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.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Quest Log No 57 – John’s Bar-B-Que Moulton, Lawrence
I like it when small businesses are successful and expand,
opening satellite stations. That usually means that the public approves of the
product they sell, which is a fairly good indicator of quality and price. And
as long as the expansion does not compromise those attributes that have made
the product a success in the first place, the future might even bring further
success and expansion.
There are two locations where you can find John’s Bar-B-Que
in Moulton. One is a log cabin that I already visited half a year ago, and one
is in a typical boring small strip mall on Highway 157.
Since I could not remember what I had the last time, I made
the mistake to order the exact same thing again, although one of my rules is to
order something different at each satellite location of a chain. Mea culpa.
So, let’s just concentrate on the differences between those
two places – which should be minimal.
As before, I got the two meat plate with pulled pork and chicken,
with potato salad and Jailhouse Slaw. But contrary to the Log Cabin, this time
there were no hushpuppies served before the meal. Bummer!
The pork was very tender and lean, with a nice smoke aroma,
and that was also the case at the Log Cabin location.
Same goes for the chicken, which was again a bit dry and
with a lesser smoke aroma, but with a nice pepper infused crust that I did not
register the first time.
As fort the sauces, there was no difference. Their white
sauce is sour and peppery as it should be, and very fresh tasting. Top notch,
and still one of the best I ever had.
The other sauces, a boring mild sauce and a mildly spicy red
vinegar and pepper sauce, were acceptable for the pork if mixed together.
The Jailhouse Slaw is one of the most interesting and
tastiest side dishes I ever encountered at a BBQ place. It comes drenched in a
mustard based sauce with enough spiciness to give you a recognizable kick in
the pants. It can double as BBQ sauce, and they should really sell it in
bottles (I’d take a case or two …).
The potato salad had a hint of cinnamon in it, but not as
pronounced as the first time.
The meal, including sweet tea, was
not the cheapest I ever had in a BBQ place, with about fourteen and a half
bucks. But the quality of the food, and the very nice atmosphere do actually
justify that price. The dining area has the usual red faux-leather benches and
chairs, and some tables. The decoration is a whimsical mixture of BBQ related
paraphernalia, like posters, pigs, and neon signs, and also some fishing
related things like fishing poles and a stuffed fish. There is also the model
of a three-mast bark, which is kind of odd at such a place, but speaks to my
maritime past very much. The walls are wooden panels, and the counter is made
out of brick. This all contributes to a cozy atmosphere, and the place is very
clean, too. The Log Cabin is just a bit more authentic and quirky, and they
serve fantastic hushpuppies, so all in all I would prefer that to the location
on Highway 157. But if you just want excellent BBQ, and don’t care about the
surroundings, either location will fit the bill.