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Pigskin All Sports BBQ brings flavor and fun to the Hartselle area

By Constance Smith

At the corner of Nance Ford Road and Highway 31 South in Hartselle, there’s an eye-catching metal pig. That pig stands to welcome visitors to the Pigskin All Sports BBQ restaurant.

Nikki Echols, her sister Mandi George and Wendy Buckelew are the owners and masterminds behind the restaurant. Echols and George have a long family history in the BBQ business: Their grandparents started a restaurant in 1988, and their father, Jackie Burgess, worked for them.

After Echols and George’s grandparents’ restaurant closed, the three women decided to pick up the barbecue torch, opening their own restaurant in 2015. Now a third generation has made barbecue their dream.

The Pigskin All Sports BBQ restaurant has been a Hartselle Enquirer Readers’ Choice “Best of the Best” award recipient for several categories, to include the “best Brunswick stew” in the Tennessee Valley.

Delicious days at the restaurant start early. Buckelew comes in at 2:30 a.m. to get the day’s fresh food going. Whether it is pork, turkey, chicken or ribs, there’s a lot to be prepped and cooked every day before the restaurant opens. Fridays, in addition to the barbecue, they offer catfish plates with all the fixings and delicious fried pies.

Echols and Buckelew both agree the pork sandwiches are their favorite menu items. George goes for the BBQ Melts, which are barbecue sandwiches on panini bread, toasted with melty cheese.

The women said popular dishes include the barbecue salads and the barbecue baked potatoes. Buckelew said they bake an average of 160 pounds of potatoes every day for that menu item.

Then there are the desserts. As diners walk up to the counter, they can’t miss the display case filled with beautiful pies – created from “secret family recipes” that have been passed down from Echols and George’s Mamaw. Echols is the official dessert maker for the restaurant, and she jokes that if something happened to her, there would not be any more desserts. She shares the recipes with no one. Visitors will find a wide variety of the pies available, from chocolate or lemon ice box to peanut butter, cheesecake and more.

Pigskin All Sports BBQ offers something else that is rather unusual. When Thanksgiving rolls around, the restaurant expands its services to include smoking customers’ turkey for them. Pigskin BBQ has to limit the number, but the women take sign-ups as the holiday season nears. Contact the restaurant for more information.

In addition to providing a great variety of dishes for patrons, Pigskin All Sports BBQ also serves as a drop-off location for Feeding Families of Alabama, a local charity that helps to provide food for the community.

Pigskin All Sports BBQ is offering carry out and drive-through service. Stop by for a quick lunch or complete family supper. The restaurant is located at 400 Nance Ford Road in Hartselle.

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