Jan 2011

Saw’s BBQ – Birmingham

Saw's BBQ - Birmingham

For our final restaurant outing of 2010, The Astronomer treated me to a meat fest of smoky proportions at Saw’s BBQ, a relative newcomer to the Birmingham barbecue scene. Joining us for the joyous occasion were select members of the Indian Springs School class of 2003.

Saw's BBQ - Birmingham

The man behind Saw’s BBQ is Mike Wilson, a North Carolina native with a diverse culinary background. After graduating from Johnson & Wales University in Colorado, he returned home to work for Dean & Deluca. He found himself in Birmingham a few years later after scoring a cheffing position in the test kitchen of Cooking Light magazine.

Saw's BBQ - Birmingham

Chef Wilson initially began experimenting with making sauces and smoking meat as a hobby. After sharing his North Carolina-inspired creations with coworkers at Cooking Light, word quickly spread throughout the local food community, and demand for his sauce and meats caught fire.

Opened in 2009, Saw’s BBQ is a tribute to the great North Carolina barbecue tradition that the chef grew up eating. By the way, “Saw” is an acronym for “Sorry Ass Wilson,” the chef’s not-so-pleasant high school nickname.

Saw's BBQ - Birmingham

The centerpiece at Saw’s BBQ is a classic North Carolina vinegar-based sauce. It’s a tangy little number with just a dash of sweet. Glugged atop smoked meats of all stripes, it brightens up the plate and rounds out the flavors.

Saw's BBQ - Birmingham

I’ve only visited a handful of the barbecue shacks in town [See: Jim ‘N Nick’s, Full Moon Bar-B-Que, and Miss Myra’s Pit Bar-B-Q], but Saw’s gets my vote for the best ambiance. I love eating in tightly packed quarters crammed with Crimson memorabilia and piggy paraphernalia.

Saw's BBQ - Birmingham

The Astronomer and I shared two “plates” this afternoon, both of which came with a meat of our choice and either two sides or one “baker.” For our first plate, we went with classic pork ribs ($10.95). The four ribs were a handful and a mouthful. It took some effort to extract every last meaty morsel from the bones, but the flavor of the pork was terrific. After I got down and dirty with the ribs, the soft slices of white bread soaked the sauce off my fingers nicely.

Saw's BBQ - Birmingham

Served with the ribs was a “baker,” a baked potato slathered with butter, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. It didn’t look very enticing, but damn, it was the best baked potato I’d ever encountered. The spud was downright silky and richly dressed.

Saw's BBQ - Birmingham

For our second plate, we chose pulled pork with macaroni and cheese and deviled eggs ($9.75). The pulled pork was served nearly dry, so we doused it in Saw Sauce as we saw fit. I like my meat on the wet side, so I went to town on the shredded pile of pig. The macaroni and cheese was of the mushy Southern variety, which is what I’ve come to expect and appreciate when dining in these here parts.  The deviled eggs were standard and satisfactory as well.

Saw's BBQ - Birmingham

For dessert, our party of six shared a light banana pudding made with an abundance of ripe bananas and Nilla Wafers.

Saw's BBQ - Birmingham

Before leaving the restaurant, we were asked to make our mark on its walls. While Sara drew a broken heart, I decided to take the opposite approach. I’m such a sap.

Saw’s BBQ
1008 Oxmoor Road
Birmingham, AL 35209
Phone: 205-879-1937

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12 thoughts on “Saw’s BBQ – Birmingham

  1. Fantastic post. Any ‘cue joint that is proud of its protein will give you bland white bread and serve the meat dry. They want you to taste it as it is. I enjoy sauce on my meat as well, but I like being able to control the amount when the meat is good.

  2. This is why I shouldn’t read your blog before dinner. It makes me pity whatever food I’m eating because it can’t be amazing barbeque. I WILL visit Mabel’s Barbeque this month. I will.

  3. That banana pudding looks strikingly similar to Magnolia’s version! I wonder if they use the Magnolia recipe… or something like it. Only a taste test will tell!

  4. Saw’s is some good Q, and being from B’ham, I am a Q expert!!!If you go, try the mac and cheese and greens… they match PERFECTLY with some of the most delicious barbecue I have ever tasted!!! Take your banana pudding home for a snack later, because you will be way too full to eat it there. But it is worth taking home!!!

  5. Guys, had the sampler BBQ plate a few weeks back on a trip to BM. Obviously I’m from out of town. Loved it, fantastic! Would you be willing to let me know whats in the rub on that chicken? Awesome flavor.

    Oh and your sauce was great to so I picked up a bottle. Next time im there ill grab a couple more!

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