The West Virginia and Pennsylvania raised James is a long way from home. His circuitous life found him living Dauphin Co. Pa on March 28, 1979. At 4am a couple of system failures followed by a stuck relief valve started a chain reaction that would forever put Three Mile Island in the US lexicon. James journey would continue and by the 90's he was working at Hampton Cove Golf and Country Club on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. It was then he decided to go it alone and bought Big Cove BBQ just down the street.
A loyal Big Cove customers would eventually join the team and soon after, Jennifer would not only marry James but his BBQ place too.
If I were to open a BBQ restaurant it’s quite possible I’d want it to look exactly like Big Cove BBQ in Huntsville, Alabama. It’s a simple wood shack with big BBQ lettering on the side. It exudes charm. It’s what a Q joint oughta look like in my opinion.
Inside Jennifer’s smiling face greets patrons at the order window. Half a dozen or so tables clutter the dining room and there’s a nice patio outside. As you can imagine, it’s pretty basic and homey inside. Wood pannel walls and what every Q shack should have, a life size stand up of Elvis.
Big Cove first crossed my path when it was named Best BBQ Restaurant in North East Alabama. How could I possibly ignore such praise?? In a region well populated with pitmasters named Gibson, such an honour would have to be well earned. So let’s see how they did.
The pulled pork was pretty good but there were some considerations here. It was slightly dry but since were were the last customers of the day, all in all, somewhat understandable. They should be lauded for not drowning it in sauce to cover that up or over steaming it to keep it moist but turning it spongy. They don’t sauce it at all which is nice and they have nice long shreds of meat so I can imagine that straight off the smoker, this is really good stuff.
The ribs were, by competition standards, over cooked. They were falling off the bone. I really don’t have a problem with that since I’m not a competition judge. So read into that that they were super tender. They tasted a bit plain but a little bit of the sauce really picked them up. That works well for me since I love sauce.
The accompanying sauce was really nice. A typical vinegar/tomato type sauce you’ll find in north Alabama and done very well here and with a hint of heat. I never did try the white sauce.
The beans were really nice. Both Mrs. Sippi and I gobbled them up. Nice chunks of pork and a good smooth taste. I got almost all the way through them when I decided that a little sauce might be nice with them. It was. The vinegar and spice opened them up even more.
The tater salad was simply amazing. Good chunks of potato, skin on and some garnish. It had a signature taste to it that I just couldn’t put my finger on. I noticed a bottle of squeezable butter flavoured margarine in the cooler and wonder if that was it. It did seem to be a bit buttery. Whatever it was, both of us concurred that it was the best restaurant potato salad we’d had.
So there you have it folks. A good meal in a cool little Q shack where Elvis once ate.
You can find Big Cove at 151 Taylor Rd. in Owens Cross Roads, Alabama.
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Well that’s all for now folks, see ya next time in the Food Court.