I have often lamented the lack of "real" barbecue here in Florida. You would think as big a state as Florida is, there would be some decent 'que SOMEWHERE. It took some time, but I finally found something worthy of the name. I made two visits here (somewhat) recently - to prove that the first one wasn't a fluke - that is where my jaded nature on Florida bbq has led me.
Tom Jenkins' BBQ is located right on US Highway 1 in Fort Lauderdale - yet, somehow, I almost managed to drive right passed it - twice!
The minute you step out of the car, the intoxicating aroma of pit smoke envelopes you. Off to the side, you can see what will soon become the mechanism for making this fine barbecue.
Most of my decor shots came out crappy - and even this shot of the menu isn't the best. But, it gives you a little idea of the place. Most of the decor consists of old concert fliers from legendary African-American artists of the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Sam Cooke is visible here. They also try to educate their consumers as to what barbecue should be, as evidenced by the "Pink is Good" sign, advising customers that the smoking process produces the pink ring on the 'que. Believe it or not, this type of education is still somewhat warranted in areas where "true" barbecue is not readily available.
The pit. Again, I don't know that anyone is going to confuse me with Ansel Adams with this photo, but it should give you the idea of what they're cooking. For the record, we dined there on a Wednesday afternoon/early evening (pre-dinner rush) and on a Saturday afternoon - around the same time. The pit was arranged in much the same way both visits.
All meals, whether you choose to eat in or take away, are packaged to go - with a ramiken of their barbecue sauce on the side. What lies beneath the wax paper???
Glorious baby back ribs! These were fabulous. I don't usually judge barbecue operations on baby back ribs, but these were F-I-N-E, fine. The meat was tender, but not "falling off the bone," as so many misinterpret good 'que to be. There was potent smoky flavor, as evidenced by the aforementioned thick layer of pink smoke ring.
In the background are some ordinary fries and top tier macaroni and cheese.
The exterior "crust" of the ribs had excellent chew, perfect to compliment the tender meat inside.
Have I mentioned that I liked the ribs?
I have also written of my love for mac and cheese. This stuff was in the top ten or twenty percent of my mac and cheese favorites. This is also my preferred method of preparation - baked; it had good cheesy flavor, but wasn't the overly creamy stuff that I can do with out.
One of the previous "complaints" (if you could call it that) about Tom Jenkins' BBQ is that they don't take credit cards. Somewhere along the way, they seem to have rectified that situation, as I used my card there twice.
I can say - without a doubt - this is barbecue that would make pitmasters in KC, Carolina, or anywhere else proud. Should you find yourself down FLL way, this is surely a good option for any 'que-lovin' Roadfooder! Tom Jenkins Bar-BQ
1236 S Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316-2067
<message edited by The Travelin Man on Sat, 06/20/09 1:58 PM>