Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q (3/10) - 1715 6th Ave SE Decatur, AL 35601

M-Su: 9:30a-8:30p
(p) 256.350.6969

Alas, five hours into what should have originally been a three-hour drive,we finally arrived in Decatur at the home of Big Bob Gibson's Bar-B-Q. Salivary glands going bananas, we thought that we had wisely saved an appetite for the barbecue blowout that was to shortly ensue. We parked underneath the sign that depicts a cannabalistic jovial pig with a chef's hat.

The waft of smoke hit me and an uncontrolable smile was plastered across my face. Patrons, upon entering the front door, are greeted by the hostess and 8 enormous 4'-5' Memphis in May trophies (as well as other competive trophies that the restaurant has won from years past -- the awards too numerous to list here). We ordered the four-meat platter (Pork, Brisket, Ribs, and Quarter Chicken - dark meat) to ensure that we tried all the mandatory meats.

Pork - Dry. Chicken - So overcooked that the tip of the drumstick was too hard to chew into. Brisket - So tasteless and overcooked it tasted like it was sold from behind the counter at a Safeway grocery store. Ribs - Decent at best. White Sauce - Tastes like ranch dressing. Red Sauce - Too sweet. Our table erupted in laughter over the absurdity of our five-hour drive to ultimately eat what was definitely our worst meal of the day. Perhaps it was an off-day. Perhaps the restaurant is resting too hard on its reputation.

In a discussion that I later had with the owner of a smaller less-commercial barbecue restaurant, I was told that the best barbecue restaurants are run by the guys who depend on the quality of their food day-in and day-out to pay their mortgages. He said that he never knows when a customer is being sent out of his/her way based on another loyal customer's recommendation and he couldn't afford to disappoint anyone.  This would not be the only time that a recent Memphis in May Champion's restaurant would grossly disappoint me. Perhaps that owner is onto something.  Whatever the case, Big Bob Gibson should be irate, and I hope that a MIM trophy doesn't.become a stigma.

Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon


  1. Sounds like a bad day. The chicken is normally cooked to perfection. The pulled pork isn't usually dry. The brisket, while not the best in the world, is normally pretty good.

    I'm not sure how to respond to your assertion that White Sauce taste like Ranch Dressing. That simply isn't true and leads me to question your taste buds.

  2. I also saw no mention of pie in your blog post. Don't tell me you drove five hours to eat at Big Bob Gibson's and didn't purchase a pie to take home with you.

  3. Agree. I eat BBQ all over the country. I don't like brisket typically, but love Big Bob's due to the taste 'punch', sweetened just a tad with their red sauce.

    Have to agree with another, the fact that you think the white sauce tasted like ranch...makes me think you actually picked up the ranch dressing bottle, which is in a similar shape. Hmmmm.... Have eaten their chicken with white sauce numerous times and never found it dry. Ever.

    If you didn't take pictures, I'd swear you went to the wrong place. Therefore, I'm going to assume you're somehow related to another BBQ business that benefits from slamming Big Bob's. It's the only other explanation that makes sense.

  4. I live and eat Memphis BBQ. Some of what he said was dead on. The pulled port I had was CRIMINAL. It had the consistency and taste of STRAW. Seriously not good. The sides were also pathetic. HOWEVER, the white sauce rocks. Any assertion that the white sauce tastes like ranch is ludicrous. It is peppery and sweet and staggeringly tasty.

    The pies are also amazing.

    Now that being said... were this place in Memphis I would never be a customer. I can do better at Tops (which is weaker than Central or Cozy Corner, or even BBQ shop).


Ratings and Reviews

In order to provide a consistent grading standard across each restaurant/region, I order a barbecue pork sandwich (and other meats/sides if a restaurant/region specializes in another specialty). In addition to comparing the quality of food, I will also take into consideration other intangibles (ambiance, atmosphere, service, authenticity, etc.) in my ratings as I deem appropriate.

Basically, a 10/10 represents an incredible meal, while a 6/10 score indicates a decent dining experience but a substantial number of dishes fell short of great. Lower scores indicate unpleasant experiences which I would most likely not even recommend to my worst enemy (Jonas Singer).

I reserve the right to continuously edit/update previous posts and to change rating scores as I see fit.