Adventures of Gus and Kim: Best BBQ in Alabama

If you read my recent post, Restaurants & Breweries in Tallahassee, you know that Gus and I have recently started traveling again. After only vacationing once a year for the past several years, we've already been to Florida four times this year - with one more trip planned before the end of 2017. And I love it!

When we drive to Florida, we always make an overnight stop in Alabama. We first started vacationing in Florida back in 1998, and we would stay in Pelham, Alabama. After a few years, we discovered Prattville and started stopping there. When I was planning our trip earlier this month, I couldn't find a hotel with available rooms that met my criteria in either of those cities. I ended up picking one in Calera, which is a small town south of Birmingham, between Pelham and Prattville. Yes, I have a whole process when I'm planning a trip - I'll have to do a post about it!

One of the other things I do when planning a trip is check out interesting things to do/see that are nearby and, of course, find out what restaurants the locals like to frequent. Calera, even though it's a small town, is the home of the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum. Gus loves trains! Unfortunately, the museum wasn't open when we were in Calera, but it's something that we will keep in mind for our next driving trip so we can see it.

Tin Top BBQ restaurant

One of the restaurants that kept showing up during my search was a little place called Tin Top Bar-B-Que. We all love barbeque (Buddy was with us on this trip), but let's just say that I always sometimes have a difficult time getting Gus to trust my restaurant suggestions. Especially if the restaurant isn't right next to the hotel. I don't understand this, because I have rarely steered him wrong, and he always loves them once I get him there. (cue me rolling my eyes) So this time, I just didn't tell him anything other than it had a ton of great reviews and "wasn't too far away". Buddy has an adventurous soul (and palate), like me, so Gus was outvoted anyway.

We decided to go to the restaurant before checking into the hotel, originally planning to get take-out since we would be arriving about 45 minutes before they closed. We found Tin Top Bar-B-Que without any problems - if you don't count some grumbling from Gus about driving on country roads. No sense of adventure! In his defense, he grew up in the city, while I grew up in the country, so country roads don't bother me.

Menu/special board at Tin Top BBQ

This place was amazing! Places like this are why I enjoy trying the restaurants where the locals eat. I love the way it looks from the outside, and the people who work there are the friendliest you'll ever meet. They insisted that we had plenty of time to sit down and eat there, so that's what we did. It really reminded me of a few little places from my childhood. I will say this: If you insist on on eating at a place that looks like Applebee's or Olive Garden, this isn't your place - but I warn you - you'll be missing out.

Pig Wings

I ordered their "Pig Wings" special, which was three pig wings and three sides for $10.50. I chose potato salad, baked beans, and potato chips as my sides. "Pig wings" are really pork shanks. They resemble chicken thighs, but are larger and have more meat. I got my barbeque sauce on the side so I could dip the pork in it. Gus and Buddy opted for the chopped pork plate, which also came with three sides.

baked beans

Seriously. Best. Pork. Ever. So tender, so much flavor, and yummy barbeque sauce. Also. Best. Baked. Beans. Ever. I'm pretty sure that even if you don't like beans, you wouldl like these.

peanut butter pie

banana pudding

For dessert, we ordered the peanut butter pie and banana pudding. I knew the banana pudding would be all mine because no one else likes bananas! It was delicious and full of banana slices. The peanut butter pie was a hit as well.

Tin Top BBQ

Tin Top Bar-B-Que is located at 3477 County Road 33 in Calera, Alabama. They have a second location that opened last year in Columbiana at 121 Old Highway 25W.
Phone: Calera: 1-205-668-1409
           Columbiana: 1-205-670-0583
Hours: Calera: Tuesday - Saturday 11:00am - 7:00pm
           Columbiana: Monday - Saturday 6:00am - 7:00pm

If you're ever in the Birmingham area, I recommend taking a little side trip to Calera so you can try the best BBQ in Alabama!


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