Alabama – Football and Barbecue in Tuscaloosa

After Church and Family, the most important things in Alabama are football and barbecue – followed by pie, ‘nana pudding, non-vegetarian vegetables,* fishing, hunting, corn bread, biscuits, sitting by the lake or on the beach drinking beer, and pimento cheese.  Cornell University scientists determined (by studying twitter activity) that the favorite activity in Alabama is eating.  The favorite activity in Ohio is sitting, and folks in New Jersey love getting manicures.  In Michigan the favorite physical activity is lying down, as they demonstrated on the last play of the Michigan State game last week.  We all owe a debt of thanks to the scientists of Cornell for thus advancing the sum total of human knowledge.

After lunch with Dear at Demetri’s. Nancy and I went to Tuscaloosa on the Friday before the Alabama-Arkansas game.  We left on Friday because we wanted to spend time with our good friends, Bob and Babs McCurley, and because you really don’t want to drive into or out of Tuscaloosa on game day.  Up to 250,000 people come from out of town to Tuscaloosa to see football games or, since the stadium holds fewer than 102,000 people and a couple of hundred thousand people live there,they come to enjoy the ambience of game day.  As it was we bailed out of the interstate and drove  the last 11 miles on back roads.

Game day in Tuscaloosa involves barbecue, especially when the opponents are the Arkansas Razorbacks (or Hogs as they are affectionately known.)  Friday night we enjoyed barbecue from Full Moon at the MCCurleys’.

full moon

Actually we didn’t have ribs – we had chopped pork, which I failed to photograph.  As always, it was very good.  Full Moon is  a chain, and the Tuscaloosa outpost is excellent.  Their pork has a good texture and a smoky flavor.  I think that their sauce is too thick and sweet, but their piccalilli is sensational.  Try it.

After dinner we went to campus for the bonfire and sorority house decorations.

bonfire homecoming dec

Saturday we walked off some barbecue and headed to campus – first to the Honors College, where I taught a couple of courses when we were in Tuscaloosa, and where Bob teaches.  They had, among many other things, barbecue nachos.


Barbecue nachos are a guilty pleasure and one of the reasons for Alabama’s high ranking in obesity.  And one of the reasons I gained 5 pounds on this trip.  From the Honors College we went onto the Quad for some tailgating and more barbecue.  Both jim and Nick’s and Full Moon have trucks by the Quad on game day and both are popular.   For most games people bring ribs from Archibald’s or Dreamland or maybe a butt or three from Robertsons’.  But when Alabama plays the Razorbacks, people like to go whole hog.


This whole hog had been picked over by the time we got there, but it was still good.

Oh – and there was a football game.  Alabama slept through the first half, probably digesting barbecue, and then played hard for a quarter to build up a big enough lead that they could go back to sleep during the final minutes and still win.  Rammer Jammer Yellowhammer!

Is there a better way to spend a day?

  •  Vegetables in Alabama typically are cooked with pork, as you can tell from the chunks of pork.  That’s why they taste so good.

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