We've been stopping to eat in Jasper Fl at H&F Fine Foods (directly across from city hall) lunch buffet for over ten years, always enjoying the fried chicken, turnip greens, cornbread dressing, squash souffle, and okra and tomatoes. This past Friday there were some damn good classically prepared salmon croquettes too.
We first learned about H&F from the Stern's Road Food book, and the place has held up well through a fire and renovation several years ago.
On every visit through Jasper, I've noticed a BBQ shack on the 'wrong side of the tracks' north end of town, A&B BBQ. The neighborhood seemed a little iffy, and we were always full from H&F, so we never stopped.
On this visit, after stuffing ourselves at H&F, we finally took the plunge. A&B is a small shack, with a front yard littered with cars under repair, and piles of wood waiting to be split.
Let me qualify the following remarks with this caveat: I've lived in the south for over 20 years, and despite repeated attempts, have rarely eaten southern BBQ I thought worth a repeat visit. Well that's now changed.
A&B BBQ smokes the best ribs I've ever eaten, and my wife--a native southerner, agrees. Full sized ribs, not tasteless baby back ribs, with smoke in every bite. You need teeth here, as the meat isn't boiled and doesn't fall off the bone. Even better was the sauce, not ketchup and not mustard, vaguely tomato based with perfect balance between piquant, sweet and acid flavors.
Ribs, pulled pork, potato salad and cole slaw--that's the menu at A&B. There are no tables. You walk up and order, and take it with you. On the Friday we stopped in, there was a hand lettered sign: 'No Dinners Today'. What that meant was no potato salad or cole slaw, just meat.
As for the 'hood, it couldn't be safer, and the fellow who runs A&B, he couldn't be nicer. He even offered to send more ribs up to us in Atlanta with his sister, also an Atlantan. We're thinking now that we will have to take him up on his gracious offer.
Don't miss A&B BBQ in Jasper. The sign says closed on Sunday and Monday. The best bet for them being open is probably Fri-Sat.
How to get to Jasper FL from I-75:
--From the north, take exit 86, head east and follow the signs
--From the south, take exit 85, head north on Hwy. 129 right into town.
Either way, it's about 6-8 minutes off I-75.
We have some pictures being developed and will try to upload them when they come back.