Okay, maybe it took nearly 13 hours to get home from North Carolina yesterday – yay, holiday travel! – and possibly my back is still molded into the shape of a 2005 Honda Accord passenger seat. But I can’t call the day a bust, because we stopped at Allman’s in Fredericksburg, Virginia and had what was possibly the best barbeque ever, with the exception of that made by my own dear, sweet husband.*

*Actually, for me it was a tie. Don’t tell him.

Located at the politically-correct address of 1299 Jefferson Davis Highway.

The tiny shack – maybe 20 indoor seats, plus 6 or 7 stools at the counter (the 50+ year old originals) and outdoor tables for nicer weather – is located right on Route 1 in downtown Fredericksburg. Reading the side of the napkin dispenser as I waited for my ‘que, I learned that there is now a DRIVE-THRU location in the parking lot of a Big Lots* on Route 3. Drive-up barbeque and deep discount off-brand shopping: Could there be a more winning combination? Maybe if there were also a freshly-made brownie drive-up in the same parking lot, but the chances of that are probably nil.**

We walked in, plunked down in the nearest chairs and glanced at the menu for all of 10 second before placing our order with the super-friendly server: Deluxe BBQ plate for Brian, Deluxe BBQ sandwich for me, both minced (the other option is sliced). Normally I’d have ordered ribs in order to test the true mettle of the ‘que joint, but this trip was riddled with enough unfortunate pork experiences and I wasn’t about to make myself the rib martyr again.

Allman’s also manages to look and feel the part of 55-year-old ‘que joint but without the attendant grime; surfaces were pleasantly non-sticky. The menu is what you see above. Each table comes equipped with napkins, a squeeze bottle of the house sauce, and a bottle of hot sauce with the original brand crossed out and “Texas Pete’s” scribbled over it. Bathrooms, which are never locked, are located outside and around back and somehow manage to remain clean and usable instead of turning into hobo meeting places. (Or, Fredericksburg has really clean hobos.) And Mary “Mom” Brown, who has been in the kitchen since 1961, heads up a mean pit.

*For the uninitiated: Big Lots is like the destitute man’s TJ Maxx.

**Note to someone: JUMP ON THIS IDEA.

Bonus: wonderful, crispy, fresh fried-to-order fries AND onion rings. Makes up for the lack of hushpuppies.

Do not be deceived by the obscuring properties of the french fries: this is an enormous pile of meat. In theory, the BBQ plate is a half-pound of meat, but both Brian and I (and the server, when pressed) agreed that this looked like way more. I’m fairly sure that a hungry Brian could (and has) easily put away half a pound of pork, and he was defeated barely halfway through this plate, even when our server tried to shame him into finishing. Combine the enormous mound of meat with at least two potatoes’ worth of fries, a bowl of slaw and a bun for sandwich-making, and there was no way this was all going down.

And he wanted to finish, he really did, because this is FUCKING AMAZING BARBEQUE. Barbeque the way it should be. Flavorful, tender, moist, Smithfield pork, flecked with smoky charry bits, and with a perfectly balanced vinegar sauce from Allman’s 100-year-old recipe – not too acid, not too sweet, not too spicy – alongside.

Pierce’s? What’s Pierce’s?

Possibly the king of sandwiches.

My sandwich, being made of the same meat, was also exemplary, especially after a liberal dousing of sauce. Since it was a more manageable size, I was able to wolf the whole thing, finish my fries and consume most of the onion rings before succumbing to a low-grade pork coma.

Both the sauce and slaw dressing are available to purchase, so we snagged a bottle of sauce to attempt a recreation; the sauce for purchase comes in the same nondescript plastic squeezy bottle, but with a hand-printed label taped to the front and a piece of plastic wrap between the bottle and lid to keep things from getting messy.

We WILL be back, and next time there WILL be ribs.

PORK REDEMPTION. I can’t declare it complete until I try their ribs, but we’re definitely 50% there. Thank you, Allman’s, thank you.

Allman’s Bar-B-Q
1299 Jeff Davis Highway

Fredericksburg, VA 22401

Phone: 540-373-9881

Fax : 540-373-9887

PS: NaBloPoMo: COMPLETE! I am a winner.