Don't be harsh on those folks who go to Tom Jenkins and order the barbecued chicken. They're not bad people, just misinformed. It isn't their fault nobody's told them the ribs here are the thickest, meatiest, and smokiest that you can possibly find this side of the Mississippi and that it's the ribs that set Tom's jaunty old barbecue joint apart from the rest. Besides, the deep, brick-red barbecue sauce here is so seriously and piquantly delicious that it can make even poultry seem irresistible. Tom's has other things going for it, like great corn muffins, slow-cooked ham-hocked greens, and an authentic Southern barbecue ambiance with African-Americans, good ol' boys, Latinos, and Jews sitting side by side not only in peace but openly communicating with one another -- as in "Could you please pass the paper towels?" Still, if you find yourself seated at Tom's next to someone eating chicken, don't pity or denigrate; just politely offer them one of your precious ribs. They will likely remember the gesture the rest of their lives. A rack costs $16.95. It's only $17.95 with two side orders and bread.
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