Taste the Best of the USA – 10 Iconic Alabama Dishes
People all over the world, even those who have never been to Alabama, know it for the song “Sweet Home Alabama”. In the US, the first thing that comes to mind when the Cotton State is mentioned is college football and, of course, barbecue. Yes, barbecue is one of the top foods in Alabama but the Heart of Dixie has so much more to offer.
Nobody does barbecue better than Alabama! From smoked chicken soaked in a mayonnaise-based white sauce to pork shoulder with pecans, it is safe to say that barbecue is worshipped in the state of Alabama. There are hundreds of barbecue restaurants, most of which have been run for generations by the same family. In case you wondered which meat is most commonly grilled, the answer is pork.
#2 Banana Pudding
Banana pudding is considered a standard Southern dessert. If you ask Alabamians which banana pudding variety is the best, they’ll probably answer – homemade. However, many agree that the recipe created by the Sisters’ Restaurant’s in the 1990s is the best banana pudding to be found in a restaurant. This is probably due to the fact that the Sisters’ sticks to the traditional recipe: they use custard cooked in a double boiler instead of vanilla pudding and Nabisco wafers on top.
#3 Pecan Pie
When you’re craving pie, be it chocolate, apple, coconut, or lemon pie, Alabama has you covered. Pie is considered the ultimate comfort food, and pecan pie seems to be everyone’s favorite in the Cotton State. Rich, crunchy, and buttery, pecan pie is the most common holiday desserts choice in the South. Have a slice along with a warm cup of coffee. So good!
Grits are usually served with other flavorings as a savory breakfast dish or a dinner entrée. This simple and yet luxurious dish is comprised of a light, baked soufflé-like cake made of ground grits, egg, cheese, butter, and seasoned with white pepper. Grits is served in individual portions along with a rich sauce, topped with wild mushrooms, bacon, shrimp, or ham, then finally garnished with thyme.
#5 Fried Green Tomatoes
Fried green tomatoes are a delicious side dish but people in Alabama love it so much that they often order it as a main dish. Fresh, crunchy, salty, and somewhat tangy, slices of fried tomato coated with cornmeal are something Alabamians can’t get enough of. The book and movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” by Fannie Flag increased the dish’s popularity outside the South and today it is one of the first specialties visitors ask to sample when coming to Alabama.
It comes as no surprise that shrimp is so popular in Alabama, considering the state’s close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. This iconic food can be prepared in several ways – steamed, coated in batter or breading and fried, quickly grilled for a healthier bite, boiled with some salt, lemon juice, and seasoning…We think they taste the best when eaten at the beach!
#7 Orange Rolls
In Cullman, a small town in northern Alabama, there’s a famous chophouse called “All Steak” that’s been attracting people for more than 80 years. But the crowds are coming for something other than steak; they’re lured by the orange rolls. These sweet, sticky, buttery rolls topped with tart orange glaze are definitely worth a trip to the South!
#8 Sweet Potato Fluff
Sweet potatoes have been a staple Southern food long before they became popular for their health benefits. They are used instead of traditional fries in burgers, appear in casseroles served during holidays, and are even a part of romantic dinners. The sweet potato fluff has all the features Alabamians love in their food – it is light and yet rich & delicious.
#9 Fried Chicken
Moist meat and crisp breading with just a hint of seasoning – that is the formula for the most delicious fried chicken, prepared by the iconic Martin’s Restaurant. The dish has been named the best in the city by the local paper on several occasions. In addition to the usual breast, drumstick, and thigh combination, the venue also serves the ‘pulley bone’, a term used in the South to refer to the wishbone, often paired with corn muffins and Southern-style vegetables.
#10 Peach Cobbler
There are so many different types of fruit cobbler pies but if you’re looking for something that will warm your soul and comfort your heart, the old-fashioned peach cobbler is your best choice. Alabamians seem to hold peaches very close to their hearts and, besides the delicious peach cobbler, they also devour large amounts of peach ice cream during the summer.
Alabamians certainly know good food. What’s your favorite?