Smoky, savory, and downright sacred—there’s not much the Yellowhammer State holds in higher regard than its pit-fired meats.
“Barbecue is right up there with football,” says historian and associate lecturer at the University of Chattanooga Mark A. Johnson. He’d know. He literally wrote the book on the art form in Alabama. “Every small town, every neighborhood of every big city has its local place,” he says. “It’s where the community gets together. It’s something to rally around.” It’s also a lot of ’cue.
If the state’s dizzying array of flavors, sauces, superstar pitmasters, and iconic institutions has you feeling overwhelmed, don’t be. Just loosen that belt, strap on a bib, and get back to basics with the ABCs of Alabama BBQ (please note our list includes only the tastiest letters in the alphabet).