Eight miles from Birmingham there is a place. It’s not a fancy place. The walls are adorned with old license plates and images of happy, plump swine. The booths are well-worn and the tables are stocked with all the appropriate condiments for a casual feast. Hungry mouths pass in and out of this Leeds locale, some stopping in for a quick lunch and others lingering for a lazy afternoon of some ole’ fashioned small-town conversation.
My friends, have you been to Rusty’s Bar-B-Q?
We recently stopped in, with one thing in mind: Ribs. We placed our order and found a seat. And I started to plan my sauce strategy.
You see, at Rusty’s, there are two things that you need to pay close attention to. First, there are the homemade sauces. Choose from the house, sweet, spicy, and white sauce. (No, you won’t find any Carolina mustard sauce here.) Owner Rusty Tucker has developed his own recipes for these finger-lickin’ sauces and they are, without question, a highlight of the experience. I’m campaigning that he start bottling and selling this stuff. And if not, then just a small delivery to my house every few months would suffice.
The other specialty at Rusty’s BBQ is dessert. Pie, to be more specific. Family recipes and a few newer creations fill up the cooler that greets you upon walking in, and you better save room for a slice of key lime…or peanut butter… Or maybe you want to try the Gooey Cake. Just have something sweet, and feel no shame as you loosen your belt.
Rusty and his wife carry culinary degrees, both graduates of Johnson & Wales University. He tends to the pit, and she makes sure the pie cooler is well-stocked. They serve seven days a week and no matter when you go, you’re bound to meet another Tucker. This business, it’s a family affair.
Rusty says that, although it’s a barbecue joint, they sell the heck out of their grilled-to-order hamburgers. If I can ever get my mind off the ribs and the pulled pork sandwich, perhaps I’ll give one a try. But I don’t see that happening any time soon…
If you’re hungry, swing by and pick me up. I know the way to Rusty’s, and I’m always in the mood.