Fri 30 Dec 2005
Comments Off on THE BRICK PIT-MOBILE, AL.
THE BRICK PIT
5456 Old Shell Rd.
Mobile, AL 36608
Well Iâ€™m on the way to visit family in Pensacola, FL for the Christmas Holidays and thanks to the screwed up airlines I have to fly into Mobile, AL to get the best possible airfare. Now Mobile is only a little over one hour from Pensacola by car yet the good folks at Northwest Airlines want to charge me over $200.00 more to fly into Pensacola vs. Mobile. Doesnâ€™t make since to me. What it does allow me to do is to make a stop at a barbecue restaurant that Iâ€™ve heard about for several years and have wanted to check out.
I head out straight to The Brick Pit from the airport, not too long of a drive, and thanks to â€œMapquestâ€ directions Iâ€™m there pulling into the front parking area in a matter of a few minutes. Now let me say a couple of words about first impressions. The Brick Pit is not a fancy multi-unit franchise, cookie-cutter, prefab barbecue restaurant. No sir, The Bick Pit is located in what used to be a residential neighborhood. Most of the buildings in the immediate area are former homes that have now been converted into businesses. As you pull into the parking area you notice a beat up bullet style smoker next to the road with smoking bellowing out of the top vent. A welcomed sight to us bbqholics. As I make my way inside the front door several people are exiting carrying numerous boxes and bags with carryout meals. I enter the restaurant and Iâ€™m greeted with that heavenly scent of burning wood and smoked meat. I look around and quickly see the â€œorder hereâ€ window. The young lady behind the window is helpful answering my questions and I also view a menu. The menu is simple and straightforward. There are three meats offered here: Pulled Pork, Ribs and Chicken. You can order lunch size plates â€œBig portions served with Texas toastâ€ or Dinner â€œReal big portions served with Texas toastâ€ Side orders are Cole Slaw, Potato Salad and BBQ beans. Sandwiches are also available for Pulled Pork, Chicken and Sourdough Brick Bites in Pulled Pork and Chicken. Beverages offered are Iced Tea and Soft Drinks. The only dessert listed is Mrs. Waits Homemade Banana Pudding. And thatâ€™s it folks.
After I place my order I have some time to walk around and read the hand written comments left on the walls by visitors. There are numerous newspaper clippings and photos of the famous and not so famous. One area of particular interest is the â€˜Alabama Wallâ€ with comments left by former University of Alabama sports stars. Iâ€™m sure there was one for the Auburn folks, but I didnâ€™t care. As Iâ€™m reading the comments Bill Armbrecht, owner of The Bick Pit, comes over and we start talking BAMA football. By that time my order comes out and I head to the nearest table. Bill joins me as Iâ€™m eating what has to be some of the best pulled pork barbecue Iâ€™ve ever tasted. Now thereâ€™s no fat in this meat just lean, flavorful, moist barbecue. The sauce is wonderful adding a nice tart/sweet tangy bite to the meat. I had ordered two sides of Cole Slaw and Baked Beans. The slaw was very good with a sweet mayonnaise base dressing. The baked beans did not stand out but hey; I didnâ€™t come here for baked beans. As Iâ€™m eating my meal Bill comes out with a huge monster rib on a sheet of aluminum foil. Oh boy, my tongueâ€™s slapping my mouth in anticipation of what we are about to partake. The rib meat is perfectly cooked. A nice little pull, not fall off the bone tender. The flavor is outstanding, nice hint of smoke, not overpowering, just right. The smoke taste comes from a combination of Pecan and Hickory about Â¾ Pecan to Â¼ Hickory.
Now Bill and I strike up a conversation about barbecuing and how he got into the barbecue business. Bill is a former Yacht Captain who grew up loving barbecue. Over the years he became an excellent backyard BBQâ€™er and became frustrated that there were no decent barbecue restaurants in the Mobile area. So Bill opened up The Brick Pit several years ago. Billâ€™s cooking methods are simple and basic. No rubs or seasonings are used on the meats. He wants the smoke to add the flavor to the meats. Ribs are smoked for 12 hours, pork butts for 30 hours, and chicken for 6-8 hours. With these long cooking times the balance of woods used has to be just right or the smoke flavor will be too harsh. This explains the Pecan to Hickory ratios mentioned above. The sauce is homemade and adds just the right complement to the ribs and pork. Bill shows me a photo of â€œBig Redâ€ his smoker. There are no ovens or fryers used at The Brick Pit. All of the cooking is done on Big Red, sauces, beans etc.
Bill does not compete on the BBQ Circuit, probably a good thing for all the other competitors. He says he just doesnâ€™t have enough time. He does like competition though. When a well-known Alabama barbecue restaurant opened a location in Mobile Bill quickly developed a sign to hang out in the front for passersby to see. â€œThis ainâ€™t no Dream, Just the real thingâ€. Well said.
I would highly recommend The Brick Pit to anyone who is looking for authentic Southern Barbecue cooked the old fashioned way. Itâ€™s at the top of my list.