Tourism highlights state’s barbecue heritage

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, January 1, 2013

On the heels of the ‘Year of Alabama Foods,’ the Alabama Tourism Department will ask Alabama barbecue fans to vote for their favorite restaurants and experts to name the best barbecue sauce in 2013.

Fans will vote for their favorite barbecue restaurants but a separate contest will be held to find the best barbecue sauce in the state.

A panel of local judges will select the winning barbecue sauce from each region of the state in the Alabama BBQ Sauce-Off. The regional winners will compete in the finals at Pepper Place Saturday Market on May 18 in Birmingham.

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“Food is popular with everyone and it has been one of our most successful campaigns,” said Lee Sentell, state tourism director. “We will continue to highlight our great restaurants and award-winning chefs but this year we are also going to put a spotlight on our barbecue heritage.”

In conjunction with the barbecue competitions, the tourism department will hold its second annual Alabama Restaurant Week Aug. 16-25.

During that time, locally owned and operated restaurants will showcase their dishes by offering meals at a discount.

During the 2012 restaurant week, more than 230 restaurants participated.

Several restaurants in Pike County have received statewide recognition from the Alabama Tourism Department, including Crowe’s Chicken on Highway 231 in Troy, Sisters Restaurant in Troy, Mossy Grove Schoolhouse Restaurant in Troy and Sit ’N Sip in Brundidge.

Many of these restaurants are featured in the tourism department’s new book, “Alabama Food” that features chapters on the unique restaurants in each region of the state. The book is available at Books-A-Million stores across the state

The Alabama Tourism Department will also highlight many of the 375 annual food festivals and events hosted by cities and towns across the state.

Brundidge is the home of the annual Peanut Butter Festival, which celebrates the town’s proud heritage in the peanut butter industry. The Peanut Butter Festival will celebrate its 22-year in 2013. The festival has been featured nationally on the Food Television Network.