Jenkins Quality Barbecue

Bar-b-q | Smoke House | Soul Food
excellent
Worth a detour
Save

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.

What to Eat
Jenkins Quality Barbecue, Rib Sandwich
Rib Sandwich
Must-Try
This soul-food smoke-house sandwich is, in fact, meat with ribs and sauce -- impossible to lift of the plate except in pieces and shreds. The ribs are mighty meaty with good chew and lots of piggy flavor.
Jenkins Quality Barbecue, Red Velvet Cake
Red Velvet Cake
Must-Try
The tender cake is redder than this picture shows; its cream cheese frosting is supersweet.
Jenkins Quality Barbecue, Wings (6)
Wings (6)
Six wings are really too much of an appetizer for one person. These are big ones, very meaty and with lots of crunchy crust. The hot sauce with its mustard twang is very different from typical hot wing sauce, but it's pretty darn good.
Jenkins Quality Barbecue, Corn Nuggets (10)
Corn Nuggets (10)
I asked the woman taking orders, 'Are corn nuggets like hush puppies?' She said, 'kinda.' They are small and spherical, but inside their deep-fried crust is a molten flow of creamed corn: wickedly rich and delicious.
Jenkins Quality Barbecue, Pork Sandwich
Pork Sandwich
The pork barbecue is a large sandwich with plenty of tender meat, minimally sauced, on a sesame seed bun.
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday12 pm - 7 pm
Monday10 am - 12 am
Tuesday10 am - 12 am
Wednesday10 am - 12 am
Thursday10 am - 12 am
Friday11 am - 1 am
Saturday11 am - 1 am
Roadtrips
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
8 stops | 191 MILES | 4 hr 33 min

Florida's north coast is an eater's paradise, with fare both exotic and familiar. The menu includes fish camp cooking at its finest, pour-your-own pancakes at the Fountain of Youth, fried shrimp that may be the best anywhere, and a four-alarm delicious legacy of Minorcan hot peppers.

Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
No
Alcohol Served
No
Outdoor Seating
Yes
Website

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Whitey’s Fish Camp

    Fleming Island, Florida

    Great catfish puts Whitey’s on the Florida best-eats map. They’re caught wild, fried whole to perfection, and brought to the table until you’ve had your fill.

  • The Floridian

    St. Augustine, Florida

    Southern food meets sustainable ingredients at The Floridian, home of pickled pepper shrimp, biscuits with pork belly, & fried chicken with hot-sauce honey.

  • Safe Harbor Restaurant

    Jacksonville Beach, Florida

    At Safe Harbor, the fish is as freshly-caught as you’d expect in a fish market next to the water. The menu’s must-eat: spicy blackened shrimp.

  • La Herencia Cafe

    St. Augustine, Florida

    Sit outside and observe the oldest street in America while you enjoy a Media Noche sandwich at La Herencia Cafe of St. Augustine.

  • Good Dough

    Jacksonville, Florida

    Good Dough is a Jacksonville neighborhood bakery that sets a high bar with fried chicken doughwiches and torched crème brûlée doughnuts.

  • Beach Road Chicken Dinners

    Jacksonville, Florida

    Jacksonville’s vintage southern fried chicken house, dating back to 1939, Beach Road serves chicken all ways along with a wide variety of worthy side dishes.