My love for barbeque is no secret. Though I might be partial to our local fixings, I can honestly say most of the barbeque I’ve experienced throughout Alabama and the South is both distinctive and delicious. Each region and territory has its own unique recipes and tastes. One of the most well-known barbeque establishments from our state is Jim ‘N Nick’s, founded in Birmingham in 1985 by father and son team, Jim and Nick Pihakis. The company is rooted in community (with claims that it is “the key ingredient in any good bar-b-q”) and their belief that good food brings people together. Each Jim ‘N Nick’s location is locally owned and operated, which encourages every restaurant to develop relationships within their respective communities and advance the company principles of education, health and wellness, and local farming.
I’ve known Nick Pihakis for several years now. He is one of the most generous folks I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting—always in good spirits (and never one to turn down a good bourbon libation). In fact, Nick and several other renowned Southern chefs, writers, and farmers formed the Fatback Collective while discussing barbeque competitions over glasses of bourbon. The Fatback Collective has participated in competition barbecue events, while keeping the focus on quality flavor and sustainable techniques; members include John T. Edge, Ashley Christensen, Angie Mosier, and John Currence. The collective, as well as Jim ‘N Nick’s establishments, all source their pork from the farms that are part of the Fatback Pig Project—a collaboration that supports pasture-raised, heritage breeds.
Alabama Chanin has collaborated with the Jim ‘N Nick’s team on several occasions, even barbequing an Alabama Chanin collection with Drew Robinson for an exhibit at the Southern Foodways Alliance’s 15th Annual Symposium: Punch, Pictures, and ‘Cue Couture; the company also pitched in with our Alabama Cotton initiative, catering and participating in our picking parties.
I’m looking forward to featuring recipes from Nick, chef Drew Robinson, and crew in our café during the month of October. The guys will also be a part of our fourth and final Friends of the Café dinner for 2014 on Friday, October 10. The event is a fundraiser for the Fatback Collective’s “Fatback Fund,” which supports community-focused and culturally rich businesses, organizations, and restaurants to recover from unexpected incidents and catastrophes.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit our online store or phone +1.256.760.1090. Limited seating available.