Best Barbecue - 2012
Tom Jenkins Bar-B-Q
We know, we're not surprising anyone with this one. Yeah, the line stretches out the door around lunchtime on Saturday, and they retail their sauce in bottles. Yeah, at certain times of the day, it's not as good (though it's your fault if you expect great barbecue at odd hours). But goldangit, Tom Jenkins' and all of its carbonized, log-cabiny kitsch is just the most fun and satisfying place to get your rib-stickin' meat in this fair county. The building was repurposed and renovated years ago by the owners (neither of whom is named Tom Jenkins, despite the congratulatory letters addressed to him that are framed on the wall). Step inside and you're basically in the barbecue pit already, soaking up the smells as you stand in a line past rustic wooden tables and vintage kitsch. Once you get your meal, the magic is revealed: the burnt ends on the chopped pork border soft, pink morsels with just enough fat; ribs don't fall off the bone so much as gracefully pirouette into your mouth. The sauce, a tangy, just-sweet-enough concoction, isn't really necessary but a welcome compliment. Sides, like collard greens and baked beans, are dependable, and you get a hunk of corn bread for dippin'. Just as it should be.