Tom Jenkins BBQ | Fort Lauderdale Soul & Sauce

Review by: Michael Stern

Legendary Local BBQ

Tom Jenkins is a small place with a big reputation as a source of classic southern-style BBQ meals. Opened in 1996 by a couple of guys who already were known for making BBQ sauce, it is a worthy source of Fort Lauderdale soul, especially if you are hunting ribs.

The Meats

Chopped pork, plump sausages, chicken, and brisket also are on the menu, but meat-laden bones are what draw the crowds. For supreme tenderness, choose baby backs; for maximum flavor, tear into a rack of spare ribs. I love the latter: hefty logs laden with meat that pulls easily from the bone and is relatively tender. But not too tender. These ribs are muscular enough to offer all the flavor of a good chew. Jenkins’ famous sauce — faintly sweet, complex, laced with a subtle shot of pepper — complements them just right.

On the Side

Even before pandemic precautions, Tom Jenkins served side dishes in Styrofoam. Frankly, when you look at them in their sterile containers, they appear to be pretty ordinary. But a few forkfuls quickly disabuse you of that first impression. Mac & cheese delivers spritely tang as well as comfort. Pungent collard greens glow with green-vegetable savor. Other available companions include Brunswick stew, potato salad, baked beans, and corn on the cob.

For dessert, sweet potato pie offers a nice palliative note to end a zesty meal.

Worth the Wait

Even when it isn’t busy, Tom Jenkins demands patience. Once you place an order at the counter and pay for it, you will wait a while for it to be assembled. Then when you are called up to get it, if you are dining here you need to find a place at one of the few tables available. When crowds mob the restaurant (every weekend night, for sure), you likely will have trouble finding a place to park. And you definitely will wait to eat. This Fort Lauderdale soul source is worth it.

What To Eat

Ribs

DISH
Sausage

DISH
Macaroni & Cheese

DISH
Collard Greens

DISH
Corn Muffin

DISH
Sweet Potato Pie

DISH

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