(Video) 10-year-old BBQ prodigy proclaims Alabama’s Dreamland the best in the world
(Video above: Sloan Finger talks about “real barbecue”)
Sloan Finger, a 4th grader at Hawks Rise Elementary in Tallahassee, Fla., knows pretty much everything there is to know about barbecue. In fact, he knows so much he won an award at Florida’s Tropicana Public Speaking Contest for a brilliant speech titled, “Real Barbecue: An Elusive Meat.”
“If I asked, ‘Want some barbecue?’ Would you say, ‘sure, or ‘no thanks’?” Finger asked his audience rhetorically. “If the answer is ‘no,’ I would speculate that you have not had real barbecue. Why? Because if you have had it you couldn’t say no. The problem is, real barbecue is elusive. Some people believe that if you take a piece of meat or a certain vegetable and put it on the grill, it’s barbecue. Other people believe that by simply adding barbecue sauce to top of a meat it makes it barbecue. Even at my old school they made Sloppy Joe’s and called them ‘barbecue sandwiches.’ Unfortunately, some kids believed them.”
So what constitutes “real” barbecue?
“Real barbecue is slowly cooked by the smoke rising from a bed of smoldering coals in the bottom of a pit,” Finger explained, “or it can be cooked by the smoke of a wood fire box being circulated into an enclosed smoking chamber, which is often mistaken for a grill. As the saying goes, smoke it low and slow.”
But the best part of Finger’s remarks from our perspective actually took place during a brief Q&A time after his speech. When asked where one could find this elusive “real” barbecue, he didn’t hesitate.
“I’d say it’s at a restaurant called Dreamland. They started out with just ribs, sweet tea and white bread.”
Dreamland, of course, is the iconic Alabama rib joint started by John “Big Daddy” Bishop in 1958. The first restaurant opened in Tuscaloosa, but Dreamland can now be found in Huntsville, Northport, Roswell, Birmingham, Mobile and Montgomery as well.
Alabama as a state is well known for its barbecue. And coincidentally, 2015 just happens to be The Alabama Tourism Department’s Year of Alabama Barbecue.
If they’re looking for a spokesman, 10-year-old Sloan Finger might just fit the bill.
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— Cliff Sims (@Cliff_Sims) December 3, 2014