Saturday, May 26, 2012

BBQ Aristocracy

As you may recall in my post about Big Bob Gibson's in Decatur, Alabama, the First Family of North Alabama (and probably all of 'Bama) Bar Be Que is the Gibson's. Patriarch Bob opened his first restaurant in the mid 20's and in 1939 helped his son David open his first restaurant. 
David and his wife would open David Gibson Barbeque in neighbouring Huntsville on April 18, 1956. Located not so coincidentally just outside Redstone Arsenal

The arsenal sat somewhat dormant in the years between the Japanese surrender and 1949 when it was tagged to be the site for the United States Ordnance Rocket Center and Ordnance Guided Missile Center. Testing of rockets, propellants and jet propulsion systems kicked into high gear and the population in and around the arsenal, well, skyrocketed along with it. It is also the birthplace of NASA, and the Redstone Rocket. A direct decendant of the German V2 and precursor to the giant Saturn V that took men to the moon.  
This Gibson's, (now run by David’s son Harold David Gibson) goes out of it's way to advise people they ARE NOT affiliated with the other Gibson's "in town." I don't know if there's bad blood amongst the grand and great grand children of Big Bob but I for one would distance myself from the other Gibson's BBQ on Memorial Parkway. I think it's an embarrassment to the family name. 

David's place is looking it's age these days. As I've eluded to in the past, some people would look at it as a run down, scary, dump. Others see "Cred" oozing out every window. I fall into that latter category. I also love when the smell of pig fat and smoke permeates the air outside and lures one to the front door.  
Inside it looks like a lot of Q shacks in the area. Wood paneling lines the walls making it look like the rec. room my dad built back when I was a little kid. The difference being that they don't seem to have changed the decor here since they opened. There's nothing wrong with that either, once again, some see age, others charm. 
The fact is, David Gibson’s is almost Amish about it's business. They have no website, no facebook page and of course, no Twitter. I did notice they have electricity so I guess it’s not all that bad.
Speaking of constants, in the kitchen absolutely nothing has changed in almost 70 years. Still using 100% hickory in their home made pits and still using the same techniques on which the family name was built

So let’s take a look at what’s coming out of that kitchen. 
They have 3 sauces on the table and you can ask for hot sauce.
The vinegar sauce (R) was a little too vinegary for my Q taste.
The white sauce (L) was, as you can figure, the standard bearer. Creamy and tangy the way it should be.
The regular sauce (C) was fine. Nothing special but nothing bad about it either. It had a nice tomato/molasses hit. I only used it on the Pulled Pork where it was nice. 
I did get some of the house hot sauce and it was great as a dipping sauce for the hush puppies. It packed a pretty good punch. I think it would be excellent as a smoked chicken wing sauce. Maybe drizzle some white sauce on top. 
Over all the BBQ platter was very enjoyable with, as you would expect, somethings rising above others. I never did try the pickle but Mrs. Sippi thoroughly enjoyed hers. So from the bottom right, heading clockwise: 
The hush puppies were quite good. Denser than others I’ve had but no less tasty and didn't sit like a brick. 
The tater salad was good. The best way I can describe it was “Straight up.” There wasn’t any one thing that gave it a personality but that didn’t mean I didn’t like it.
The slaw on the other hand, also what I would consider “Straight up” just didn’t do it for me. Not bad, I just didn’t care for it.
The beans were really nice. Again, a simple style was used here that worked well.
The chopped beef was very nice. Rather than sliced, in this neck of the woods they chop their brisket. It had great smoke flavour and outstanding bark. No sauce required here.
The pulled pork was just okay for me. Good enough to order again but not really good enough for a special trip. I’ve told you many times I still prefer mine. Quite a bit in this case.
As you could imagine, a place who’s signature dish is chicken knocked it out of the park. Half a chicken, dipped in white sauce. Very juicy and tasty it was definitely the best part of the meal. Both Mrs. Sippi and Madame Butterfly wanted only a taste but ended up eating more.

The chocolate meringue pie was terrific. A nice, chocolaty custard in a very flaky crust with a good helping of meringue on top. It was everything you’d want it to be.The Gibson's are well known 'round these parts for making fantastic cream and custard pies. This was no exception.

Well there you have it folks. Some good old school Q from a legendary Alabama family.

You can find David Gibson’s BBQ at 4114 Bob Wallace Avenue SW in Huntsville, AL

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David Gibson Barbecue on Urbanspoon
Gibson David Barbecue Number Two on Foodio54

That’s all for now, see ya next time in the food court.


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