Saw's Pork 'n Greens Over Grits

At the recently opened Saw's Soul Kitchen in Birmingham's Avondale area, one dish has been flying off the chalkboard--Chef Brandon Cain's smoked pork on greens over cheese grits, topped with a nest of fried onion rings. The succulent meat, crunchy onions, sweet-tangy sauce, perfectly cooked greens, and creamy grits is a stellar combination of tastes and textures that guests can't get enough of.

"Since we opened in March, it's sold like crazy," Chef Cain says. "It was going to be a special for only a day or so, but there's now way I could take it off the menu now."

The tiny establishment is an outpost of Saw's BBQ in nearby Homewood, renowned for owner Mike Wilson's superb barbecued pork, exceptional sauce, and simple, first-rate sides. Chef Cain has parted the smoke with fresh daily specials that range from the barbecue joint-friendly--sweet corn succotash or boiled peanut hummus, say--to fine dining territory--heirloom tomato salad with boiled peanut and lady pea relish, or fried okra with smoked tomato aïoli. All are served up at down-home prices, unapologetically plated on plastic foam meat trays, which lessens their deliciousness not one bit. It just means you'll have to be discreet when scraping up every last little bite. 215 41st. Street South, Birmingham; 205/591-1409

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