There used to be 14 Bob Sykes barbecues in Northern Alabama, but in 1977 the Sykes family decided to concentrate on one location only and moved in to Bessemer, Southwest of Birmingham. Ever since, this smokehouse has been a barbecue beacon.
Cooked over slow-smoldering hickory wood, the pork is finely chopped and succulent; ribs are hefty; chopped beef is particularly flavorful. “Big Bob” dinner plates include your barbecued meat of choice with baked beans, cole slaw, and French fries, plus rolls and a salad. For those with a lot of hungry mouths to feed, there are extra-large orders that range from the Working Mom Special (a pound of barbecue and all the fixins) to the really big feed suitable for 25 people: six pounds of barbecue, a gallon of baked beans, buns, potato salad, and two gallons of tea. Carry-out orders are sold at a drive-through window that the menu advises is ideal for “church functions … hunting trips … tired mothers … unexpected guest.”
Pies are excellent, sold by the slice, whole pie, or mini-pie. You can get chocolate, pecan, and coconut, but the one that must be sampled is the meringue-topped lemon pie: sweet, creamy, and Southern to its soul.