With another college football season winding down, it’s easy for me to get a little nostalgic. Weekend after weekend, I’ve watched the same college football announcers gallivant across the country, highlighting and enjoying some of the best food in America, some of the same spots I frequented so often during college, and I do so with complete and utter envy. For me, this is the typically the toughest part of watching any Alabama Crimson Tide football game; moments when my brain conjures up tastes of the past, my mouth starts to water, and I wished I lived a little closer to one of the greatest college towns: Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Earlier this season, when watching ESPN’s Todd Blackledge feature yet another one of Tuscaloosa’s famed eateries, City Cafe, a landmark meat-and-three dive that I’ve been to more times than I can recall, got me thinking about all of the good eats found in T-Town and those I now rarely get the chance to revisit. One of the more unique epicurean experiences you’ll ever have, and one I reminisce about often, is at Archibald’s Bar-B-Q, located just a few minutes north of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in Northport. Archibald’s is a barbecue institution, and has been ever since the blue-hue smoke of hickory wood started bellowing out of their now soot-covered cinder block smokestack back in 1962.
Let it be known Archibald’s is for barbecue purists. Archibald’s is simple, yet indescribably delicious and undeniably unforgettable. It’s a place where only four barbecue necessities reside on the menu – a slab of ribs, a plate of ribs, a rib sandwich, and a sliced pork sandwich – supported by a heavenly vinegar-based sauce, white bread, and your choice of potato chips and canned Pepsi products.
At Archibald’s, you eat outside on picnic tables, you’ll meet all types of people from Tuscaloosa, the great state of Alabama, the South, all across the United States and even the world. My go-to is the rib plate: ribs stacked atop slices of white bread soaked with their signature sauce. Again, it’s simple, but at the same time genuinely complex and diverse. Archibald’s Bar-B-Q is excellent; and once you have the opportunity to experience it, you’ll too be part of this institution’s tradition and find it hard to forget.