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Decatur is Positively the BEST Barbecue City in Alabama!

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“It’s the community that has made Big Bob Gibson” – Chris Lilly

It’s no wonder that Decatur was recently named the #1 barbecue city in Alabama with local legends like Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q at the table. Widely recognized for its smoked meats and famous white sauce, Big Bob’s has been a local staple for nearly 100 years.

The legend began in 1925 in a barbecue pit hand-dug by railroad worker and weekend pitmaster Robert Lee “Big Bob” Gibson.

“He figured out pretty quick that he loved barbecue better than the railroad,” explains Chris Lilly, Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q executive chef. Five generations and a second location later, barbecue is still the burning life passion of the Gibson family with their restaurants rooted in Decatur, where it all began.

Lilly’s wife is Big Bob’s great-granddaughter. Their sons, Andrew and Jacob, run the two restaurants. Their children, while still young, will be the next generation to keep the pit burning. What’s their secret to success?

According to Andrew, it’s the community.

“We have a lot of employees that have been with us 30 plus years. We have a lot of customers who have also been coming here that long. It’s become an extended family.” Added Jacob, “We’re coming up on 100 years. You don’t really see that in today’s age. That wouldn’t be happening if it wasn’t for the community here in Decatur.”

Not only has Big Bob’s helped Decatur earn top-hog in the BBQ world, but they recently brought home a coveted prize of their own from the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest in Memphis – 2024 Pork Shoulder Champion. The award will be added to the others they have collected over the years that fill the entryway at their 6th Avenue location.

With all that success, what does the future look like for Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q? For starters, a 100-year anniversary celebration and an induction into the national American Royal Barbecue Hall of Fame. More great meats, sauces, pies, and championships are also a good bet. But one thing will always hold true: world-class barbecue and a community that makes it special, right here in Decatur, Alabama.

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