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Tallahassee Barbeque

Is there any real barbeque near Tallahassee? JB's was the closest thing I could find, but it has closed. Does anyone know of another true BBQ joint? If you are thinking about saying Sonny's, please do not reply.

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  1. First you have to define what real barbecue is. I'm from Kansas City and grew up on smoked brisket and ribs from my grandpa's stone smoker in the backyard. To me, barbecue should be smoked until the fats in the meat render and the meat is fork tender. Further, the sauce should be tart/sweet/smoky/spicy. A real barbecue joint serves, in addition to the slow-smoked meat, sides like smoked baked beans (with burnt ends), coleslaw, white bread/toast for sopping up the juice/sauce, and fries. Anything else is overkill.

    I know this flies in the face of so-called barbecue from places like North Carolina or Memphis.

    Having said that, when I moved here, JB's was recommended to us as the standard here in barbecue. It was NOT. GOOD. The meat wasn't smoked nearly long enough, and I was totally unimpressed. I need to get out more and try some of the small local places around town, but haven't done as much of that as I should have. I bought a smoker, make my own sauce, and I tend to think the only "real" barbecue in Tallahassee is served at my house.

    I did have some decent cue at a little stand out east on Miccosukee near where it crosses I-10. That was the best I've had since moving here that I didn't cook myself.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pillars_of_color

      We moved here from Texas, so we're all for the dry rubbed BBQ,smoked long, like Goode Company in Houston or tons of spots out in West Texas. We even take a shine to the Rendevous-Memphis way with ribs when passing through. But I haven't found any place here that matches up. Gotta go to Dreamland in 'Bama to get anything close. However, long time state gummit workers I know swear by Jim and Milts on Penescola St. Not my next of the woods. But if you want some good links for your smoker try Bradley's Store out Centerville on the other side of Bradfordville Road.

    2. As you know if you have looked around, there is no true BBQ joint in Tallahassee. There is some pretty good cue that flies under the radar, however, at a place you would never expect: Marie Livingston's Steakhouse on North Monroe at I-10. I eat lunch there a couple of times a week with a group of guys who usually get the steaks (which I can take or leave, but prefer to leave as they are drowned in a "marinade" of worcestershire sauce). The BBQ, however, is pretty good. The sliced pork, chopped pork, sliced and chopped brisket are very good. Chicken is merely okay; usually a little dry.

      Sides are Brunswick stew (they call it camp stew) and I know Brunswick stew has no generally accepted recipe, but theirs is good. Cole slaw good. French fries are freshly cut and fried and are without a doubt the best in town. Sauce is homemade and served warm. A piece of garlic toast rounds it out, but ask for a basket of the fresh yeast rolls, which are outstanding. I ask for regular butter as I cannot abide the honeny butter that comes with the rolls.

      The BBQ is cooked on a smoker in the back. The "luncheon" plate comes with the meat and fries, stew and slaw, and the "Texas size" platter is truly large. One caveat: the BBQ is served only at lunch; not available at night.

      1 Reply
      1. re: steakman55

        Speaking of timely issue. The Friday lunch bunch at work sauntered over to Famous Daves BBQ (so you don't have too). About the only BBQ flavor in the ribs was the vinegar tomato sauce that was slathered over them. A bit dry even with the sauce for me. Links were grilled brats, but had a bit of ambient heat in the meat. Comes with a slice of what locals call "Texas" toast and a side of some ugly looking stuff that must have been relish. As if they wanted you to try to eat it like a hot dog. Not sure what he's famous for but BBQ it ain't.

      2. Well I just couldn't agree more with these posts. It's sad and therefore I make my own as a rule. But I must say that despite the lack of atmosphere - Tiny's on West Pensecola and the smaller take out on Woodville HWY is pretty decent stuff. DO NOT go to Wilson's. OMG! They did a buffett for my board of directors and let's just say that there was lots of extra protein in the pulled pork...and it was still moving.

        And Famous Daves - how I wanted to like the place. What a huge disappointment!

        A good Buddy of mine - says that there is a guy that does BBQ off a cart on Lake Bradford Road. Have not tried it myself but am curious.

        Never got the devotion for JB's - didn't think it was really very good. Am I a BBQ snob or what!

        And then there is Hamaknockers in Crawfordville and now in Panacea. I've had it once. Thought that it was overpriced and not very good but folks rave over it. Give it a try and let me know what ya think.

        1. As you see ,LA is not considered a bastion of fine q.

          If you have occasion to visit Mobile,you have The BrickPIt.

          It is run by a couple of ex comp cooks.

          Saucey Q would be worth a stop,also.

          I'd pass on the Dreamland there.


          1. Don't forget about Jack's (across from Mom+Dad's Restaurant on the Parkway), and Mr. T's on S. Monroe (weekends), and the good ole Ribman in the Harvey's parking lot, and Gerties down a little further on Woodville Hwy. Yummmm!

            7 Replies
            1. re: benedpo

              I am not sure if anyone has been to King's BBQ, but it is pretty good. It is on Pensacola St. You get a lot of food for a great price, and its definitely better than any other BBQ place I have been here.

              1. re: ekeeney

                I'm fairly new to Tallahassee. Been here about six months. Lately I've been trying to find decent ribs without a lot of luck.

                I tried to go to King's a few days ago. It has closed and the phone has been disconnected.

                Mr. T's has opened a restaurant on South Monroe. The ribs there were okay at best. A little tough.

                The ribs at Jim and Milt's were very tough and very little flavor.

                Wilson's was pretty good. Tender with a pretty good crust and flavorful rub.

                Famous Dave's and Shane's Rib Shack both have typical chain fare.

                I'm going to try Gertie's later this week and hopefully Tiny's soon.

                1. re: gmc251

                  Don't bother with Gertie's, not awful, but awfully close.

                2. re: ekeeney

                  I think that King's closed. I have heard the that the BBQ stand on Tharpe street by Brothers is good and I have also heard that the bbq stand on Tennessee & Ocala by half time kegs is really good. I have not tried either.

                  I was not aware that Shane's rib shack had even opened. GMC251 what was it like?

                  1. re: carinole

                    Shane's serves strictly baby backs covered with a vinegar based sauce. No real smoke flavor. Fairly tender. They had two other sauces available. One labeled spicy and one labeled hot. I tasted the hot. It had a little heat to it, but not scorching.

                    I had a half rack with fries and corn on the cob for the two sides. The half ear of corn was kind of mushy. They served a huge basket of fries and they were pretty good.

                    I might eat there again if I was in the neighborhood but certainly wouldn't drive across town like I would for really good ribs.

                      1. re: gmc251

                        I ate there with co-workers the other day. Two of us got a sampler basket that included pork, chicken tenders, and ribs plus two side items. Two other co-workers got the chopped chicken. The meat was fine - much better than Famous Daves and cheaper too. It was the side dishes that we ordered that were really awful. I had the greens and forced everyone at the table to try them. I've never had greens that tasted like a dessert! The macaroni and cheese wasn't much better. Didn't try the beans or corn. Will consider ordering from them though for my office board meetings.

                3. The Best Bar-B-Q in the whole State of Florida [I've been to many of them from the farthest south: Redland Rib House in The Redland, to Jim & Milt's in Tallahassee] is in Fort Lauderdale (believe it or not): Tom Jenkins Barbeque (take 95 north, get off on Davie Blvd east, turn right when you get to the corner of Davie Blvd and US-1 (aka South Federal Highway) and you'll see (and smell) the smoke (except on Sunday and Monday, the sign reads Sunday gone to church, Monday gone fishign) SO worth the drive!! http://www.tomjenkinsbbq.com/ They have chicken, ribs, pork spare ribs and baby back, and chopped pork and brisket, (or combinations of those items) as well fried catfish. The meat is all cooked to smoky juicy perfection, never dry. The sauce is red and not too sweet, a little smoky and a little spicy (and it comes 'on the side'). Macaroni and cheese is perfect! Collard greens so flavorful and never bitter, excellent cole slaw, baked beans with a hint of ?green pepper, fries, potato salad, what more could you want . . a killer corn muffin! To wash it all down, SWEET tea, really sweet. Aaaaah! And as if that wasn't enough, a sweet potato pie that would make your Momma cry (with a hint of orange flavor), not dense and pasty like some supermarket pies can be, but a light and clean taste that leaves no room for guilt, and to balance it, the perfect crust! I break off pieces of crust edge so I get some in each bite. And low prices to boot! D--n I love good Barbeque.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: gynell

                    Mmm. I'm down there next month. Will definitely check it out. And try to save some room for the Pie, the preferrable way to eat sweet potatoes.

                    1. re: gynell

                      Tom Jenkin's is fantastic.
                      The Pit out near Krome Ave. in west Dade is a close second.

                    2. I wouldn't recommend Jim and Milt's. Even the ceilings are nasty.I've had ok to bad service. Sorry I'm not going to sugar coat it. I would rather go to Sonny's than J and milt's.

                      1. I have to disagree with the posters who dislike Famous Daves. I have tried a lot of BBQ in Tallahassee and they all seem to have overcooked meat, undersmoked, and their sides taste canned. I have eaten at Famous Daves and love their quality of meat, as well as the taste of the product. They obviously smoke their meats in a good quality smoker and do not overcook or use liquid smoke. Also, their sides taste like they are made from scratch, which I confirmed with the waiter. In addition, their deserts are the bomb!! I have always had a great experience there and enjoy their daily specials. Although I respect everyones opinions and posts, Famous Daves has my vote.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: seminolefan


                          Famous Dave's is a chain and most OPs here don't favor chains, especially for Q. Personally, I haven't found FD's any better than Smokey Joes old place or Sonny's. Dinner there a coupel of years back was a disaster with meat dried out , ribs tough and the mac&cheese no better than Kraft packages. Luncheons several times since with groups, I usually grab a sandwich and slather it with sauce to at least some flavor. But that's my opinion.

                          Still haven't made Mo'Bettas yet.

                        2. We enjoyed Mo Betta Barbeque situated at the Corner Shell station at 3105 Apalachee Pkwy.
                          The pulled pork sandwich and the rib tips were great, as well as the baked beans. There are picnic tables available. The owner stopped by to chat with us and to ask if we enjoyed the food. Yes we did.
                          Yes we did.

                          1. I haven't been back to Tallahassee in about 7 years, but Tiny's. Go west on 20 from Capital Circle. It is not very far outside of town. When heading west, it is on the left. Excellent.

                            1 Reply
                            1. There is no good bbq in tallahassee... Don't even bother. This could be same about pretty much all food in Tallahassee. I have had so many "recommendations" here only to be disappointed again and again. You have college kids making the food in most places so the quality and preparation is sub par. And apparently the chefs don't know what the food should taste like. This goes from not just bbq, but all kinds of food. There are probably less than 10 places in Tallahassee you can get a decent meal at. Ft. Walton, Destin, Panama City, Pensacola ALL have better food options than Tallahassee.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: grapels

                                How do you think it compares to non-touristy cities of its size around the country? Tallahassee has A La Provence, Kool Beanz, Cypress, Food Glorious Food, Sage, Decent Pizza, Liam's in nearby Thomasville, all of which do more than respectable renditions of the genre they occupy. I dare say that the head chefs in those restaurants are not "college kids making the food." and if you're talking about line cooks and stuff, go to any decent restaurant in the country no matter the location and you'll find people without a lot of broad skills that are trained to fill small niches very well.

                                So how does Tallahassee stack up to other metro. areas of its size, say - Columbus, GA, or Fayetteviille, NC, or Ocala, FL, or Montgomery, AL, or Brownsville, TX, or Shreveport, LA? I dare say that it compares exceedingly well. It's no fount of culinary excellence, there's no local/slow food movement whatsoever, but then again it's more than can be expected of the hamlet that it is, or for the unsophisticated college town that it is.

                                1. re: mikeh

                                  I agree with Mikeh. We live in Tallahassee and there are several very good and creative restaurants. Rememer, food always tastes better when you are on vacation.

                              2. I'm just coming across this post, and realize the original was four years ago, but wanted to let everyone know about a fairly new BBQ spot in Tallahassee. It's called Mr. B's Real Grill BBQ. They are located right near the corner of Monroe and Orange Avenue. Menu features ribs, chicken pulled pork and an array of sides that include collard greens, mac and cheese, baked beans, coleslaw and potatoe salad.

                                Mr. B's Real Grill BBQ
                                312 E Orange Ave, Tallahassee, FL 32301