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Tommy vs Jack - tough call

Chuck | Jun 27, 200208:26 PM

Well, I finally made it to Tom Jenkins BBQ - What a business. These two guys deserve all their success - The story, told many times on the walls of their restaurant by various newspapers and local and national magazines, is of two young black professionals who sold ribs out of the back of their car on weekends (US 1) for many years.

They built up a following of black and white folkes and finally decided to quit their day jobs and go for it. And, we all know that takes a big pair - in this case - 2 pairs.

They went to all the local banks and nobody would give them a loan which was not a racial thing because rarely will any bank loan $ for a new restaurant venture. Anyway, it has become a tremendous success. I could not believe the amount of ribs, beef and pork they had smoking at any one time. Absolutely amazing.
They are doing big numbers.

Now to the actual meal- rib plate with 2 sides. Well, the quality of the meat was as good as you can get. St. Louis style but trimmed to eliminate the "knuckles" as I call them - the upper deckle which is loaded with fat and bones. Incredibly meaty with not a trace of fat, but they were far, far from "falling off the bone" if that's your preference. Me, I love ribs any way. These were crispy and chewy.

Tom Jenkins sauce is pretty sweet, the corn muffin was terrific, the beans (small pea sized) was also sweet - fairly certain due to their BBQ sauce being mixed into it. The mac n/ cheese suffered from too much time on the steam table - cheese had separated and was very watery - slaw looked like a better choice. Under $7 for the meal - very, very fair price. Good service, clean, great over-all experience for me.

Now, in comparison to Jack's, the new guy on the block on Oakland Park Blvd.. First, the CityLink's reviewer who said Jack's owner was a relative of the Jenkins' family? If they both have the sauce secret why are they completely different? No way Jose. Jack's is far less sweet and much more smokey - I like it better.

Jack's ribs were much more tender. Perhaps the reason is as follows: They both are burning wood, but jack does it in a smallish type drum often seen at those garages in your disadvantaged areas throughout the South. They have nowhere near the business of Tom Jenkins and building a full sized pit is costly. So, they cannot hold as many slabs on their type pit -Jenkins has 10 shelves above their pit. So, once finished, Jack's takes their ribs and is keeping them in a warmer - that's where they pulled mine from. And, I beleive they are growing more and more tender sitting in that warmer.

However, Jack's ribs are not trimmed like Tom Jenkins- you get the whole St. Lous rib here - fatty tops and all. If you want lean, Jenkin's is the place for you. Jack's are incredibly tasty and soooo tender the bones actually separate from the meat when you pick them up - Hounds., its your call..

The baked beans on Jacks are also much different - bigger pea bean, less sweet, and more smokey. Here, too, I like Jack's better. Mac n cheese - same problems as at Jenkins - too hot, too long - ng.

Well, that's my report....You cannot go wrong in either place.

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