On Tuesday, Nancy sent me off to have lunch while she stayed with Dear and worked on her needlepoint. Continuing my tour of places in the Alabama Barbecue Hall of Fame, I headed to Demetri’s. Demetri’s has been right in the heart of the central Homewood commercial district since 1961, and it recently has been inducted into the Birmingham Restaurant Hall of Fame. Sam Nakos, Demetri’s son, started filling in at the family barbecue place when he was eight. He’s been at it for a while, and really knows what he’s doing.
I lucked into a parking space, sat at the counter and ordered a pork plate with succotash and turnip greens. (You get a double order of turnip greens on Tuesdays.)
The pork had a good mixture of pork and hickory flavor, with excellent outside bark. You can only get outside meat like that cooking over direct heat from hardwood coals, preferably hickory coals in a brick pit, as at Demetri’s. Regular readers know that I’m not a fan of thick barbecue sauces, but the sauce at Demetri’s, like a number of other thick sauces in Birmingham, was well seasoned and flavorful. It wasn’t excessively sweet and didn’t smother the excellent flavor of the meat.
The sides were truly outstanding. The succotash was the best I’ve ever tasted, with black eyed peas, corn, baby butter beans (or baby Lima beans, if you prefer), okra, and onions. All of the vegetables were fresh and local, and nothing was overcooked. Wonderful. And the turnip greens were great. At Demetri’s, they cook the greens with smoked pig knuckles, and oh, does it work. I got an extra piece of corn bread so I could get every drop of the pot likker.
With all that food, I reluctantly passed on the pie. Birmingham is a great city for pie, and Demetri’s is one of the top ten places for pie in the area, which extends to Pie Lab in Greensboro, two counties away.
All the top ten and hall of fame lists are good and well, but I actually chose Demetri’s because it was one of the places I’d eaten lunch with Dear not too long ago. She enjoyed a pork sandwich and some grilled vegetables.
And some banana cream pie. It was really good. I wish she could still go out to eat.
I’m glad I went to Demetri’s. You should go, too. I’ve added it to the list of the Nation’s Top Places.