top of page

Brooks Barbecue

Stop for



Muscle Shoals


The first time I went to Brooks was with my buddy and coworker Lamarr Chaplin.  We were in the Shoals, location scouting for a commercial.  For those not familiar with the Shoals, it’s the collective name for Florence, Sheffield, Muscle Shoals, and Tuscumbia in northwest Alabama.  It’s an area rich in history and full of attractions.  The most mind-blowing piece of history is that Henry Ford nearly chose Florence as the site for Ford Motor Company.  It’s wild to think that Florence could have been what Detroit is today.  But Florence is charming exactly the way it is.

The area also features Ivey Green, the birthplace and home of Helen Keller; Fame Studios where Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Alabama, Elton John and numerous other superstars recorded their music; Rosenbaum House, the only building in Alabama designed by Frank Lloyd Wright; and the W.C. Handy Museum, home of the “Father of the Blues”, who was born in Florence in 1873.  There’s also Trowbridge’s Ice Cream Bar, which has been serving their signature orange pineapple ice cream since 1918.  That’s just the tip of what the Shoals area has to offer, which helps make it the perfect destination for a barbecue road trip.

On this trip I was carrying around my list of top 50 Alabama barbecue restaurants and knew that four of them were in the Shoals.  That’s quite a concentration for an area without a large population.  The thing I remember from my first experience is the coconut pie.  It is packed with flavor and is just the right size for a mid-day treat without knocking you out.  I heard they were known for their pies and this one is off the chart.  Homemade, fresh, and fantastic!

Before you stop, be aware that Brooks is carry-out only.  There’s plenty of room in the parking lot to eat in your car or you can find a nearby park.  The one I went to was just a couple miles away but had only concrete tables that were leaning because of tree roots pushing them over.  That’s why my sweet potato pie is damaged in the below picture, my Coke bottle fell on it while I was setting out my food.  That’s just one of the hazards of chasing barbecue.

The pork at Brooks is beautiful.  There’s a lovely smoke ring so you get some bark and this tender, moist meat from the inside.  I ate mine without the sauce because it just didn’t need it.  It’s rare to find meat that doesn’t need sauce for at least some moisture, but this hits that mark.  Brooks serves a thin sauce and has a bit of a gritty texture, which I’m guessing may be from cayenne because this sauce is hot.  It may have some tobacco in it as well, so if you love hot sauces this is your place.

All plates come with baked beans, slaw, and potato salad, which is a rare treat and an incredible value at less than $9.  I’ll go ahead and tell you, these guys love spice.  Not only does the sauce have a kick but the sides do as well.  The beans are very earthy and spicy, possibly from cumin and cayenne.  The yellow slaw is crisp and cool but it finishes with a bite.  It does calm the heat from the beans and adds a crunchy element.  The potato salad is a creamy russet base with mayo, mustard and relish.  It was a nice reprieve from everything else as it had no heat to it.  It’s a very different take on what is traditionally a meal based in sweetness.  It just shows good barbecue joints come in all shapes and sizes and good food comes in all varieties.

Bonus points for:

Order at the counter

Coke products

bottom of page