I usually let MaryJo do the write-up about food stops. Thought that I would give it a try today.
Had an appointment in Birmingham and didn’t want to eat before it. This meant that at 2:30, we were hungry. Our usual plan is back-roads to avoid interstates and chain food stops. A friend had mentioned a place in Carbon Hill, about an hour up the road. It was supposed to be worth the wait, so we decided to head that way.
We went through a couple of little towns, Brookside and Cardiff. Brookside is less than 6 1/2 square miles with a population of just over 1300. Why did Brookside strike our interest? It is the home of St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church! History of the town is that it had been settled by Eastern Europeans in 1894. Some nice little twisty roads that got me thinking about adding an Adventure Bike to the stable (roads were nice and twisty, but a bit too rough for the Harley).
We make a right turn onto US 78/AL4/AL5 and quickly get up to speed. We start talking about “if we see a decent spot…” As we top a hill, we pass Green Top BBQ. I can’t make that turn at speed, but quickly ask if we should give it a try. MaryJo just as quickly responds “Sure!” I make a quick U-turn at the next cross road and head back to Green Top BBQ.
As we pull into the lot, the name seemed to ring a bell. I had just read a couple of reviews of out of the way places in Alabama, but this wasn’t on that list. A few seats at the counter, a few more tables scattered around on the main level and I see more on the lower level. We pick a seat on the main level and are handed a menu. We get an update on the daily specials and sides of the day. We look over the menu and opt for BBQ, MaryJo gets the chicken with white sauce, while I chose the pulled pork.
While we wait, we read the story on the back of the menu. This place started as a “beer joint.” When the current family purchased, the atmosphere was quickly changed and it has had great food and been in the same family for three generations.
MaryJo is enjoying the white BBQ sauce that is native to Alabama. A bit of a spicy mayo based that goes best with chicken. The size of the servings mean that she is bringing most of the chicken home.
Before moving to Alabama, I have had a problem eating pork. Whether it is ham, pork shops, pork loin, or BBQ, it doesn’t agree with my system. I won’t go into details, but it is painful. So, with me ordering the pork BBQ could become an adventure in a few hours. Long story short, it was great! Sauce had a nice mix of tomato and vinegar base, just enough spice to highlight the smoke and flavor of the pork. Fried okra was classic southern and fresh. The green beans with potatoes had enough pepper to give add to the flavor without overpowering your taste buds.
Not having our taste buds overpowered was important since we had a couple of options for dessert that we needed to try. The banana pudding was second only to my mom’s. The deciding factor was that mom has meringue on top and Green Top BBQ didn’t. It wasn’t overly sweet, fresh custard, and bananas at the perfect stage of ripeness for ‘Naner Puddin’. We also tried the lemon pie. Our first thought was that it was a cream pie, it looked all white with a graham cracker crust. One taste told us it wasn’t what it seemed. The lemon flavor filled our taste buds, but again, not over powering. A nice strong lemon flavor, but not too tart. I like tart lemon pie, but MaryJo doesn’t like it as tart. The flavor was wonderful. We liked it so much that we add a couple more to take home.
Since Evangeline didn’t join us on this trip, we didn’t want to leave her out. We ordered a ham and cheese sandwich as well as a chicken finger basket to take home. Evangeline has become a connoisseur of fresh chicken fingers. These were not your food service chicken fingers.
Green Top BBQ is closed on Sundays. It is only a few miles from Jasper, so we can make this a weekday or Saturday trip for the HOG Chapter. We are looking forward to our next visit.
I almost forgot. The staff was friendly, attentive, and willing to tell more of the history when we asked. We are also having a hard time getting used to “Don’t forget your drink to go.”