Saw’s Barbecue in Homewood, Alabama has been an overnight sensation. See The world of barbecue traditionally has granted places great respect and dignity only after years of high quality, and upstarts have to be really good to win high honor. Saw’s has done just that. No less an authority than Eric Lee has written that it may be the best ever.
The nascent Saw’s empire includes two additional places, Saws Soul Kitchen and Saw’s Juke Joint. These are not franchises. Each has its own personality and menu. Based on positive reviews by both Jimbo and Henry Tanner and our experience with Saw’s in Homewood, Nancy and I went to Saw’s Juke Joint.
You may have a mental image of a juke joint – perhaps a shotgun house near a crossroads in the Mississippi Delta. Saw’s Juke Joint does not quite fit that mold. Saw’s Juke Joint sits on the edge of Mountain Brook, easily the wealthiest city in Alabama.
As a follower of Bo Diddley’s maxims on the potentially deceitful nature of external appearance, I was not deterred by the brick and slate. I wanted to eat.
The interior starts to get you back on the barbecue track, with lots of football memorabilia, etc., but then you see a Bloody Mary and remember that you’re in Mountain Brook.
Saw’s Juke Joint isn’t really a barbecue place. They have pork among a whole lot of other things. It’s more of a meat and three place where you can get a chocolate roulade and glass of good wine.
I chose the Pork and Greens.
The Pork and Greens are a sort of Big Hungry Boy Napoleon: a layer of cheese grits, a layer of greens, a layer of pork, and a layer of onion rings, all composed with less attention to appearance than abundance. It was good. (See Bo Diddley reference, supra.) The grits were excellent, high quality grits. The onion rings were truly outstanding, more onion than batter and fried by someone who really knows how to fry – onion rings that should make other onion rings hang their heads in shame. The pork was moist, tender, and had a smoke flavor. It was about as good as barbecue gets that is not cooked over a pit. The greens were trying hard to keep up with the other ingredients, but good. I would order them as a side if I got a sandwich.
Nancy, perhaps because we had just eaten a pretty big breakfast, showed her customary admirable (and for me, inimitable) restraint, and only ordered a couple of sides. She approved of the potato salad and cole slaw. The deviled eggs were my idea. Deviled eggs are always a good idea.
The quality of the various elements of the Pork and Greens indicates that you can’t go far wrong with anything on the menu at Saw’s Juke Joint. Despite my comments about the incongruity of a juke joint in Mountain Brook, this is a real good place to eat. You should head on over there.
And while you’re at it, click “follow” on our front page to receive blog posts in your email box. Or bookmark us and check in from time to time. If you’re planning a trip, you can “Search” the name of the destination city, state, or country for good restaurants (in Europe, often close to sites, like the Louvre or the Van Gogh Museum, that you’ll want to visit in any event). Comments, questions, and suggestions of places to eat or stories to cover are very welcome. And check out our Instagram page, johntannerbbq.