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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.

          Tom

          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.