More than 35,000 fans of Alabama BBQ have voted over the last two weeks in the Alabama Tourism Department’s Facebook contest to name the favorite BBQ restaurant in the state. The contest’s original 32 restaurants have been narrowed down to 16 in increasingly tight voting. Restaurants competing in the “Sweet 16” round of voting from the North and Central region of the state include: Big Bob Gibson in Decatur, New Market BBQ in New Market, LawLers in Athens, Bunyan’s BBQ in Florence, Jim ‘N Nick’s in Birmingham, Full Moon in Birmingham, Dreamland in Tuscaloosa, Rusty’s BBQ in Leeds. Restaurants competing in the South and Gulf Coast region of the state include: Mike & Ed’s in Auburn, Lannie’s BBQ in Selma, Sam’s BBQ in Montgomery, Byron’s Smokehouse in Auburn, The Brick Pit in Mobile, L.A. BBQ in Summerdale, Down South in Foley and The Shed in Mobile. Votes can be cast in this round by going to Facebook.com/AlabamaFood. The restaurants with the most votes will progress to the Elite Eight and then the Final Four. Results from this round will be posted on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. on the Alabama Food Facebook page. Results from the Elite Eight round will be posted Saturday at 4:00 p.m. Results from the Final Four round will be posted Thursday, April 4 at 2:00 p.m.
The winning restaurant will be named “The Year of Alabama Food Ultimate Barbecue Champion” on Monday, Apr. 8 – the same day as the NCAA’s Men’s Division I Basketball Championship. The winning restaurant will receive a trophy and more importantly bragging rights. “The contest is a play on basketball’s March Madness,” said Year of Alabama Food coordinator Brian Jones. “Barbeque is a passion in the state and this has really brought out the regional and local rivalries. We started by asking our Year of Alabama Food Facebook page fans to name their favorite BBQ restaurant. Then we took the 32 most suggested restaurants and divided them into four different geographic regions and matched them up into different voting brackets.” You can learn more about Alabama culinary destinations and events at www.yearofalabamafood.com.