Andy Staples knows his college football, and the food in college football towns.
And we’re not just saying that because he picked Alabama has the best in the country when it comes to cuisine in those college football towns either.
In a new article for The Athletic called “The Meatiest Top 25: College football teams ranked by nearby cuisine,” Staples ranks Alabama first overall thanks exclusively to the ribs you all know and love from legendary staple Archibald’s Bar B.Q.
“There might be a sentimental tinge to Alabama’s placement here because Archibald’s BBQ in Northport, Ala., was the first true restaurant secret I learned during my travels for work,” Staples writes in his entry naming Bama the college cuisine national champs.
Staples suggests the locals like to keep Archibald’s a secret, but it seems just about everyone’s in on it now, precisely for the reasons he writes.
“Archibald’s makes perfect ribs, every time,” Staples continues. “They’re smoky and juicy and need none of the thin sauce that serves better as a dipping pool for the slices of white bread that accompany each rack. Archibald’s doesn’t have bad days. When Archibald’s runs out of ribs, you come back in a few hours and hope they’ve made some more. If they don’t, you try again tomorrow.”
He notes the friendly rivalry between Archibald’s and fellow iconic rib joint Dreamland Bar-B-Que, but insists there is no competition. Those of us born and raised here have plenty of love for both.
And don’t worry, Auburn fans. You weren’t left out. Currently a top 10 team in college football, the Tigers earned the 22nd spot on Staples list, highlighting farm-to-table favorite Acre’s rib-eye cooked in bacon fat and the soft-shell crab, plus Mama Sue’s Pepper Jelly and bacon flight at The Hound.
“For the longest time, Auburn was a pretty boring place to eat,” Staples writes. But in the past 10 years, several great spots have popped up.”
Read the entire top 25. Note: You need a subscription to read The Athletic’s content.
This also isn’t the first time Staples has singled out Archibald’s as the best college town meal in America.