We love outdoor blues festivals, for the music, yes, but also because many of them feature some form of barbecue on the menu as well — barbecue and blues go together like baseball and hot dogs. But very, very few can claim to serve some of the best barbecue in the country. That’s what you’ll find at tomorrow’s (May 21st 2016) Bob Sykes BBQ & Blues Festival in Bessemer, Alabama. Gates open at 11 a.m. and the music kicks off at 12:10 p.m. The forecast says 83 and no rain. Best of all, there’ll be plenty of local Bob Sykes pit-cooked pork. Find all the details here.
The Alabama state tourism department has declared 2015 the Year of Alabama Barbecue, and as part of the promotion they have created the Alabama Barbecue Hall of Fame, which features 29 veteran barbecue restaurants in its inaugural class. From Golden Rule Bar-B-Q in Irondale (which is the oldest barbecue restaurant in Alabama – they opened in 1891!) to Whitt’s Barbecue in Athens (opened in 1966 – they bent the rules slightly) all 29 inductees have been smoking meat for 50 years or more. I see a road trip in our future! Check out the entire list here.
Bob and Maxine Sykes opened Bob Sykes Bar B Q in 1957. Today, their son Van runs the restaurant with Van’s nephew, Jason, using the exact same recipes and methods that were used in 1957. The Birmingham News talked to Mr. Sykes about the restaurant, his parents, and the blues and BBQ festival he holds in town each year. Some things we learn: you want to order the most popular meal at Sykes? Get a BBQ pork sandwich with homemade O-rings and red velvet cake for dessert. And: when he was 12, he burned a pit full of pork, and his father made him pay for the burned meat!