Archibald’s BBQ: Northport, AL


with Mike Johnston
June 30, 2016
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Archibald’s BBQ: Northport, AL

My first stop in Alabama was at Archibald's BBQ in Northport just a bit northwest of Tuscaloosa. I was immediately in barbecue love when I pulled up to this...come on now...joint! Smoke was billowing, fire was cracking and the place was hoppin'!

I was standing outside taking pic after pic, when I was approached by this sweet southern couple, India and Frank Hamner (look up that last name..it's the real family the TV show "The Walton's" was about..."nite John boy"). They were back for their second purchase of ribs for the day! Why? Because they took the first rack to Frank's 96 3/4 year old mom, Margaret, who just loves her Archibald's ribs!

Once inside, the first thing you notice aside from the smoky goodness is just how tiny this joint is. I'd venture to guess the ordering, pit and counter area was less then 150 square feet. But that doesn't stop them from averaging about 400 tickets per day..that's a lot of ribs (take note of the pic below of the rib slicing board on the edge of the pit...so cool..worn like an old butcher's block but only 18" x 6" give or take). They are doing high heat barbecue here, which is required to meet the demand.

I met third generation owner Tray Washington, the grandson of the founders George and Betty Archibald. As you can imagine he was quite busy banging out all those rib orders, but he did give me a few minutes when he went out to add more wood to the fire that feeds the pit.

I ordered what you're supposed to order, the ribs, and I added some sliced pork, beans, slaw, sweet tea, and a small cup of banana pudding. I can see why people line up for these ribs, their texture is unlike any other.

Roll Tide...Frank told me that these are the words for good bye here, so I'm obliged.

Archiblad's well-worn rib slicing board.

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