Big Bob Gibson's (Decatur, AL)
Say what you will about BBG's sauce, rub, and merch bonanza, but Bob Gibson did the unimaginable: He created a barbecue empire out of smoked chicken and white sauce, and in doing so carved out a place for himself in Great American Barbecue history. Gibson's name is synonymous with Alabama white sauce, a concoction of mayo, cider vinegar, lemon, and black pepper, and if you think smoked chicken in white sauce is for girls in Sunday dresses, well, the joke's on you. Gibson's story parallels so many great barbecue men: With humble backyard beginnings, a devotion to the craft of 'cue, and a string of generations keeping the dream alive today, including three-time Memphis in May grand champion Chris Lilly -- aka Gibson's great-granddaughter's husband. The restaurants still use the same time-tested technique of cooking on hickory-fired brick pits that Gibson started his barbecue dynasty with in 1925.