A mostly take-out eatery in a desolate part of downtown, Jenkins smokes beef, pork, and chickens in a pit fired by oak logs, then serves them with either sweet sauce or hot sauce made from a recipe that is a long-held family secret. It is quite peppery but not ferocious, mustard-orange and thick like gravy – a righteous companion especially for roast chicken, but also swell on the ribs I got in my rib sandwich.
The “sandwich” was in fact pretty silly: four slices of white bread surrounding four or five big spare ribs, the whole thing drenched with enough sauce that picking it up sandwich-like was a complete impossibility. Instead, one folds back the thick butcher paper in which it is presented and alternately gnaws a rib and peels off pieces of sauce-drenched bread. Very good! And multi-napkin messy.
Sitting in an orange leatherette booth waiting for some chicken wings to fry, I watched a grubby guy come in looking for change to use to buy a soda. “The machine at the mission only takes quarters,” he said, pointing to a shelter across the way and offering some dimes in exchange. Those of us waiting managed to get a couple of quarters together and sent the happy man on his way. Considering I was a real fish out of water, probably looking especially odd because I was photographing all the food, I felt very comfortable in this little barbecue haven, and especially welcomed by the ladies behind the counter, who were in awe of my seemingly endless appetite. “Here you go, sweetie,” one of them said when she delivered a fine piece of red velvet cake for dessert.