Brenda’s Barbecue Pit is about the size of a walk-in closet, only smaller. The nano-building stands on Mobile Road near Washington Park in Montgomery. It’s a working class neighborhood. They do take-out only.
No credit cards.
There is a line of customers four miles long today. Some customers look like they came directly from work. There is a man in custodial blues. A woman in medical scrubs. A guy in a suit.
It’s a sunny afternoon. Birds chirping. A souped-up Cadillac passes by, windows tinted in roofing tar, with a booming stereo loud enough to crack dental fillings. And I am drunk on pecan smoke.
There is an old woman in the car parked beside mine, windows down, smoking a cigar. She smiles her few teeth at me.
I ask her if the food here is good.
“Good ain’t the word, baby.”
I ask how long Brenda’s has been here.
“Long time,” she replies, smoke wafting from her nostrils. “Longer than I am old.”
I’ve eaten barbecue in 44 different states; everywhere except North Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska, Hawaii, and New
Hampshire. People tell me Brenda’s is the best of all time.
Bold words. Especially when considering some of the barbecue joints this vast country has to offer. I’ll start with a few unlikely winners.
Cattleack Barbecue in Dallas, located in an ordinary strip mall. The line was out the door. Once inside, a waitress offered me free beer while I waited. I repeat, free beer. The food was spiritual.
Ubon’s barbecue joint. Yazoo City, Mississippi. My booth featured duct tape on the upholstery. The ribs tasted exactly like cherubs singing Handel.
Kaiser’s Barbecue in Salt Lake City. The joint looks like either a former tattoo parlor or a repurposed strip joint. The prime rib was so good my wife slapped me. Twice.
Suzy Q’s, in Buffalo, New York. The staff thought I talked funny. Long ago, you would have termed…