I was in Alabama to speak at the Alabama New South Coalition’s annual conference, and stayed in Birmingham a few days to visit Dear, who recently moved to a new part of assisted living, and to seeing younger brother David and his family. On Saturday evening, Dear decided to stay in for dinner, so my brother David and I went to SAW’s to get some ribs to eat while we watched the Alabama-Kentucky game at his house.
I had been to Saw’s in Homewood once before (see here), and I really liked the pork — perhaps the tenderest pork barbecue in the world. I also have gone to SAW’s Juke Joint in Mountain Brook, which was also very good (the pork and greens!) (see here). David had tried the ribs at SAW’s in Homewood, and did a guest post for me. There’s also a SAW’s Soul Kitchen in Avondale that I liked but neglected to write up. So I felt like a SAW’s expert — except for never having tried the ribs. So off we went
SAW’s is small and it’s always crowded with people eager to get some barbecue. Most of the business is carry out. David was thrilled to be back.
We got there just ahead of a crowd of Auburn fans — Auburn had an early game against Louisiana-Monroe — and were in and out in good time. It’s busy but fast.
I got ribs with greens and beans — I should have said green beans, but due to my imprecision, I wound up with baked beans. David got ribs with baked beans and slaw. I also got some deviled eggs, which will not surprise regular readers.
We ate in David and Debby’s kitchen. The food was very good. The greens were good, and the baked beans were blessedly free of excessive molasses, so they avoided that cloyingly sweet taste that usually infects baked beans. The ribs were meaty, as you can see, and nice and tender (except, curiously, for one patch on one of the ribs: I’m not sure how that happened.) The ribs tasted very good, redolent of smoke and pork. Really good. I wouldn’t put them up against Archibald’s (I know Eric Lee is going to get mad at me for that), but they were excellent. I think the bark was the difference — I suspect that they were partially cooked with indirect heat rather than over the direct heat of a pit. The sauce is nicely spiced — but a touch on the sweet side.
SAW’s is capitalized because it is an acronym for Sorry Ass Wilson. The owner got the nickname SAW, probably in high school. Some nicknames are inevitable: if your last name is Rhodes, you’re going to be called Dusty. I went to school with a boy whose last name was Pitt, and he was immediately called Arm. There were other nicknames that I can’t really repeat here. But whoever came up with SAW was clever. It’s a great nickname, and it’s a tribute to SAW that he’s stuck with.
UPDATE: This is so sad — a great loss. SAW has passed. See a brief tribute here.
Definitely go to SAW’s if you get near Birmingham.
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