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Doug's BBQ

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If The Alabama Barbecue Chase has done anything, it’s revealed some fantastic little barbecue stops that I never would have discovered otherwise.  Research, social media, word of mouth, all of it has opened a world of opportunity that has delivered more fun than I ever hoped for.  It’s also enlightened me to the incomputable number of techniques for preparing pork barbecue and its tasty sidekicks.  In learning how to appreciate those styles, I’ve had moments where I felt like I could eat barbecue every day because each sampling was so different.  I acknowledge this revelation hasn’t been shared with many folks, but it’s part of our mission.  Even if it’s not your favorite, it can still be a treat and should always be fun.

Doug’s entered our consciousness through social media.  I trying to avoid a death scroll when a post popped up about them.  A food trailer, located near Sylacauga, that has a varied menu based on the day of the week and where they’ll be.  I’ve had good luck with joints that post their menu daily.  It’s a sign they have a skilled cook and they aren’t just rinsing and repeating their recipes.  Creativity is important, especially in mobile food service.  A quick glance of their Facebook page and I made plans.

When not working a special event, Doug’s is parked at the Shell station on 280 in Sylacauga.  If you have trouble locating it, look for a bunch of smoke floating across the highway.  The day I went they had that smoker rolling and I was ready, having waited until later in the afternoon for lunch.  Four people were ahead of me when I arrived, but they were churning through orders.  There’s no seating at Doug’s, so every order is to go.  Their preparation makes it easy enough to eat in the car or there is a city park just a few miles south of them.

The pork is served chopped, or chunked as I’ve heard it called in parts of southeast Alabama.  Cutting it into bite-sized pieces makes it easier to eat and stay clean if you’re dining in the car where it’s difficult to lean over your plate.  The meat itself has a mild flavor.  It’s not heavily seasoned or smoked and is a little fattier than most places I frequent.  If you’re not opposed to the texture, the fat adds moisture and allows the pork’s natural flavor to be forward.  It’s smothered in a sweet, tomato sauce that’s mildly seasoned but finishes with a warm hint of spice.  They work well together for a tasty, balanced bite.

Doug’s baked beans are warm and rich.  They’re a sweet version but are also well balanced.  I found them familiar and comforting, which is sometimes what you want.  The potato salad, on the other hand, were something all their own.  They were smooth and creamy, not too far off from a mashed potato.  Maybe they riced the potatoes as opposed to cubing them, which creates a texture that I’ve only found at Doug’s.  They’re mixed with mayo, mustard, egg, and dill relish, which is the most forward of all the flavors.  The plate is served with a bun and a slice of white bread.

Doug’s is a hit!  It’s very popular amongst the locals, which is a good sign for the rest of us.  There’s also just something fun about ordering from a food truck.  It’s a cool vibe and what’s better than a picnic, especially when you don’t have to cook?

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