Tag Archives: Ribs

Late Saturday Morning in Robertsdale, Alabama

8 Aug

We took a day trip to Robertsdale and Foley yesterday. Both towns straddle Alabama State Highway 59. And who knew what a Southern food stronghold this area was becoming? Our first stop was Charley’s Chicken Outlet on Highway 59. Charley used to toil in the real estate business. But times are pretty tough and he decided that working class folks might want to purchase their chicken at wholesale prices. Not a bad idea, really.  

Charley’s boasts a memorable phone number — no question about that! He also offers fair prices on a wide variety of frozen bird parts. For example, we purchased a 10 lb. bag of boneless skinless chicken breasts for just $20. Shoot, a 2 lb. bag runs about $7 at your local grocery store. It was tasty bird too. Tried it tonight in my soon to be famous Green Enchilada Pie.

“You Get More Cluck for Your Buck at Charley’s!” OK, I just made that up. I guess I was just inspired by this majestic rooster (above) standing guard outside Charley’s front entrance. We surely enjoyed chewing the fat with him (Charley, that is; not the big ceramic bird) and we wished him the best of luck (or is that cluck?) going forward. OK, I’ll stop.  

Another interesting foodie stop along Highway 59 is Hickory House BBQ. And yes, they do use hickory wood here. It’s a rather tiny joint, but the aromas emanating from the kitchen were mighty powerful. The help was super-friendly and the clientele was raving about the Q before I could even take my first bite. It wasn’t even lunchtime yet, but I couldn’t resist ordering a BBQ pork sandwich, a couple ribs, and a heaping slab of Lemon Ooey Gooey Cake.

I stood looking on in glassy-eyed wonder as the pork for my sandwich was pulled to order. Yessir, the owner herself pulled the charred shoulder from the warmer, donned a pair of clear disposable gloves, and methodically peeled the lean, smoky meat from the Boston Butt. She then gave it all a rough chop, loaded it onto a fresh baked bun, and doused it with their homemade “SMOKEY” BBQ sauce.  

I sampled the ribs too — provided for free by the owner. They were good, no doubt about it. Probably better when slathered with a little sauce. I requested them sans sauce so I could taste the unadorned flavor of meat and hickory. My wife Eileen loves lemon squares … and the Hickory House’s Lemon Oooey Gooey Cake looked something like a lemon bar on steroids. All puffed up and flaky. It was, well, oooey and gooey and … incredible! I gotta try the Chocolate Oooey Gooey the next time I’m in Robertsdale — that’s for certain.

Ribs = Good, BBQ Pork = Better, Lemon “Ooey Gooey” Cake = Best!

A return trip to this area is definitely in the cards for this hungry dude. I’ve heard positive comments about The Magnolia Blossom Cafe. Mac and Jerry’s Diner is also worthy of a pop-in. We even spotted a tiny but promising Italian joint (Guttadauro’s) along the main North-South highway. Looked like a Mom and Pop establishment and that’s always a plus in our book.  

So when Robertsdale starts turning up on the Food Network, just remember you heard about it here first. OK???

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Great Cracker BBQ Discovered in Sarasota

4 Apr

alday-sign-main

Praise the Lord! After a great deal of searching and some frustration, we have found some authentic Florida Cracker BBQ here in the Sunshine State. And it was all quite by accident, really. Driving along Bahia Vista Road on a late Saturday afternoon, we spotted the wood-paneled roadside stand in a gas station parking lot.  

alday-ext

They even take major credit cards here! Now that is pretty unusual for stands such as this. But this is not your typical roadside food cart – that’s for darn sure. Jeff Alday has been cooking up first-rate BBQ for about 3 decades now. Let’s just say he knows what he’s doing, OK?

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It’s pretty hard to miss Alday’s BBQ stand. They have obviously invested some of the proceeds in signage and their bright red background leaps out and grabs ya – much like the amazing aroma eminating from their smoker.

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Jeff kindly offered me a sample of his BBQ pork ribs. I quickly ascertained that they were the best we’ve ever tasted in Florida. They offer up a mild or hot sauce on the side, but who really needs it when BBQ is this tasty?

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The prices, as you can see, are very reasonable. The food is excellent!

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The half-chicken plate was moist and peppery. My wife commented (after just one taste) that it is far better than most chicken served at traditional BBQ joints. And, you know what, she’s right. Most of the chicken offered up at Q shacks is pretty dry and flavorless. Not so at Alday’s. The baked beans are chock full of pulled pork — almost enough to make yourself a sandwich for later.  

alday-bird

Take a look at the chicken seen above. Juicy, meaty & spiced just right!

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So take a drive along Bahia Vista and keep an eye out for all those red signs. Alday’s is open here on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They also do weddings, banquets, picnics, and fund raisers. Call Jeff Alday at 941 809 2589 or shoot him an email at porkbutt84@aol.com. The email address alone should tell you how serious these folks are about their Q. Tell ’em Dixie Dining sent ya on over.

Michelbob’s BBQ Ribs in Naples, FL

25 Aug

“Best Ribs in America???” — What is with these people?

I don’t understand all the hyperbole that exists in the Naples dining scene. Why not just say “Our Ribs are Awesome?” Or maybe “The Best Ribs in Town?” Or perhaps “Florida’s Finest Ribs?” Best in America is an incredibly bold claim — and one that is virtually impossible to live up to.

Michelbob’s — Where catfish take a backseat to their baby back ribs

This tangle of homemade onion rings didn’t last long

We started off with a Onion Ring basket. The hand dipped rings were good if a little greasy. But hey, I guess they are supposed to be! The baby back ribs (said to be imported from Denmark) and the thinly sliced pork were no doubt enjoyable. The ribs were mega-tender and you could see the smoke rings on the edges of the sliced pork. The ribs were not as good as those we have gnawed in Memphis or the Texas Hill Country. I like a little char on the outside and maybe even a little crispiness. These babies were soft to the bite with just a hint of deep dark smokiness. But let’s not dwell on the negative. The meal was really good and the BBQ experience pretty decent when you compare it to the overall bleak BBQ scene that exists here in the Sunshine State. I’ll add that the best ribs I have had since arriving in Florida are served up by our old pal Perry’s BBQ right here on Siesta Key. Boy, we are lucky little devils, huh? Perry’s aren’t baby back ribs, but they are surely dee-lish, baby.   

The portions at Michelbob’s are generous – you won’t leave hungry

The sides at Michelbob’s — especially the cole slaw and baked beans — were indeed world class. In fact, the beans were tremendous … sweet and quite smoky. I loved them and could have easily devoured another helping or two. We are pretty picky about our cole slaw, but we found the slaw here to be cool and creamy. Good job, people. The Texas toast was a nice touch too, although it could have been taken to another level with a little smear of garlic butter. My meal even came with a baked potato and sour cream. That was the proverbial belly buster. No dessert was necessary — we left with full guts and smiles all around.

www.michelbobs.com — It’s pronounced “Mickle-Bob’s” in case you’re wondering