On any given day, the delicious aroma of pit-smoked barbecue wafts through the air at 2940 Veteran’s Drive in Scottsboro, tempting the tummies of hungry customers to turn in and have a taste.
Since November 1987, Triple R Barbecue has served up their tender and juicy signature dish, building a reputation for great food in a relaxed atmosphere.
Started by brothers Randy and Ralph Roberts, the early days of Triple R were not easy. It took effort on the part of everyone in the family to get the business and clientele established, but they did it.
“Everyone pitched in to build the original building,” said Randy’s wife, Loretta.
“Randy is the carpenter, and their dad helped with electricity and plumbing. I worked at Jacob’s Bank during the day, and here at night and on weekends.”
Ralph left his job to manage the restaurant full-time, and Randy worked weekends in addition to his regular job.
“We did that for about three years,” Loretta said. “Since we could only seat 12 people at a time, a lot of our business was to-go orders.”
In 1991, the Roberts family added the restaurant’s banquet room.
“Then Randy and Ralph purchased the log cabin of Pearl Lee Moody,” she said, “and disassembled the whole thing – chimney, fireplace and all, moved it here and reassembled it to make our dining room.”
The cabin was originally located in the community of Chicken Foot, located between Hollywood and Crowe Mountain.
“We put the windows in and I suggested we take pictures of scenes around Jackson County and put them behind the windows so it looks like you are looking outside,” she said.
The large corner booth in the restaurant is dedicated to Loretta’s father, ‘Uncle Josh’ Varner, a radio and television personality who talked about Triple R Barbecue everywhere he went.
“The name, ‘Triple R,’ stands for Randy, Ralph and their dad, Isaac Roberts,” Loretta said. “The big letter, ‘R,’ in the middle of the sign is for him. He gave us the money to start the business.”
The menu at Triple R includes pit-smoked barbecue, ribs, chicken, steaks and catfish.
The tender pork is pit-smoked for 12-14 hours and is served with traditional sides and Triple R’s own sauce.
“We have a vinegar based sauce,” she said, “and a special rib sauce that somehow picked up the name, ‘Rattlesnake Rib Sauce,’ years ago. I have no idea why, because it has nothing to do with Rattlesnakes, but people just love that sauce.”
The side choices are all homemade and include barbecue baked beans, sweet coleslaw or mustard slaw, golden brown hushpuppies by the basket full, and creamy Tartar sauce for the catfish.
“We only serve USDA, farm-raised catfish,” she said. “It’s hand-breaded and fried to a golden brown. The center is juicy, tender, and flaky just like it should be. It’s really good catfish and we sell a lot of it."
Besides the barbecue and catfish, Triple R is also known for their half-chicken plates.
“Our half chickens are pit smoked fresh,” she said. “They have a natural pink and white tint. Some places soak their chicken in chemical solutions to bleach them white. We don’t. That’s why they taste juicy and delicious.”
The steaks are also tender and juicy, cooked to order over an open flame.
Fresh garden vegetables on the salad bar and some of what customers say is the best homemade banana pudding in town start the meal and top it off so every visit leaves customers with a satisfied appetite.
Triple R currently has around 22 employees and offers a full range of services like catering, to-go plates, and even delivery.
“We also have the banquet room that seats 65 for private parties,” Loretta said. “All you have to do is sit back and enjoy your event, we will take care of everything else.”
Over the years, Triple R has built a loyal following of customers and regularly adds new ones to the family.
“Our customers mean the world to us,” she said. “We really appreciate them.”
Lunch specials from $4.99 - $6.99 are available each day.
Triple R is open Monday – Thursday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Friday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.