When you think barbecue in Alabama, the city of Hartselle does not immediately come to mind as a hotbed of barbecue activity. However, there is one location that is doing their best to put Hartselle on the map as a barbecue destination. I’m talking about the Pig Stand BBQ which still today if you Google barbecue in Hartselle it doesn’t show up until way down the list after a legendary BBQ joint in Decatur and a North Alabama take-out franchise. This is a shame in that Pig Stand BBQ’s meats can stand up to the big boys any day of the week and should be a top listing on Google.
Their catch phrase is “Old Timey” Hickory Smoked Pork, Ribs and Chicken
We decided to pay a visit to the Pig Stand BBQ after reading about them in the book Alabama Barbecue –Delicious Road Trips and also another review on the legendary North Alabama Barbecue Trail blog.
It was a nice sunny warm January Saturday when we took the drive to Hartselle and visited the Pig Stand BBQ at lunch time. I had my taste buds on high alert to be ready for some great barbecue and I wasn’t disappointed.
When we arrived, the Pig Stand BBQ was doing a brisk business with both dine-in and take out orders. I had read that it was an “order at the counter” type restaurant but on the day we visited a young lady handed us a couple of menus and told us to have a seat and she would get our orders.
Within a few minutes she came by with a couple of cheese biscuits for us to munch on while waiting, got our lunch orders and what we wanted to drink. Debra decided on the chicken sandwich ($2.99) and I got the barbecue plate that came standard with potato salad, coleslaw, barbecue beans and a pickle spear. ($8.49)
It didn’t take long for the young lady to reappear with our orders and place them on the table. I took one look at my plate and a song by Jerry Lee Lewis came to mind “Goodness gracious, Great balls of fire!” The plate looked outstanding and was loaded down with food. It was a plate worthy of the price paid quantity wise in my opinion.
Debra un-wrapped her smoked chicken sandwich and also was impressed by the fresh look of the chopped smoked chicken and slaw that was on it. When she first took a bite of the sandwich a big smile spread across her face and I knew we had a winner on her sandwich. Debra is real picky about her smoked chicken sandwiches and is quick to let me know if it’s good or bad. I’ve seen her wrap up a sandwich with one bite out of it and toss it away. However, this time the only thing she tossed away was the empty wrapper. I don’t remember, but she might have licked the inside of the wrapper before crumpling it up to toss.
As I said, my plate looked very appetizing and of course by the time I got pictures of it and got it doctored up with the sauces, Debra had nearly finished her sandwich. Before I did any doctoring I did sample each item on the plate, first was the meat, it looked like it had just came off the smoker, had a nice smoky aroma and was juicy and tender. The potato salad may have been made in-house and was very good with lots of mustard in it.. The slaw was freshly chopped, crispy with a nice sweet vinegar taste and just the right amount of bite to it. The beans, while starting life as Pork-n-Beans had been worked on to improve the taste. There had been some barbecue sauce added as well as some chopped barbecue meat. The beans were quite good and while not the best I’ve ever eaten, were head and shoulder above 90% of what I’ve eaten at other barbecue joints.
There was three sauces available for trying, the white sauce, the sweet red sauce and the house-made Scalded A$$ Dog hot sauce. I squirted samples on a plate to test; the white sauce was very good with the right amount of mayo and vinegar, the standard red sauce was OK with a sweet almost apple taste to it. The Scalded A$$ Dog hot sauce was a thin almost clear vinegar based sauce that had been kicked up a couple of notches. It had liberal amounts of black pepper, cayenne pepper and some other kind of pepper that will grab your attention. I did find, like other have, that if you mix the two together that it really allows the best flavors of both sauces to come through. Be aware though, the Scalded A$$ Dog hot sauce will burn you twice if consumed by itself.
After we had finished eating, we decided to try a slice of their in-house made Coconut Pie ($2.69) and it was also a winner in our book. We split the slice and both of us wished we’d ordered a slice each. Not many places go to the trouble of making pies in house anymore and it was a super nice touch.
Our overall experience at the Pig Stand BBQ was very good and our only complaint would be that it’s a 1-1/4 hour drive away us. However, if we’re heading toward Birmingham from now on, it’ll sure be on our radar to go by for a good Q fix.
The Brown Bag Review recommends that if you’re ever close to Hartselle, Alabama that you give the Pig Stand BBQ restaurant a try. We think you’ll be happy you did and it’s for sure that you won’t come away hungry.
|Price Range||Most entrees $5 – $15|
|Soft Drink Brand||Coke|
|Health Score||95 (07/30/2014)|