The best way to find a good local restaurant is to ask the locals, "Where is the best place to eat around here?" or "What is your favorite restaurant 'round these parts?" Or "I need GOOD grub...point me in the right direction." Which is just what the folks at a local grocery store in Fort Payne did when the Clematis Club Ladies needed good grub, that was "home cooked" not anything you would find in a "chain" restaurant.
The sacker of Foodland steered us in the direction of Hammondville, Alabama, due north of Fort Payne, Alabama. Just as the grocery sacker had told, Big Jim's Bamaque sat at a crossroads of an intersection. As we would soon find out, though, there is no mistaking the taste and quality of the authentic home cooked food served inside.
Owner, Big Jim, is a personable man. He will make suggestions to the day's fresh vegetable selection. He will explain the difference in what makes his homemade ranch dressing unlike any other you have ever tasted. He will promise you that his barbeque sauce doesn't make the ribs and BBQ , that they can stand alone but the sauce takes his smoked meats to a whole new level. And Big Jim, with his ear to ear grin will also lead you to temptation with his homemade multilayered cakes that sit lustfully under a glass cake dome, begging to be tasted.
The cakes are huge; four layers to be exact. Only the best ingredients are used --the way Mom used to make them.With popular flavors like Red Velvet, Death by Chocolate, German Chocolate, Blueberry-Orange, Coconut, Oreo, and Carrot Cake, you might be best to reserve your slice of cake prior to placing your BBQ order. You can also purchase an entire cake, should you really worry about being short changed by other patrons who might become tempted and in need of being "saved".
Big Jim's is a family run restaurant. You will find his daughter waiting tables as well as running the cash register. His son cooks up much of the food, making sure it is up to his Dad's code of quality and taste.
And lets just talk about taste and quality. Big Jim's motto is "Ain't No Smoke, Ain't No Barbeque", and behind the small former convenience store you will visually see a small trail of smoke permeating the air, a literal smoke signal to bring in it's customers. The smoke signals promise tender, perfectly smoked meats.
Inside customers will find an extensive menu with smoked meats and fresh vegetables. As well as southern fried delicacies.
My friend "High Mae" made the decision to try the homemade fried pickles. Good choice. It was agreed by our group to be some of the best we have ever had. Served with the aforementioned ranch dressing, like the homemade cake, it will require trip to the confessional. They're that good.
We found ourselves like all of the other customers sitting inside the little brock building at a crossroads....we found ourselves happy customers. Fulfilled Customers. Customers who will plan to return one day to their true love of BBQ. Doubtful? Allow these "customers" to explain the best way that they can....with their smiles:
Before leaving, we (The Clematis Club) made our mark on the place by signing the wall and we also made a promise to one day return. ROAD TRIP!
Big Jim's Bama Que
10339 Al. Hwy. 117 Hammondville, Alabama 35989
Come see us and always remember: Ain't No Smoke, Ain't No Barbeque
For more on the Clematis Club Trip to Mentone, Alabama visit my blog, Tales from Bloggeritaville. Click here for all of the post that ran about Mentone.