Exploring Dreamland BBQ: A Tuscaloosa Tradition of Hickory-Smoked Perfection and Alabama Pride Since 1958

Darley and CEO enjoying a meal at Dreamland BBQ
Darley and CEO Betsy McAtee enjoying a meal at Dreamland BBQ.

Legendary BBQ: Dreamland BBQ in Tuscaloosa: Podcast Episode + Travel Tips

Discover the fiery flavors of Tuscaloosa, Alabama as Darley visits two beloved BBQ spots helmed by inspiring women. In the first half of this episode, Darley explores the rich history and mouth-watering flavors of Dreamland BBQ in Tuscaloosa, sitting down with CEO Betsy McAtee at their original location. Join Darley in Tuscaloosa by listening to the podcast and reading her travel tips.


Podcast Episode: 

In the first half of this episode, we dive into the rich history and mouth-watering flavors of Dreamland BBQ, a Tuscaloosa institution since 1958. Darley steps into the one-story red building adorned with University of Alabama memorabilia, and sits down with Betsy McAtee, the CEO of Dreamland BBQ, at their original location in Jerusalem Heights. 

Betsy shares some insights behind their famous hickory-smoked ribs and tangy, vinegar-based BBQ sauce, explaining how the unique flavor profile sets them apart from the sweeter styles found elsewhere in Alabama. Betsy mentions that BBQ is a big hit in Alabama because of the fantastic weather, the love for Alabama football, and how locals enjoy outdoor activities—making it the perfect excuse for outdoor cooking!

Betsy talks about the tradition and passion that go into every plate of food. From ribs and macaroni and cheese to baked beans and coleslaw, each dish is a testament to Dreamland’s enduring legacy and commitment to quality. Darley tries the signature dish: ribs, coleslaw, mac and cheese, and a side of sweet tea. Betsy continues to share a bit of Dreamland’s history, emphasizing how the family-owned restaurant honors its roots while serving loyal fans from all over the world.

As the Dreamland BBQ goes, “Ain’t Nothing Like ‘Em Nowhere”!

Travel Facts and Tips:

  • Coach Bryant, the legendary former University of Alabama football coach, was a regular at Dreamland BBQ. He often sent people to pick up ribs for him, which significantly boosted the restaurant’s popularity. Moreover, broadcaster Keith Jackson contributed to Dreamland’s fame by mentioning the restaurant during a football broadcast. 
  • Northern Alabama BBQ is known for its white sauce and smoked chicken, while Southern Alabama BBQ is known for its sweeter flavor. 
  • Betsy loves Tuscaloosa for its great community. Not only is it home to the University of Alabama, but other large manufacturing businesses as well
  • Dreamland BBQ is centrally located on i20, so it’s the perfect pit stop if you are traveling between Mississippi to Georgia 
  • The ribs at Dreamland BBQ cook for 45 minutes, but it is well worth the wait
  • Dreamland BBQ’s version of chips and salsa is bread and Dreamland BBQ sauce
  • Dreamland BBQ sauce is shipped all around the world, so you can get a taste right in your own home!

Listen and subscribe to the “Travels with Darley” podcast on iHeart, Apple Podcasts, Amazon, Spotify, Podchaser, Podcast Addict, Jiosavvn, Castbox, Audible, and wherever you listen to your favorite podcast!

Learn more about Tuscaloosa attractions at VisitTuscaloosa.com