Brenda’s BBQ And Pig Ears

We first visited Brenda’s BBQ in Montgomery last year — it was especially good to see they’re keeping more regional dishes, like camp stew, on the menu:

Brenda's BBQ, Montgomery AL

During the period when we were all being especially careful last year, we were grateful to be able to order at a walk-up window. There’s a pit house where the meats are smoked, then this service building.

They’ve been in business since 1942, founded by Jereline and Larry James Bethune. Their granddaughter, Donetta, runs it now. It’s the oldest barbeque restaurant in Montgomery and the 4th oldest in the state of Alabama.

Golden Rule, which opened in 1891, is considered the oldest barbecue restaurant in the state. Dobb’s (1910) in Dothan is next, then Big Bob’s (1925) in Decatur.

Brenda's BBQ, Montgomery AL

Here, a pic of Jereline in the Selma-to-Montgomery March. Jereline and others in the family were very involved in community matters and helped people with literacy, and getting out the word on events to organize furthering civil rights.

Brenda's BBQ, Montgomery AL

Another grandson of theirs runs Barbara Gail’s, a diner nearby.

More: Brenda’s was featured in this Washington Post story in 2016, in 2020, and a Montgomery Advertiser piece from 2015.

Brenda's BBQ, Montgomery AL

We got a pork bbq sandwich which was really heavy on the sauce — if you’re a sauce person (I like a lower sauce:meat ratio, so next time I’d ask them to hold back a little) this is right up your alley:

Pork Sandwich, Brenda's BBQ, Montgomery AL

Brenda’s also serves a pig ear sandwich, which aren’t too commonly found on menus. They’re at the Big Apple Inn in Jackson (the three big things to get there: the Red Rose Smoke sausage sandwich — a “smoke”, the pig ear sandwich, and the tamales).

Pig Ear Sandwich, Brenda's BBQ, Montgomery AL

Pig Ear Sandwich, Brenda's BBQ, Montgomery AL

They’re also served at the Nelson Brothers Cafe in Birmingham (btw Nelson Bros is the 6th-oldest restaurant in Bham), and I think I saw them on a menu at another place off Oporto-Madrid, but I’ll have to check to make sure. They’re at Promise Land BBQ in Woodstock AL. E&L in Jackson has them too.

The people at Brenda’s were so kind; I think next time we’ll maybe try the chicken sandwich and the ribs. It’s too hot now for camp stew, but this winter…

I was just emailed today (hi Emily!) about the Pomeroy Foundation’s ‘Hungry for History’ marker grant program, and I’ll likely be working on a couple of those shortly.

Later this summer, I plan on working on submitting for a state historical marker for a civil rights murder from 1963 in north Alabama — more on that soon.

Lots going on. xoxo!