Cooked Slow – Served Fast at Lawlers Barbecue

LawLers Barbecue Express 6 on Urbanspoon

Athens, Alabama – Recently the Brown Bag staff took a trip to Athens to sample the Stuffed baked potato at Lawlers Barbecue.  Their stuffed pork, ham or turkey baked potato is listed as one of the 2013 “100 things to eat before you die in Alabama” brochure.  In Athens, the stuffed potato is one of only three dishes listed with the other two being Prime Rib (served Thursday through Saturday only) at Clark’s Restaurant and Ritzy chicken at LuVici’s which is only served on Wednesday.  So, the lowly potato is held in great esteem by the folks who put together the “100 things to eat in Alabama before you die” list.

It was a weekday afternoon when we made our visit, there was no one else in the restaurant when we arrived, but the drive through was doing a brisk business .   We went up to the order counter and I ordered the BBQ plate, BBQ beans, and coleslaw, my dining partner ordered the turkey stuffed potato.   We got our drink cups and fixed those while waiting on the kitchen to prepare our order which came out in a few moments.  We then grabbed a seat and sat down to appraise the items.  The potato was a large 40 count size (40 potatoes to a 50lb box) which is a common size for most stuffed potatoes at a barbecue restaurant which serve them.  The potato was light and fluffy on the inside and was loaded with a decent amount of shredded/chopped turkey meat.  The turkey had a light smoky taste and may have been a tad better if they had added a bit more smoke during the cooking process but it wasn’t bad by any means.

My barbecue plate had a decent serving of pulled pork on it, I estimated about 5 oz, maybe a tad more.  The serving portion of slaw and beans filed up the compartments on a standard three compartment plate.  Also included was a cornbread muffin and a square roll.  At my request no sauce was placed on the meat before serving since I like to give the barbecue a chance to talk to me before saucing would obliterate the true taste.  In my opinion, the meat was a little on the dry side probably due to holding it at the proper temperature after it was shredded and it could have used a little more smoke during cooking.  Again, this is my opinion as to what I like, so the pitmaster that cooked this pork may like their pork with a lighter smoke flavor.

The slaw was a vinegar base slaw and was just run of the mill slaw like you get at a thousand other barbecue joints in Alabama.  The beans did fare somewhat better and actually had bits of barbecue in them along with a generous dose of Lawlers barbecue sauce.  At least the beans didn’t taste like pork and beans as some barbecue restaurants are prone to using.    The cornbread muffin was so-so as was the roll, neither worthy of more than a passing note.

Our thoughts on the Lawlers barbecue sauce was again so-so, it was better than a lot of sauces I’ve tasted but not as good as some others.  It was a tomato based sauce that had been seasoned and reduced over heat to make it thick.  It is atypical of lots of red barbecue sauces in Alabama.  The hot sauce was just the mild sauce with a shot of cayenne mixed in with it in my opinion.

For the market niche that the Lawlers Barbecue in Athens is aiming for they hit the mark well.  It’s fast food style barbecue, nothing fancy, just smoked meats served fast.  We do have it on our list to visit some of the other Lawlers Barbecue to get a comparison on how the Athens store ranks with them.

So, lets do the numbers:

LawLers Barbecue Express 6 on Urbanspoon

Judge One

Turkey Stuffed Bake Potato:6.5 Stars (6.5 / 9)
BBQ Pork:6 Stars (6 / 9)
Vinegar Slaw:6 Stars (6 / 9)
Mild Sauce:6 Stars (6 / 9)
Hot Sauce:6 Stars (6 / 9)
Staff Friendliness:9 Stars (9 / 9)
Atmosphere:9 Stars (9 / 9)
Cleanliness:9 Stars (9 / 9)
Value:6 Stars (6 / 9)
Average:7.1 Stars (7.1 / 9)

Judge Two

Turkey Stuffed Bake Potato:6.5 Stars (6.5 / 9)
BBQ Pork:6 Stars (6 / 9)
Vinegar Slaw:6 Stars (6 / 9)
Mild Sauce:6 Stars (6 / 9)
Hot Sauce:5 Stars (5 / 9)
Ice Tea:5 Stars (5 / 9)
Staff Friendliness:7 Stars (7 / 9)
Atmosphere:7 Stars (7 / 9)
Cleanliness:7 Stars (7 / 9)
Value:6 Stars (6 / 9)
Average:6.2 Stars (6.2 / 9)

Overall Rating:  

Judge One:7 Stars (7 / 9)
Judge Two:6.9 Stars (6.9 / 9)
Average:7 Stars (7 / 9)

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Credit cards:   Yes
Catering Service Available:   Yes
Recommendations:   Stuffed Potato
Suggestions:    Pork BBq
Alcohol:   No
Ambiance:   Small town Q-Joint
Service:   Country friendly
Vegetarian Friendly:   Ugh, it’s a q-joint, you figure it out
Price Range:  $
Health Score:   96
Smoke Free:   Yes
Soft Drink Brand:   Pepsi, fountain

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed in this review are the honest opinions of the author and fellow judge, and whom are solely responsible for its content. This opinion was not influence by any third party whatsoever. If and when you visit the reviewed restaurant your opinion may vary greatly. So as always YMMV!