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Full Moon Bar-B-Que

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Full Moon was recently named by as the best barbecue restaurant in Birmingham and finished #3 in the entire state, so we’re not dealing with scrubs here.  Check out the pictures that tile the walls.  Joe Namath, Pat Sullivan, Alice Cooper…it’s wall to ceiling likenesses, consciously mounted in black-frames and thoughtfully secured to the walls.  It’s an aesthetic that’s strong and brings out the curiosity in grown men, searching the walls trying to find their favorite childhood celebrity.  The whole thing can make adults giddy and feel a part of something much bigger.

It the front corner is something you won’t find in any other barbecue restaurant, an entire section devoted to UAB and they use Full Moon as a weapon in the athletic recruiting wars.  The day I went some athletic department reps were hosting a prospective athlete, probably a football player based on his build, that had to duck his head to slip out the door.  While he was eating lunch, the owner sat with the group and chatted everyone up, refilling their drinks and making sure they tired the best of what they had.

That type of attention wasn’t limited to those with high profiles.  I watched customer after customer enter, get greeted by name, and be shown a level of appreciation that’s rare.  This is now a franchise that started out with small roots in downtown Birmingham, and that upbringing continues to motivate a local mindset.  I’m humbled to see someone find success yet not get too big for their britches.  Full Moon loves Birmingham and they do everything they can to show it.

The full Full Moon experience has to include the pork.  It’s smoky with a gentle pink color and a very thin bark.  It has a smaller chop which makes it easy to eat.  It has a slightly springy texture when chewed yet somehow is tender and hearty at the same time.  It’s served with sauce on the top that has a strong tomato flavor but with a spicy punch.  It’s thick and clingy but not overly sweet, something that can be a downfall of tomato based sauces.  Every plate comes with dill pickle chips and a scoop of the famous chow chow.  I love mixing a tad of it in with each bite.

I always go for the baked beans and there’s are served in a loose sauce and have a strong bell pepper and onion flavor.  They lean towards sweet but have an earthy quality.  My guess is their sweetened by molasses or some other dark sweetener.  It’s a good baked bean that’s very satisfying.

I had the mac n cheese recommended to me, which is a side I usually don’t order.  Full Moon’s features a firm macaroni noodle in a smooth and creamy sauce. My guess is it’s a stovetop recipe, as opposed to being baked, with Velveeta or another type of easy melting cheese.  The texture and flavor were consistent throughout, and there’s a lot to be said for setting an expectation and delivering it throughout the meal.

If you want something really unique, order the slaw.  It reminds me of a three-bean salad that my mom used to make.  All the components are cut long and soaked in a vinegar and spice marinade, sharp and crisp.  I haven’t encountered anything that rivals it in texture or flavor.  Be bold or be gone.

Of course, don’t conclude your visit without a Half Moon cookie.  It’s a giant chocolate chip cookie dipped halfway in milk chocolate.  Other sweets are also available, but the word play alone is reason to grab one or a half dozen.  Celestial in name and taste, that’s the game of Full Moon Barbecue.

Bonus Points for:

Sports on TV

Order at the counter

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