Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chow-Chow Down on the Best BBQ in Alabama

Full Moon Bar-B-Que
525 25th St. South
Birmingham, AL

Wow! That was incredible.

That’s all I could say to myself as I scavenged the last orphaned morsel of pork off my plastic tray at Birmingham’s Full Moon Bar-B-Que.

Have you ever eaten something so exquisite that you were filled with regret when you finished it? Like the end of a world-class roller coaster ride.

That’s it? Over so soon?

I wanted more.

I should have tried Full Moon’s bacon studded baked beans. Or world famous spicy cole slaw. Or homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Hell, what I really wanted was a whole ‘nother BBQ sandwich.

Full Moon’s chopped BBQ sandwich was a life-altering experience.

The smoky pork consisted of a harmonious comingling of both the hard outer portions and soft, moist inner portions of the pig, resulting in an indescribable textural crunch in every bite.

Ladled over the top of the pork was a zesty homemade barbeque sauce. Not so much to saturate and dominate the flavor of the smoky pig, but just enough to add some juicy zing to the meat.

Most mind blowing of all, a modest application of Full Moon’s world famous chow-chow on top of all this goodness elevated this sandwich to meal fit for the gods.

Yes. Chow-chow on the BBQ sandwich.

Okay. I had you, and then I lost you. Right?

You Southern barbeque purists are asking, what the hell is chow-chow doing on a chopped pork sandwich?

You Yankees are just asking, what the hell is chow-chow?

Well, my dear Suits in Strange Places readers, let me address both concerns.

Chow-chow is a Southern relish of green tomato, onion and peppers mixed together into a condiment that adds both sweet and spicy to any dish.

You can pick up homemade chow-chow from Southern Baptist Church ladies, small town lunch counters and roadside farm stands selling Georgia peaches, Vidalia onions and boiled peanuts.

Chow-chow is as southern as fried pickles, the Stars and Bars and Bear Bryant’s houndstooth hat.

And let me tell you – Full Moon’s version of chow-chow is incredible on their BBQ sandwich.

Now there is a certain segment of barbeque purists out there who believe the only thing that belongs on a BBQ sandwich is the smoky flavor of the hickory that magically permeates the meat after hours slowing smoking in the pit out back.

I have two words for y’all.


The crunch of the pork, the zing of the sauce and the sweet and spicy zest of the chow-chow conspire to create a symphony of flavor and texture that will change your life forever.

Try it.

I promise you won’t be disappointed.

As evidence backing my claim, I submit the crowds of folks packing this little place at lunch time.

I think it’s safe to say Alabamans know a thing or two about good barbeque. And they have voted overwhelmingly with their feet and stomachs as they’ve beaten a path to this little joint just south of downtown Birmingham.

While this location is the original, Full Moon has blossomed into a small chain of about eight outposts in the metro area.

I almost passed the place by when I pulled up in my subcompact Fiat rental.

With a bright colorful smiling moon face covering its cinder block exterior, Full Moon Bar-B-Que looks more like a strip joint than a legendary barbeque pit.

The fleet of giant catering trucks with slick logos and “Best Little Pork House in Alabama” emblazoned on the sides parked out back wasn’t encouraging either.

When a barbeque joint branches off into catering, it’s usually the kiss of death.

But not here.

When you build barbeque this good, they will come. And Full Moon is doing its best to feed them all.

By 11:30am, the dining room was packed.

Truckers, suits and even a politician all the locals addressed as “Judge”, were all there to indulge in the city’s best barbeque.

The walls are covered floor to ceiling in Alabama Crimson Tide memorabilia. Except for a few token corners for Auburn Tiger and UAB Blazer fans.

But that’s what makes great barbeque so great.

White collar, blue collar. Republican, Democrat. White, black.

Roll Tide, War Eagle.

You can get them all to agree on one thing in this cozy dining room of barbeque excellence – barbeque doesn’t get any better than this.

Rating: Bought the Shirt!

Full Moon Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

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