On The Road

Photograph by Eileen Schwartz

PITMASTER We weren't even thinking about barbecue when we drove through Huntsville on a recent trip. But a whiff of smoke from Miss Charlotte's Ribs and Thangs brought us to a screeching halt. Co-owner Vincent Williams immediately charmed us with his smile and hospitality and impressed us with his culinary skill, as evidenced in meaty pork spareribs, beef brisket, pork shoulder, smoked sausage, boudin, and chicken—all doused in a killer sauce. Williams and his sister Charlotte Ford opened for business in October 1997 with nothing but a trailer pit, one outside table, and a shared love of cooking. With the planned addition of a new building, Miss Charlotte's will be able to seat forty diners, inside and at shaded tables outdoors. The secret to the 'cue here is the well-seasoned pit, the red and white oak Williams uses to smoke the meats, and the unique sweet-and-spicy sauce. "I like to try to make the flavor different from what people might be used to," says Williams. "We want people to want our barbecue, not just barbecue."

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