Pitmaster Arthur Green slowly opens the door to his wood-smoker inside the little house on Florida Street in Midtown Mobile where he has been smoking meats for the past two years. The heavenly smell of mesquite, hickory and pork fat wafts into the room and throughout all of Bay Barbeque, causing salivary glands to shift into overdrive. He deftly pulls out large slabs of baby-back ribs, one at a time. They are sliced and boxed for his eager customers, many of whom have called ahead to make sure he hasn’t run out.
“We smoke our meats daily,” he explains, “and it takes hours to do, so you can’t just make more if you have a busy day. We are open until we run out.”
While he insists it’s all about the protein, the sides are equally tempting and sometimes unexpected. Coleslaw and hoppin’ John were the first sides offered, while fried green tomatoes, pickled deviled eggs and more have since joined the roster. There’s no potato salad or baked beans here, (“I didn’t want to recreate what someone else was doing,” he confides) but the feel of the menu is truly Southern and perfectly divine.
Given the roadblocks Bay Barbeque has experienced since first opening its doors, however, there is no doubt Green was at times unsure if the customers would come at all. Just four months after this former developer and entrepreneur hung up his sign, the road construction on Florida Street began. Hungry clientele were practically unable to get to the restaurant, while all the businesses on the heavily-trafficked thoroughfare suffered through months of disruptions. “It was a dirt road out there with holes everywhere. We got down to selling just 15 lunch plates — on a good day.” As soon as the construction was completed, sales tripled as hungry businessfolk on their lunch breaks flocked in for the meaty fare. Then the pandemic added another hump in this roller coaster trajectory, undoubtedly testing Green’s resolve.
Nevertheless, Bay Barbeque has remained open through it all. Customers are making the most of the outdoor tables, and to-go orders are streaming in as Mobile hopefully rounds the final corner of a pandemic that has decimated the restaurant industry. Green, however, plans to be smoking on the other side.
On the Menu
The pitmaster dehydrates all his own spices to create the rub on these mild but tasty ribs, which are wood-smoked daily. Sliced onions and homemade sauce are served on the side.
Pickled Deviled Eggs
Not the egg from the church Easter egg hunt, these vinegary morsels are packed with tangy flavor and topped with a dash of dried dill.
Brisket with Espresso Sauce
Fall-apart tender beef brisket perfectly exemplifies the pitmasters mantra, “It’s all about the protein.” Addictive fried green tomatoes are served alongside.
Skins and Sauce
The one menu item not made from scratch, you can’t help but love a place that brings a pork rinds snack to your table while you wait for the main event.
Bay Barbeque • 59 N Florida Street • 408-9997 • baybarbeque.com
11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tu – Sa, or until they sell out