Follow the Smell of Hickory
Kelly and Libby Webb were born to cook. Kelly grew up at his fathers side, tending the smoker for family gatherings. Libby meanwhile was in the kitchen cooking for the large family in which she was raised. These skills meshed perfectly when the couple, since met and married, took over New Market BBQ in, conveniently enough, New Market, Alabama.
Opened in 1995 by Virginia and Darrell Day, the business would find a “For Sale” sign in the window a little over a decade later.
It had been Kelly’s dream to own his own BBQ joint and when a co-worker of his at Boeing (yes the airplane people) informed him of it’s availability, the couple pounced. Leaving the corporate world would be more than just a change of jobs. It would be a radical change of life for the couple as the restaurant came with a house (where they now live) and property as well.
While Day stayed in the picture to make for a smooth transition, as the years passed, so too has the torch. NMBBQ is now completely a Webb operation. The business has stabilized and the menu has been shored up. Q standards like ribs and shoulder are bolstered by specials such as BBQ spaghetti (‘sketti). They’ve also augmented the main part of the meal with the reward for clearing your plate, dessert. All prepared on site in either the pit by Kelly or the kitchen by Libby.
NMBBQ sits at the edge of this tiny little town less than a half hour drive from Huntsville. It is that kind of town that qualifies for “Blink and you’ll miss it” status. As such, there’s just not the traffic to be a full time venture so their hours are confined to the weekend. Even with it’s proximity to the “Big” city.
The restaurant itself is a quaint little place. It has most of the trappings of a BBQ joint. Piles of hickory, obligatory pig picture, smell of wood smoke and pig fat, etc. Most of it’s footprint is dedicated to food prep. One area houses the smokers and another the kitchen. There’s a small area for expediting orders and a very nice screened in porch with about a dozen or so chairs facing outward.
There’s also a nice picnic pavilion (pictured above) across the parking lot.
So let’s get a look at what Kelly and Libby are serving.
For sides we have BBQ Beans and Tater Salad. Both are solid if unspectacular. The beans were of the doctored up canned variety with bits of smoked pork. As I've mentioned before, many competition teams do this and there is nothing wrong. So long as their good. These are. The Potato Salad is your typical mayo based style and all in all, about what you'd expect and more over, what you want.
As far as Brisket Sandwiches go, this is one of the best I've had. Brisket is not a beginners cut. It takes time and is quite easy to dry out. So to find a place that knows how to make good brisket is great. NMBBQ does it right. I ordered it sandwich style and it was excellent plain. No sauce or slaw required. It was as juicy as brisket will be, smoky, meaty and with just the right amount of the salty rub. One of the best things I had here.
Not to be out done by the brisket is the Turkey Breast. Again, not an easy cut for novices as it too is easy to dry out. Again not so here. This is moist and as flavourful a piece of breast meat I've had. Nicely smoked and served up in slices. No need for the White Sauce on this and in fact, it detracted. It's not that the sauce wasn't good, it was fine, it's just that it covered up the subtle turkey flavour.
The ribs, served dry, are pretty much perfect. Smoky, meaty, juicy and the right amount of chew. They yielded the bone when tugged on just as they should be. I can’t say these are the best ribs I’ve had however they were more than satisfactory.
There are a few options for dessert but I couldn't resist the Peanut Butter Pie. Peanut butter flake (like what's in a Crispy Crunch) topped with custard and meringue, crumble. It's baked into a standard pie shell and is absolutely fantastic. I hemmed and hawed about but in the end, I made a great choice.
So there you have it folks, one of the best examples of North/Central Alabama BBQ in a quiet little historic town.
You can find New Market BBQ at 5601 Winchester Rd, New Market, Al.
You can also find them on the web, facebook and Twitter.
Well that's all for now folks, see ya later in the food court.