What To Eat in Alabama
Around the Mobile Bay, must-eats include the sweet local crab-meat specialty, West Indies salad, as well as fried crab claws and fresh oysters. Throughout the state, barbecue is noteworthy – ribs especially; and to the north be sure to look for white BBQ sauce, unique to the area. Deep South classics such as fried chicken, cream pie, and banana pudding abound in the cafes of Birmingham and Montgomery. And you haven’t fully tasted Alabama until you’ve had a kraut-topped chili dog at Mobile’s Dew Drop Inn.
At once rich and piquant, West Indies salad is a mix of fresh crab meat, vinegar, salt, pepper, and chopped sweet onion. It is served cool by the bowl – frequently family style for the whole table, accompanied by saltine crackers. It usually is an appetizer, but is often eaten in double portions as an entrée.
Of all the South's soothing desserts, none is quite so palliative as banana pudding or, as true aficionados of comfort food know it, 'naner pudding. It is a dandy finish for any meal of meat and threes, especially welcome as the denouement following salty country ham, spicy barbecue, or highly seasoned fried chicken.
Unique to northern Alabama, white barbecue sauce is smoke-cooked chicken's boon companion. It is mayonnaise-based with an undercurrent of vinegar.
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Birmingham's Woodlawn Cycle Cafe boasts homemade sweet potato biscuits with strawberry jam, grits bowls with Conecuh sausage, and ginger-turmeric iced tea.
Bob Sykes is one of Birmingham, Alabama's most esteemed BBQ parlors (since 1957). Fabulous pork, but do save room for meringue-topped lemon pie.
Bogue's is a Birmingham diner featuring Southern breakfast built around hot biscuits and lunch of meat-and-three vegetable bonanzas.
Lunch and dinner are served cafeteria style, but it's table-service breakfast that has made Fife's a Birmingham, Alabama, best bet.
Comfortable, hospitable and middle-class classy, the Bright Star Restaurant (Alabama's oldest) is a beacon of great seafood and steak cooked with a Greek flair.
Martin's serves southern-style meat-and-three at its best: fried chicken, baked chicken, vegetables galore, plus pies that are the pride of Montgomery, Alabama.
A turkey-only restaurant where birds comes from the proprietors' own farm, Bate's is just off I-65 in Greenville, Alabama. Such an easy square meal!
Kendall's is a tiny take-out-only BBQ shack just yards from I-65 and a few minutes' drive from Hank Williams' boyhood home.
Hospitable Alabama roadside BBQ parlor offers chopped pork, super-succulent brisket, spare ribs, and loaded potatoes. Plus early-morning breakfast.