BBQ throughout the South and Midwest varies from place to plate. Depending on where you are, you’ll find brisket, pork, even mutton. Some prefer a thick opaque red sauce or a thin marinade of vinegar and pepper, while others find it an atrocity to serve smoked meat with any sauce at all. Everything from the sides that are served to the wood being used can provoke endless debates.
For a BBQ experience unique to Northern Alabama there is nowhere better than Miss Myra’s just outside of Birmingham. Entering the restaurant, you are greeted by happy pig figurines. Order at the counter; and when the meal is ready, bring it to any of the available tables in two separate rooms.
Miss Myra’s, like most Alabama BBQ shacks, serves pork, ribs, brisket, and sausage. It’s the hickory smoked chicken that stars. You have the option of ordering a quarter or half a bird; or, for those with a light appetite, a sandwich. Although squirt bottles of traditional red sauce are readily available at the table, what you want is Miss Myra’s famous white sauce; a unique Northern Alabama mayo-based marinade with vinegary undertones. Tearing into my smoked bird, the taut, crisp skin yielded to a juicy explosion of smoky flavor so wonderfully enhanced by the creamy white marinade.
Sides include slaw, potato salad and chips. Baked beans are a standout; thick and creamy and reminiscent of Boston style baked beans, but without the sweet molasses flavor. Unique to many Alabama BBQ shacks, the homemade deviled eggs would make any southern mamaw proud.
Don’t forget dessert: cool lemon ice box pie or better yet, magnificent creamy and custardy banana pudding, loaded with chunks of banana and vanilla wafers, whose consistency is more cake than cookie. It is without hesitation, that I loudly proclaim this the best banana pudding that I’ve ever had.
Overall, although there are several BBQ restaurants between Huntsville and Birmingham that offer smoked chicken with white sauce, there is a “je ne sais quoi” that makes Miss Myra’s extra special.