Pat James’ Full Moon Bar-B-Que
525 25th Street South
OK, first of all, love the food, hate the name. (This is like love the sinner, hate the sin.) It’s barbecue. Barbecue. Barbecue. A long time ago, people decided to abbreviate it “Bar-B-Q”, and then “BBQ” to save space on signs (and money, since sign-makers sometimes charged per letter). The “Q” stood for the “cue” in “barbecue,” since the name of the letter “Q” sounds exactly like “cue”. Get it? Good. Bar-B-Que makes absolutely no sense. Neither does “barbeque”. Both would have to be pronounced “bar-be-kweh”, or “bar-be-kwee”, although I guess the second one (“barbeque”) could be pronounced “bar-BECK” if you’re French. It’s barbecue, folks. Barbecue. I wish someone had told Pat James this.
But anyway, as I said, love the food, hate the name. And Pat James’ food is truly something to love. Their pulled pork is delicious, as are the smoked chicken and other meats on the menu. Pat James’ pulled pork sandwiches are distinctive in that they are served with a spicy, homemade chow-chow on them (you can ask for it on the side, but why would you?). A lot of barbecue places in the South serve pulled pork sandwiches with cole slaw on them, but Pat James’ is the only one I know of to use chow-chow instead, and it is so good!
Now, while we may speak of Johnny Ray’s and Demitri’s delicious pies, at Pat James’ the dessert sine qua non is the Half Moon Cookie. Why, you may ask, is the establishment called “Full Moon Bar-B-Que” (it pains me to write it that way, but what can I do? That’s the name of the place! I’m just glad they don’t have “shave ice” on the menu. Aaaugh!) but the signature dessert is a “Half Moon Cookie”? Why not a Full Moon Cookie? I’ll tell you.
The Half Moon Cookie, first of all, is not a Moon Pie (although Moon Pie is a true Southern delicacy, origninating in Chattanooga). The Half Moon Cookie is a wonderful, large, homemade chocolate chip cookie that has been halfway dipped in chocolate, thus resembling a half moon. If possible, save room for one of these delights if you eat there. But good luck. The best I’ve ever been able to do is to purchase a Half Moon Cookie to go and eat it later. Much later.
Congratulations, Pat James’ Full Moon Bar-B-Que (Aaugh! I had to type it again!). You are Know Tea’s B’ham Barbecue (barbecue, BARBECUE) Establishment du jour.