Jul 16 2012

First Take: Big Al’s BBQ in Raleigh

Front of Big Al's BBQ in Raleigh, Foodalicious Follies


Remember way back when, when Big Al’s worked out of a food truck?  I do, because my first meal with Big Al was during a downtown Raleigh food truck rally in City Center.  I ordered up a half-rack of ribs and quickly realized I had no interest in gnawing on my meat in the middle of the street.  So I walked back a mile and a half carrying a styrofoam container full of deliciousness.  Up on Fayetteville Street, across on Hillsborough, up West.  Eventually I made it home and had a great meal, what I’m willing to do for great ribs and brisket!  And that is exactly what Big Al’s dishes out.  His new storefront in N. Raleigh was a bit of a challenge, located way up on 401 in a new shopping plaza.  Spacious with lots of windows and sunlight, I headed over to the counter to grab my order of Al’s smoked meats.  Didn’t get to eat at the restaurant but it’s a comfortable looking space, casual and good for families.


Brisket plate at Big Al's BBQ in Raleigh, Foodalicious Follies


When I got home, I inventoried my meal and there was a LOT of food.  Full-rack of ribs, brisket, baked beans, corn bread, hush puppies, and cole slaw.  But eating barbeque isn’t a sprint, it’s a meaty marathon!  The star at Big Al’s as you can guess, is the smoked meats.  The ribs were tasty baby-back ribs with a nice smoke ring and dry-rub.  I added on my own Stubb’s BBQ sauce which made for a nice contrast.  The meat was tender and quite lean, Big Al’s uses quality meats.  The brisket was also very good with a bit of charred bits on the outside, lean and tasty on the inside.  The sides are where Big Al’s could use a bit of help.  Their hush-puppies are excellent, fried to a thick, crunchy crust but the rest of the sides were pretty average.  But hey, when the barbeque is this good, you can deal with less than perfect sides, right?  It’s a long haul up to Big Al’s for me but if I lived in the area, I’d probably come out for a visit once a month or so.  While it’s not cheap, he does an excellent job with his smoked meats.  I’ve just got my fingers crossed that they work a bit on the sides to make ‘em as good as the barbeque.


Rack of ribs at Big Al's, Foodalicious Follies


Big Al’s BBQ Restaurant
2920 Forestville Road, Suite 150
Raleigh, NC 27616

Menu at Big Al’s BBQ
Big Al’s on Facebook
Location on Google Maps
Big Al's BBQ on Urbanspoon

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