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Places / United States / Alabama / Blount County / Blount Springs
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Small dock on the lake at Blount Springs, Alabama. Fall color reflecting on the water.

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Located on U.S. Highway 31 in Blount Springs, Alabama, for over 40 years, the Top Hat Barbecue has been cooking pulled pork barbecue the traditional way - over an open flame from a hardwood fire.

Wtth FOUR open pits, the Top Hat Barbecue has THE LARGEST traditional open pit of any barbecue restaurant in the South, of which I'm aware - bar none.

Never turned, the pork shoulders simply stay in one position the entire time they are slow cooked - which is well over 12 hours. As the meat is cooked, the fat is rendered, which then drips on the fire and is burned, and in turn, rises up in the smoke adding to the flavor of the meat, thus giving the meat the characteristic unique to barbecue - smoked flavor. The design of the open pit - as owner Dale Pettit shared with me - allows the smoke from the burning wood to recirculate over the meat as it cooks.

Seen on the RIGHT, the logs for the next day's cooking are readied with newspaper under them to assist starting the fire. In the center, the logs are visible and seen standing on their cut ends.

To read a bit more about the history of the Top Hat Barbecue, including some of the more renown barbecue restaurants in Alabama, and in the Southeast in general, the Southern Barbecue Trail project of Southern Foodways Alliance through the University of Mississippi's Center for the Study of Southern Culture is among the best, and most renown.

Top Hat Barbecue
8725 US Highway 31
Blount Springs, AL 35079
(256) 352-9919

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