Birmingham is home to highly opinionated locavores who like to obsess ad nauseum about celebrity chefs Frank Stitt and Chris Hastings, both of whom deserve their cult following. But gourmands and blue-collar pit aficionados alike agree that SAW's smokes some of the best BBQ in the state (if not the South). It’s not just the blue-collars that rate SAW’s as the best BBQ around – Paula Deen says it is No. 1 in her book. In her “The Best Barbecue Across America” list, SAW’s tops the list. And Parade Magazine says that SAW’s Soul Kitchen made it to their list of the “17 Top New Barbecue Places in America”.
What Makes it GreatSAW's was started by Mike Wilson, a guy who worked as the "meat expert" in the Test Kitchen of Cooking Light magazine, which is headquartered in Birmingham. He struck out on his own to start SAW's (the name is an acronym for his college nickname: Sorry A** Wilson), serving pit-smoked ribs, chicken with white sauce (a vinegar-based sauce native to Alabama), and fork-tender pulled pork. His little hole-in-the-wall, decorated with license plates and football signs, yielded an experience that our visiting Canadian friend declared "the best meat experience of my life." Even the sides are memorable, and we didn't think we liked banana pudding until we tried it here. Even the sweet tea will please your taste buds and make you want to brag about your meal to your friends.
After the Homewood location took off, Wilson opened locations in Avondale and Mountain Brook (near Birmingham Bicycle Company). They have different menus and different settings, but if we had to choose, we’d send you to the one in Avondale, where you can order a Pork and Greens plate (cheese grits smothered with collard greens, and pulled pork) and then head down the street to see what’s on tap at Avondale Brewery.
Who is Going to Love ItSAW’s BBQ is definitely the place for the carnivore meat-lover. The portions are likely more than you can eat in one meal, so make sure you arrive with a ravenous appetite. The Homewood location is so small there isn’t a lot of sitting room, and on busy nights, don’t be surprised to see the line out the door. The food is, by far, worth the wait, however. Chat football and BBQ with the other folks in line as you wait for your turn to order. The penny-pinchers will love this place, as well, because the prices are easy on the wallet.
Directions, Parking and Fees
There are three different delectable SAW’s locations: