Dreamland: Tuscaloosa, AL201
with Mike Johnston
Today is day 20, which means I'm beginning the second half of the chase! Dreamland BBQ in Tuscaloosa, Alabama was my 49th stop and one that was full of life and lively people. One of those lively people was Wynee, who is part of the management team. She convinced the gruff, but kind at heart pitmaster, JD, to teach me a few things about Dreamland and how they barbecue there.
Dreamland has been open and operating in this spot since 1958 and is still going strong. JD says that the key to their success is the sauce (that ended up being the theme today at both of my stops). They take a simple approach to the flavoring of the ribs...they just salt em. So the sauce is critical to the final flavor profile they're trying achieve.
Barbecue wise, they're not about no "low and slow" here. They cook over direct heat, at temps as high as 600 to 700 degrees! And they use a combination of hickory and oak as their fuel for the fire.
The menu is simple here...it's ribs and sausage with just a couple sides to choose from. That's actually an expansion of the menu. For a long time they just served ribs and bread, then moved to ribs, bread and sausage and now they have the sides. I ordered the ribs, sausage, beans and some more tasty banana pudding (someone told me that you're suppose to eat it after BBQ...so I am). The ribs, because of that high heat barbecuing process, are chewy but not in a dry, bad way...they still come off the bone without a fight, but they have some tug. During that chewing process is when you start to realize just how dang good the sauce is! It has some vinegar in it, but not too much. I found it quite addictive! The banana pudding was a great way to end my 11am barbecue brunch! #chasingbbq