My vote for best Barbecue Joint is Ken’s Hickory Pit Barbecue in Birmingham, AL. I’ve been a fan of Ken’s for about 30 years now. First started going there while I was attending Jefferson State Junior College. Now this place is not fancy. When you first pull into the parking area you’ll notice a big stack of hickory wood and one of those gas powered log splitters. This is a true sign of real “hickory smoked” barbecue. If you come at lunchtime get there early as the parking lot fills up fast. When you step out of you car or pick-up truck (country Cadillac in Bama land) you’ll breathe in the most heavenly scent on earth. The smoke coming out of the smokestack is blue/white with the strong smell of hickory. This gets you in the right mood before you even open the door.
Ken’s has counter seats and tables if you prefer. I like to sit at the counter right in front of the pit. You get to see the folks prepare you meal right in front of you. The pit is always full of butts, sausage, ribs and chicken. My favorite meal is the small combination plate. This plate comes with chopped pork, smoked sausage (I believe it is Kielbasa), barbecue beans, Cole slaw, French fries and a slice of white bread. Order a glass of sweet tea and you’ll be a happy camper for sometime. They chop their barbecue at Ken’s, none of this pulled pork crap. There is a good mix of inside and outside (the crisp burnt outside layer) meat. Ken’s uses a unique barbecue sauce that I have not come across anywhere else. The sauce is dark brown almost black. I do not believe it contains any tomato base. The beans are southern style with onions, bell pepper, brown sugar and pieces of pork meat mixed in with the beans. The Cole slaw is mayonnaise based with a slight sweet taste. The French fries are always crisp and hot. Now they also serve the combination plate in a larger portion, the regular plate. But I warn you, that’s a lot of food.
Ken’s is located at 4817 Pinson Valley Parkway, Birmingham AL. PH# 205-853-6488