Tuscaloosa barbecue dining options worth exploring

What one category can swallow the entire fat-packed, gut-busting, nap-inducing pill that is Southern food? For anyone who’s spent serious time south of the Mason-Dixon, a number of meals push to the front of the mind. Nostalgic flavors cooked by family, neighbors and small town mom-and-pop restaurants fill the palate. Warm memories of fried everything, collard greens with bacon or biscuits and gravy in the summer make bold cases for the title of “Southern Food Champion.” But more times than not, one smoky memory reigns supreme amidst all the comfort food: barbecue.

It’s our food. It’s our staple. Pork, chicken, beef, all cooked low and slow in a hundred different ways with a hundred different sauces slathered over the top. I make it a point when traveling in the Southeast to eat as much barbecue as possible. Everywhere you go, there is an ever-present argument over who has the best meat and the best sauce. I have come to one conclusion: When a person takes pork, chicken or beef, and barbecues it until every bit of fat renders into the meat and that indescribable smokiness permeates every bite, it’s magical.

So they can argue all they want. Pulled pork is good. Ribs are awesome. Smoked chicken is delicious. Any combination of spicy, sweet and tangy poured over the top is just a bonus. It’s all heaven, and it’s all for us. So whether you were born here or just going to school here, here’s a list of Tuscaloosa barbecue joints worth your time and money.

Archibald’s BBQ

The original location on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in Northport is a shrine to old-school rib shacks everywhere. It has legendary ribs and it's a longtime competitor to the next place on our list. Secondary location Archibald and Woodrow’s on Greensboro Avenue offers similar barbecue, more sides and a steadier schedule.

Dreamland Bar-B-Que

Big surprise. You already know about this, and for a reason: it’s good, very good. The second location just across the bridge in Northport is a little easier to get to, with a more expansive menu.

Full Moon Bar-B-Que

It’s kind of hard to miss this monolith of a restaurant near the corner of McFarland Blvd. and 15th Ave. Full Moon’s BBQ baked potatoes are a great choice for the hungry and adventurous eater.

Jim N’ Nick’s Bar-B-Q

Jim N' Nick's has great pulled pork sandwiches, surprisingly delicious cookies and a good downtown location – plus a very well-run catering business for any parties, tailgates or events you might be hosting.

Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que

The chicken at this Moe’s location is truly special. Fifty-cent wings on Monday nights plus bingo make it a crowd favorite. It has an awesome downtown location and, oddly enough, some of the best cornbread I have ever eaten.

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