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Must-Try Alabama Food | 10 Best Alabama Dishes

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College football, barbecue, and head cheese might all come to mind when thinking about Alabama, but there’s more to the taste of this southern state than those things.

Alabama has a deep and rich culinary scene that is worth exploring. I highly recommend visiting if for no other reason just to try Alabama food!

Feasts are a semi-sacred part of life in a state known for its rich farmland and game hunting, as well as its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico.

Alabama’s culinary scene is diverse, offering options for every budget and taste, from fine dining to food trucks, popsicle stands, and neighborhood pubs. 

If you’re looking for traditional southern dishes like chicken and waffles, barbecue drenched in the state’s famed white sauce, childhood favorites like corn dogs and ice pops, Vietnamese pho or other global flavors – Alabama has it all.

Not only will you eat your way through a whole range of delicious dishes, but you will also learn a whole lot of history along the way. 

So if you decide to visit, here are a few… Scratch that, make that ten dishes to try there.

Visiting other destinations in Alabama? Check out our other guides:

Must-Try Alabama Food

Corn Dog

If you’re like me, your mind went straight to carnivals and fairs when you saw the title. Nobody can argue that a hot dog, stuck on a stick, batter-coated and fried to perfection isn’t genuinely delicious.

The Alabama hot dog is a classic menu item. One bite and you’ll discover why the traditional, deep-fried corn dog has been a beloved summertime treat in America for generations: crisp and juicy on the outside, hot and juicy on the inside, meat hot dogs wrapped in homemade beer batter, served with sides of freshly made yellow mustard and spicy chipotle ketchup. 

Now, that’s a corn dog.

Alabama Food: Corn Dog

It’s even better after several beers, when the promise of that long-awaited trip to the county fair gets all your taste buds jumping around!

Alabama Barbecue

Alabama has some of the country’s tastiest barbecue, simmering in a sauce that will make your mouth water. 

In Alabama, you can find all sorts of BBQ dishes. There are plenty of great BBQ restaurants for those who want a convenient meal, but you can even find BBQ fast-food restaurants for those who fancy a late-night snack or a light lunch.

But we can’t talk about Alabama barbeque without mentioning the barbeque sauce! For most folks, barbecue sauce is an essential part of the meal. And no state is more synonymous with sauce than Alabama. 

Alabama Food: Alabama Barbecue

Alabama barbecue sauces are practically a food group all by themselves. From white sauce to mustard-based sauces, Alabama rouses itself from slumber at mealtime, so everyone can get a spoonful of sweet, tangy flavors destined to put a smile on your face and leave it there for hours after you’re done with your meal.

Warm your soul with some of the best barbeques in the south when visiting this state!

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried green tomatoes may not be the first thing you think of when you think of Alabama cuisine, but they should be. They are the perfect southern delicacy. They’re crunchy, salty, slightly tart, and all-around good. 

They were made famous in the Oscar-nominated film Fried Green Tomatoes and prepared in pubs and family dinner tables across Alabama. These juicy morsels of vegetable goodness can be served as a meal or an appetizer.

Alabama Food: Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes, at their most classic, are simply sliced tomatoes dredged in cornmeal, egg, and buttermilk, then fried in a skillet in bacon grease. Once fried in the hot oil, they are drained on a brown paper bag before being sprinkled with salt or topped with mayonnaise. The result is a dish that is crisp on the outside but juicy and just slightly tart when you bite into it.

I had my first taste of fried green tomatoes, and the experience was equally thrilling and terrifying. Thrilling because fried green tomatoes are especially good. Terrifying because I didn’t think they could ever make anything so delicious!

Tomato Pie

Tomato pie is a food of the south, and it is a delightful blend of flavors. It can be found in restaurants and small diners throughout the state.

The heart of this dish consists of tomatoes, bacon, and basil, but the sauce on top makes it unique. Just before the pie goes into the oven, the mixture of salt, pepper, green onions, mayonnaise, and cheese is added. I can understand why it tastes so good.

Alabama Food: Tomato Pie

The dish is humble, and it consists mainly of what can be found in your garden or pantry. The simplicity is one of the draws of the dish. The tangy sauce and melted cheese made my taste buds dance with joy. There is nothing quite like it. 

Goat Cheese

It’s only been a few years since Alabama became home to a goat cheese creamery, but the fresh label has already made quite an impact on the state. If you are looking for the highest quality goat milk cheese, Belle Chevre is the only name you need to know!

Alabama Food: Goat Cheese

If you’ve never tasted goat cheese, you’re in for a flavor treat. Goat cheese producer Belle Chevre in Elkmont takes special care in crafting their cheeses. 

This creamy, soft cheese is high in protein and slightly tangier than cheese made from cow’s milk, which has made it popular among local chefs. Additionally to plain cheese, the creamery also makes spreadable cheese, cheesecakes, and body products.

Make sure to get a taste of the best goat cheese when visiting Alabama!

Chicken and White Sauce

As I said, in Alabama, barbecue is a religion. And that religion’s best expression – the holy grail, if you will – is actually in white barbecue sauce.

Serving white sauce on chicken is a signature of Alabama, and any restaurant expecting to make a living catering to the state’s residents will keep a bottle or two on hand at all times.

Alabama Food: Chicken and White Sauce

White sauce is a favorite in the state, and it goes by a couple of names. In the northern part of the state, it’s called mayonnaise sauce, but it’s most commonly referred to as barbecue sauce to everyone from Birmingham down to Mobile.

It’s served almost always over chicken, but may also be used as a dipping sauce or spread for white bread. For a good white sauce, unsalted butter is essential, as is fresh lemon juice.

Even though it is most commonly served with smoked chicken, it also goes well with ribs or pork chops. This mayonnaise-based white sauce is a unique innovation from Alabama!

Beef Fat Candle

One of Birmingham’s most dramatic and talked about dishes is the beef fat “candle.”  

The candle is made from slivered tallow and comes fully lit and infused with sofrito, a mixture of onions, saffron, bell peppers, and cooked tomatoes. Melt the candle and combine with the sofrito. Spread on slices of crisp grilled bread and enjoy all the flavor.

This is an item you will definitely want to experience at least once, so if you’re going to try something different, go ahead and order it!

Fried Pork Skins

Whether you’re a native or a travel-hungry foodie, you’ll want to sample the richly seasoned pork skins. All over the world, it’s common to find different dishes made of pork skins. But in the south, they do pork skin differently. The south has perfected pork skin, forming it into light, crispy, almost fluffy nuggets of amazingness. 

Alabama Food: Fried Pork Skins

An Alabama classic, pork skins are crisp, fried to perfection, and loaded with salt. A bar snack that everyone enjoys can be ordered as a side or enjoyed with a dram of the finest whiskey you can find. They are great for dipping into salsa or guacamole.

These fried and tasty bits of fat and salt can be found at any dinner table in Alabama. 

Sweet Potato Fluff

The Alabama Sweet Potato Fluff is an iconic recipe with a southern touch. This last holiday dish combines the best parts of sweet potatoes with creamy fluff for a lighter, but still rich holiday treat.

The sweet potato is not only a staple of soul food; it’s also popular around the world as a healthy alternative to the white potato, and I’m all for eating good, healthy food.

Alabama Food: Sweet Potato Fluff

Alabama sweet potato fluff is a casserole-like side dish that combines whipped sweet potatoes, marshmallows, and nuts into a fluffy concoction.

The sweet potato fluff is absolutely delicious. A root vegetable is the center, but there’s some creaminess, some crunchiness, and some brown sugar. That’s pretty much all you need to make something soulful.

Orange Pineapple Ice Cream

Looking for something sweet? As the heat of summer settles in, what better way to cool off than with ice cream? 

Ice cream is serious business in Alabama. So if you’re hungry for the unique Alabama treat, then go ahead and order one of Florence’s most popular scoops, orange-pineapple ice cream.

Alabama Food: Orange Pineapple Ice Cream

They know how to make homemade ice cream with a distinct taste all their own. A creamy orange pop with small chunks of pineapple added for texture. The recipe for this unique ice cream has been attracting new customers for almost a century, so make sure you try it!

Summary Of The 10 Best Alabama Dishes

Alabama is at the heart of some of the best food in the USA – it’s an excellent place for a foodie road trip, or to stop and eat on your way when passing by. 

It can be hard to travel through Alabama without munching out on some of its classic southern recipes.

Alabama’s food is as diverse as its landscape. So if you’re coming to visit this America’s Deep South state, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to food and drink – and there’s plenty of history and culture to absorb, as well.

Hopefully, you will enjoy my pick of some of the classic Alabama dishes you should try while you’re here!

Now that you’ve learned about the food of Alabama let us know which dish you most want to try! Drop a line in the comments section below!

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