I’m not going to suggest that there’s a Fort Payne barbecue rivalry anywhere near as explosive as the one in Georgia between adherents of Fresh Air and fans of Old Clinton can get. However, anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that, for the last twenty years or so, you either go to Bar-B-Q Place, which we visited in 2011, or you go to Ol’ Tymer’s.
We left Scottsboro via the B.B. Comer Bridge, as seen in the previous chapter, and made the gorgeous climb up Sand Mountain on AL-35, with Guntersville Lake below us on the right, and a long line of impatient people in Ford F-150s behind us who didn’t have a lot of sympathy for our li’l green Mazda’s four cylinders on a steep slope. The road takes you first to the town of Section, where, sadly, we were never able to sample the said-to-be-wonderful hamburger at the Section Dairy Bar before it closed last year. Further on is Rainsville, and then a slope into the valley, where we hopped on I-59 for a short stretch, and then off to the northern end of Fort Payne.
Ol’ Tymer’s is another please-everybody barbecue joint with a pretty large menu of lots of things for those oddballs in your party who don’t want chopped pork, chicken, or ribs. I ordered a chopped pork plate with homemade chips and baked beans. Since Marie and the girlchild had lunch plans in Chattanooga, as we’ll see in the next chapter, that’s all that we sampled, and what we had was very good. I don’t know that I’d argue that it’s any better or worse than Bar-B-Q Place, both places make some perfectly good barbecue.
It’s smoked on-site in a little screened porch behind the building. The one sauce is a pretty thick, brown, tomato-based one. The meat is very smoky and full of flavor. The beans are made here, and are very savory. I love the taste of freshly-made baked beans, without any of the preservatives that you get in the canned version’s sauce. And while the chips might not have the awesome pedigree of the Jo-jos across town, they’re still really good. I could eat these often.
This might not be destination dining, but for anybody traveling between Birmingham and Chattanooga on I-59, this place is just a mile and change off the interstate and a good little stop. They have live music most evenings, and the food is good enough that if I were making the drive between cities after sunset, then I would definitely want to stop by to check that out.
You can see all the barbecue restaurants that we have visited for our blog (more than 280!) on this map, with links back to the original blog posts. It’s terrific for anybody planning a barbecue road trip through the southeast!