A recent trip to Tuscaloosa Alabama brough us within close proximity to one of the south’s most renowned bbq joints: Dreamland BBQ. It was gameday in Tuscaloosa which means Dreamland’s rib are in high demand. Legend has it that the line regularly stretches into the street and folks have waited upwards of 4 hours to get in on gameday. Luckily it was early season non-SEC game and we arrived around 11:30am so we were able to be seated promptly.
Right off the bat, this place had the feel of a serious BBQ joint. The immediate smoke smell as soon as you step out of the car, paper towel rolls on the tables… They even provide bibs to prevent their famous sauce from getting on your clothes (I still managed to get messy). The walls are adorned with sports memorabilia and old licence plates. The main room was fairly small and we were placed into a side room with looked like it was added to the original building to accommodate more people.
We were immediately served with white bread w/ bbq sauce. Ok, apparently this is a thing in a lot of bbq restaurants, but not something I’m used to seeing. Some people enjoy dipping the bread into the sauce for an appetizer but for me it came in handy after the meal to sop up the sauce. Ahhh, now I see what they’re getting at! I probably would’ve been eating some bread and sauce had I not just eaten a massive chicken biscuit from Hardee’s, not knowing that I would be at Dreamland like an hour later.
Our party of 7 ordered 2 racks of ribs and 2 pints of cole slaw which is actually a large portion of their limited menu options. They only offer ribs, sausage, 3 sides, and dessert at the Tuscaloosa location. I was very impressed at how quickly the food arrived. I guess we missed the rush because I was expecting the place to be packed with a long wait for food. After it all arrived, we dug in.
The sauce was great: it was very tangy, slightly sweet and a perfect consistency. It also had a strong smoke flavor (my nose had become accustomed to the smoke by now). The ribs were excellent. I’ll say that I VERY rarely eat ribs but I do really enjoy them. I don’t have much to compare these to, but these seem like top-tier ribs. They were extremely tender and easy to clean the bone. The outside bark was just slightly crispy which added great texture to the meat. There was so much meat on some of them… I was done after about 4 ribs when the meat sweats hit. The sauce complimented them very well offering a tangy, smoky flavor. The cole slaw accompanied the meal very well, adding a cool, smooth flavor to contrast the tangy sauce. You gotta have your slaw with barbecue.
It was at this point that I utilized a slice of white bread for soaking up some sauce. It surely did the trick, but by now I was so full and ready for hibernation, I didn’t want to think about eating anymore. This was definitely a unique and delicious barbecue experience for me. I’m glad I got to have some ribs because I’m used to mainly chopped pork bbq in NC. This has to rank as one of my favorite bbq experiences of all time and I’d highly recommend checking out Dreamland BBQ if you get a chance. Go early!
Restaurant: Dreamland BBQ
Location: 5535 15th Ave E, Tuscaloosa, AL 35405
Overall Rating: 5/5