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Blue Oak BBQ

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Huntsville continues to make a move up the list of best barbecue cities in Alabama. A few of Chase’s favorites are already there and now Blue Oak BBQ has rode into town. Started by a couple of dudes in New Orleans, their story is a Big Bang, with a pop-up materializing in an instant then morphing into a full-blown restaurant.  Their star continued to burn and accelerate until they blasted off to the Rocket City. Blue Oak’s flashy brand sings NOLA and jives with the hip Midtown groove. Trash Pandas beware, this isn’t dumpster diving under the streetlight, it’s neon lights and shiny trays loaded to the hilt.

Whether you’re hip or square, everyone fits in. New Orleans’ open arms are broad and Blue Oak reflects that attitude with welcoming décor and an open floorplan. The space is large with table seating, hi-tops, bar seats, and picnic tables on the outdoor shaded patio. Finding your comfort zone may be easier than picking from the huge menu. Traditional favorites cover the menu board, but a number of creative twists will undoubtably distract if your eyes wander. One that found its way to our table was Kung Pao burnt ends. Thick cut, smoky, and fabulous! It delivers Asian flavors on a hearty American fave.

Chris Munson is Chase’s most prolific scout. Not only has he turned us on to many a chart-topping barbecue joints, but he makes sure our table becomes a buffet of goods. He fills it with a little bit of everything and we always leave room for absolutely nothing. Chris’ previous jaunts to Blue Oak generated an excitement that delivered monstrous portions. Exacerbating our enthusiasm was a lengthy wait for our order, which was consoled with complimentary banana pudding and an extra order of brisket, mac n cheese, and roasted brussel sprouts. I was completely punished by the end of our binge, but what a binge it was!

The pulled pork, brisket, and baked beans are definite winners. All are well seasoned, tender, and flavorful. Look for the Beef Fat Tater-tots.  (That’s what they’re fried in, not what they’re made of).  The house barbecue sauce uses mustard with spices floating throughout. There’s also a Spicy Carolina vinegar sauce that brings the spice without being unnecessarily hot. If you want to pretend you’re eating healthy, snag the brussel sprouts. By the time they make it to the table they’re just a faux vegetable. I’m pretty sure they’re flavored using some sort of animal.

The most unusual thing we had was the banana pudding. It was unlike anything we’ve had before and I speak for Scout Chris, Batman, and myself. Made with banana milk and homemade cookies, its filling was loose like a cobbler. It’s crowned with baked meringue and isn’t overly sweet. It was good but way out of bounds for what Southerners think of as banana pudding.

Blue Oak is as much about the social scene as the food but isn’t that what New Orleans is about. It’s a city that entices all your senses. There may be a party going on in your mouth, but you’re also surrounded by a festival of sight and sound. Clearly folks dig it!

Bonus Points:

Order at the counter

Sports on TV

Exceptional baked beans

Sauce on the table

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