis Tn area, southern barbecue has always been a passion of mine and to this day (perhaps because of found childhood memories) the pulled and dry rib barbecue recipes that originated in the Memphis area are still my personal favorite. The Rendezvous (you can order via Federal Express for next day delivery to anywhere in the country) and the old, now closed, Public Eye restaurants have long been my favorites. Did I say this personal bias could likely be due to a multitude of very found memories of family and friends?
Nonetheless, North Alabama has its own unique claim to southern barbecue fame in the form of: ‘Big Bob Gibson‘ who first started serving local southern barbecue with a make shift apparatus from his own back yard in Decatur, Alabama in the 1920′s.
The unique component of Bob Gibson’s barbecue, back in the day, was his now World Famous White Sauce. Sure, there we a wide variety of vinegar and tomato based sauces that were building a following in Tennessee, Texas, and the Carolinas (btw, you really can’t mention southern barbecue in absence of the Carolinas and their mustard sauce, as they are also major players, in my opinion), but none was as unique as Big Bob’s White Sauce which I truly love, especially with barbecue chicken, and Big Bob’s white sauce is truly an original Northern Alabama Tradition.
Big Bob Family Member on Today Show May 12, 2009
All of Bob’s five children decided to stay in the barbecue business over the years and they have opened several restaurants in the Huntsville and Decatur area. There is of course a local’s debate about which particular restaurant serves the best barbecue and I can’t weigh in on this debate because honestly I have not had the privilege to dine at all of the locations. Nevertheless, for nostalgia sake definitely take in the oldest Decatur location for a first hand feel of this historic local cuisine.
The family effort has far too many national awards to mention them all in this post. However it must be said that the family has developed and marketed many other specialty barbecue sauces (besides the white sauce) over the years. One memorable award came in 1998 when Bob Gibson’s Red Sauce (actually a literal mixture of two family member’s independent red sauce receipts that they couldn’t agree upon as an entry) won the title of “Best Sauce in the World” over 500 different sauces entered in the Royal International Barbecue Sauce competition and the family’s assortment of barbecue sauces are now sold in over 8 states and 2000 retail locations.
So be sure to check out Gibson’s Barbecue when you’re in town and looking around, I can personally testify to the fact that you will not be disappointed. Be sure to check at least one of their websites as well.