It started as a quest to visit all the 60+ BBQ places in the counties of Madison, Limestone, Morgan, and Lawrence in Northern Alabama (that is the Hunstville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area).
Then I got sent back to Germany and there was no BBQ. But eventually I got assigned to a new job which takes me on business trips in the USA occasionally. So I reopened the blog – just deleted the “North Alabama” from the title.
Friday, July 12, 2013
Hickory Stick Bar-B-Q
Quest Log No 55 – Hickory Stick Bar-B-Q Decatur, Morgan County
On the outskirts of Decatur, there is a shop
where you can buy an almost life-size metal elephant with a big red Bama-A on
it. It does not get any more southern than this. Well, maybe a notch or so more
when you step into the BBQ place next to it and have some pulled pork.
The Hickory Stick Bar-B-Q is in an
unassuming square building, and the inside too is rather unspectacular. About a
dozen or so tables in a big room with black, white, and red chairs, and red or
blue tablecloths, with rolls of paper towels on them plus a bottle of vinegar
BBQ sauce – the basic necessities are all there, including some BBQ and pork
themed wall hangings. This is not the coziest atmosphere, but it will do if the
food is good.
And good it is. I had the large
pork plate with potato salad and slaw, and a side order of hushpuppies, and
together with a sweet tea that set me back a little more than ten bucks.
The pulled pork was moist and lean,
although not the most tender meat I ever had. It was not really chewy, but
could have been a bit less resistant. The flavor, on the other hand, was beyond
any doubt very articulated and had a wonderful hickory aroma. Together with the
very basic vinegar-pepper sauce, which was more sour than spicy, it made for a
wonderful taste experience.
The slaw was also on the sour side,
with the vinegar-based dressing having just enough spices in it to produce a
well rounded aroma. The potato salad was very tasty, too, but reminded me of a
product I once had bought in a supermarket. No biggy here, not everybody is a
potato-salad wizard, and to acknowledge one’s limitations is usually better
than trying and bringing an inferior product to the table. Or, if it really was
made from scratch, then kudos for achieving a well rounded middle-of-the-road
But now, I have to talk about the
hushpuppies. Very crunchy on the outside, just moist enough on the inside to
not fall into a gazillion crumbs when cut in half, with a nice corn flavor with
only a very subtle sweetness – some of the best hushpuppies I ever had.
So, if you ever drive through Decatur and see an
elephant with big red Bama-A’s on its sides, stop and take a picture. And then
go a few steps to the side and have some good Q at the Hickory Stick place. It
does not get any more authentic then this.