Big Bob Gibson’s ranks among the best BBQ in the South

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Eat This, Not That named Big Bob Gibson’s in Decatur as one of the best barbecue joints in the South. (Michael Seale/Hville Blast)

As if Big Bob Gibson’s Bar-B-Q needed more accolades, the international culinary web publication Eat This, Not That recently named the famous Decatur barbecue joint as one of the best in the South.

The website — popular for ranking and reviewing restaurants from all over the world — listed the 14 Best BBQ Restaurants in the South, and of course included the iconic Big Bob Gibson’s. Here’s more info:

The 14 Best BBQ Spots in the South

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Big Bob Gibson’s is credited with inventing white barbecue sauce, a recipe they have perfected. (Big Bob Gibson’s via Facebook)

The Eat This, Not That list of the 14 Best BBQ Restaurants in the South has Big Bob Gibson’s ranked at #12, which in my opinion sells the legendary restaurant a little short.

But most of the restaurants listed are in Texas, which makes sense, although I would have thought at least one other Alabama BBQ joint would have made the list. The judges and panelists that comprised the list consist of chefs from all over the country who specialize in barbecue (I think “barbecue specialist” should be my next occupation, by the way).

No matter, the landmark BBQ spot in Decatur can carry the weight for the state.

“Their wings and ribs with that authentic Alabama white sauce are so good, and it’s hard to put into words.”

Chef Grant Kneble, panelist/critic

The legendary Big Bob Gibson’s

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How do they do it? Well, they’ve been doing it for nearly 100 years. (Big Bob Gibson’s via Facebook)

The Eat This, Not That article describes Big Bob Gibson’s further, by saying, “It’s no surprise that Gibsons has won awards on the Today Show, been named the ‘Best Barbecue in Alabama’ by the Birmingham News, and taken first place for pork in multiple barbecue contests, considering the family has been smoking and selling meats since 1925.”

And it’s true. For nearly 100 years, the Gibson family has been in the barbecue business. Legend has it that in 1925, Bob Gibson served barbecue from a makeshift table made of oak planks nailed to a large sycamore tree in his backyard.

He then became so popular that he opened a storefront, and moved over the years to larger spots to accommodate his popularity.

By the 1970s, Don McLemore — grandson of Big Bob — and his wife Carolyn took control of the business and saw it grow exponentially while maintaining the traditions that made the food famous.

Since then Big Bob’s great granddaughter Amy and her husband Chris Lilly joined the team and helped take the restaurant in a new direction, with expansion of the business and of the menu.

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Michael Seale
Michael Seale
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