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Jan 16, 2009 12:48 PM

BBQ in Ft. Lauderdale

My husband and I will be down in Ft. Lauderdale in a couple weeks and I'd like to surprise him by taking him to the best BBQ place I can find there. I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale and, though I haven't lived there for years am familiar with the area. I know that Tom Jenkins was good when it first opened, but now have heard that it's a disappointment. True? Any other or better suggestions? We're not looking for atmosphere per se, but really good, falling off the bone southern style BBQ. Any suggestions will really help.


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  1. So far I say don't bother. I've yet to find anything down here worth eating at. I've given Tom Jenkins multiple chances because of the reputation it has and it still isn't that great. OK for South Florida, but definitely nothing I'd eat at twice back home in Dallas.

    12 Replies
    1. re: swoll50

      Well swoll....We're not back home in Dallas....Sorry 'bout that Tex....If we were...we could eat at Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse on Inwood / Memorial or Stubbs down in Austin....or a number of solid BBQ places...But we're not in Dallas or Austin.....or in my backyard in Ft. Pierce.....Tom Jenkins is still reasonably good....Great?....NO....but they still cook over wood there and that's probably as close as you're going to get to decent BBQ'd ribs and chicken in these parts.....I always recommend to people to hit Tom Jenkins (or ANY bbq joint during peak hours) and that's when you'll get the best they have to offer..... It's true....BBQ isn't great in South Florida....some better than others....but Tom Jenkins is solid, reliable....but certainly not great.....Wish we were in Big D too....but we ain't....

      1. re: LargeLife

        I've tried Tom Jenkins a number of times and it always disappoints me. Jack's on Oakland Park is better, IMO, but very hit or miss. I've had some pretty good ribs there and some really overdone ones. Cornbread is always extremely dry. They have great mac and cheese, though.

        The best ribs I've had down here are still at Hot Boyz BBQ off NW 27 and Broward Blvd, but the last couple of times I've been there they have been really tough, too.

        and just because we're in an area with less bbq doesn't mean you have to accept subpar food.

        1. re: swoll50

          "and just because we're in an area with less bbq doesn't mean you have to accept subpar food."

          Hehehe....I hear you and I won't settle for less when it comes to Q. I've been to almost every joint in Palm Beach County and I haven't found one that is worthy. My favorite is Austin's Smokehouse but it is in Hobe Sound (Martin County). I think you should try johnmlinn's suggestion of Deep Down South and report back to us. It's just too far for me to make a road trip.

          I'm a BBQ snob and I think I have the right to be.

          1. re: freakerdude

            Someone mentioned getting a Q craving on Sunday and finding many places closed. The horror!

            Well here's an option. It's a roadside stand not far from the infamous Troy's in Boynton Beach. On Federal Highway - except instead of about half mile north of Boynton Beach Blvd, it's about 4 blocks SOUTH - and on the East side.

            And he is open on Sunday. I don't recall the name (or if there is even one!).

            1. re: CFByrne

              The name is Rufus' Ribs, and I went there today. I'll be giving my thoughts very soon.

              1. re: johnmlinn

                I was at Rufus's Ribs last Sunday and thought the ribs were excellent. They were big and meaty with tremendous smoke flavor. I had them put the sauce on the side. I took home some pulled pork and it was drowned in sauce, tasting of nothing but sauce. Sadly the mac and cheese was soupy and bland, the collard greens were so salty I could not eat much of it. I love the big smoker under the tent pouring clouds of smoke all over and Rufus standing by keeping an eye on the smoker. The ribs were better then the ones at Troy's, so maybe the way to go is to grab ribs from Rufus and sides from Troy and head home.

                1. re: stuartlafonda

                  They Opened a Rufus Ribs in Boca on Federal Hwy by Hotdogopolis, is that one n the same?

                    1. re: johnmlinn

                      For some reason I thought it said Rufus Ribs, I could be wrong though, either way....have you tried it?

          2. re: swoll50

            I hit up Tom Jenkins last night. Their plain, pink smoked naked ribs are good and in line with what Troy serves in Boynton. But the molasses based sauce is a bit weird to me, especially after 5 bites of ribs and sauce. Aside from the molasses, mild heat, and bit of vinegar, I could not determine the other flavor or spice that I tasted. Mac n cheese was good but man are those cornbread muffins dry.

            I was expecting a bit higher end of a joint but it is the true BBQ dive and there's nothing wrong with that.

            Next planned Q stops in FTL are Jack's and Deep South (only during daylight hours though)

            1. re: freakerdude

              I always get the sauce on the side and jazz it with a little hot pepper vinegar. The corn muffins are best crumbled into the collards, soaking up that good pot liquor. I like their ribs a lot.

            2. re: swoll50

              I tried Jack's for the first time last week. It must have been on a miss day, as the ribs were very overdone. The aroma of smoke in the restaurant and parking lot was very seductive, however. Will probably give them another try next time in the area.

        2. Go to the Georgia Pig for a downhome lunch . . . I don't think they have ribs, but it's hard to beat their pork sandwichs.

          It's on State Road 7, just south of Davie Blvd. (no credit cards).

          14 Replies
          1. re: floridan

            The Georgia Pig seems to specialize in both ribs and pork sandwiches. I was just there last week, and ate some good smoked ( and meaty) spare ribs. They were a tad on the dry side, but I did like their bbq sauce(slight tang, nowhere near as sweet as the molasses served at Tom Jenkins), along with the cole slaw(also not too sweet or mayo-heavy, so went well with the bbq).

            1. re: drangelo

              Whenever I go to the Pig, I always get the pork sandwich special and don't really look at the menu. I guess I need to expand my horizons and order the ribs next time I'm there.

              1. re: floridan

                The ribs can be dry, but they are decent. But I just can't pass up the chopped pork when I'm there, it's heads and shoulders the best around, especially with that light, clean sauce they serve.

                You can get far better ribs than Jenkins pumps out -- with better mac n' cheese, fried garlic crabs, shrimp, cornbread, shredded pork, and beans too -- at Deep Down South BBQ, a giant red trailer located in the Exxon parking lot on Sunrise and 31st (also called Lyons Rd. or MLK Jr. Dr., depending on where you are). The only thing they're missing is collard greens, which is the only reason I go to Jenkins anymore at all.

                1. re: johnmlinn

                  I had a very nice rack of ribs at Jack's over on East Oakland Park this past fall. Can't miss the place with the smoke coming out of the smoker.

                  1. re: crewsweeper

                    Jack's is also very good, and often gets overlooked. In my mind, it's much better than Jenkins, though it comes from the same familial roots.

                    1. re: johnmlinn

                      Report from the front: I went back to Jack's BBQ today (now called Bar-B-Q Jack's), after having not been there for almost a year. I think they've definitely stepped up their game. When I arrived after noon the big smokers out front were kicking out some heavy plumes of hickory smoke, and there were about 15 customers inside. Usually, the place is dead, so I took this as a good sign.

                      I had a chopped pork plate with mac and cheese and collards, a piece of cornbread, a sweet tea, and sauce on the side. $12.30 total for that... a little steep but not way off for what BBQ costs these days. The service was fast - though I think they actually prep most of their chopped pork with sauce already, because Jack himself popped in back and came out with a bowl of freshly chopped pork for my plate, sans sauce. I have to be honest though, I didn't pay too much attention to the food line or I could've confirmed this.

                      Anyway, I first dug into the pork sans sauce. Very good. Notably smokey, chopped (not pulled) into perfect, quarter-inch bits -- some a vibrant pink, others clinging to crispy bits of skin, a nice textural change. The meat totally stands on it's own without the need for sauce, but the sauce is actually decent as well. It's similar to Jenkin's, though I like it a little better. The spices are much more noticeable and it's far less sweet. I wouldn't say the pork was world class or anything, but it is, without a doubt, real BBQ. Slow cooked. Smokey. Smoke Ring. Prepped well. Flavorful.

                      As far as sides go, that is usually the only thing I like about Tom Jenkins. Let's be honest - Jenkin's meat is well below average, but their sides are usually quite good. Jack's sides beat Jenkin's all over the place. The mac and cheese was quite nearly perfect, gooey and full of flavor with little bits of crispy caramelized cheese and bread crumbs topping it. And the collards - oh my God, the collards. Perfectly done. Not too sweet, not bitter. They left a little juice in the bottom of the Styrofoam plate that I was tempted to slurp up. (I did end up soaking my cornbread in it). The cornbread, btw, was OK but not great. A little bit dry, but by no means bad. The sweet tea continued the trend exhibited by the sauce/greens in that Jack has a deft hand with flavoring. It was just the right amount of sweet.

                      After this visit I'm convinced that while it's debatable whether Jack's would stand up to some out-of-state venues, they are definitely serving real BBQ and are at the top of local options in my opinion (Which would be rounded out by Deep Down South and Georgia Pig, at least in Broward). Couple the excellent sides with the fact that you can sit outside on barn-house red picnick tables under the shade, and I think Jack's edges out the other two as well. If I could have Jack's sides with Deep Down South's ribs and Georgia Pig's chopped pork/brisket and sauce, that would be a damn near perfect BBQ joint.

                      1. re: johnmlinn

                        The pork Q alone sounds right up my alley. Is this the place?

                        Jack's Bar-B-Q Smokehouse
                        500 E Oakland Park Blvd, Oakland Park, FL 33334

                        1. re: freakerdude

                          That is the place. I-95 to Oakland, east. Between Andrews and 6th Ave.

                        2. re: johnmlinn

                          We tried Bar-B-Q Jacks today for the first time... DH had the babyback ribs and he said they were very dry. He gave me one and I thought it was okay. Definitely not falling off the bone though. The cornbread was dry as dust. The mac and cheese tasted okay but it was a bit watery, and the baked beans tasted like they were directly out of a can. I enjoyed my pulled pork sandwich, but the overall bill was pretty steep for eating off foam plates with plastic cutlery.

                          1. re: johnmlinn

                            Made it to BBQ Jack's last night and was pleasantly surprised. Smoked ribs are very good with smoked flavor and pink smoke rings. Ribs were a bit dry but I can sacrifice that for properly smoked bbq. The sauces are much better than Tom Jenkins. Jack's now has a spicy mustard and a NC vinegar sauce. Just make sure you read the sign at the register that says you must order bbq without sauce if that is how you want it. You can get it on the side.

                            Sides are excellent and the mac-n-cheese was a real winner. Collard greens were very good as well. There weren't many people on a Sunday night near closing time but this is good bbq, sauces, and sides from my first visit.

                            I picked up a rack of ribs to go ($24), a half pound of pork ($9), and a large mac-n-cheese ($6) to take home with me along with their 3 sauces.

                            1. re: freakerdude

                              $24 for a rack of ribs? A HALF POUND of pork for $9??......That's extremely expensive. A full rack of spare ribs is $17.99 most anywhere......Most BBQ places charge $9 per FULL POUND of pork. At those prices it had better award-winning, competition level BBQ!

                              Ft. Pierce, FL

                              1. re: LargeLife

                                It's Ft. Lauderdale. What're ya gonna do? Jack's was never my favorite, but at least they're open on Sunday.

                      2. re: johnmlinn

                        Deep Down South has moved. They are now on 31st Ave, that's the street off of the Exxon station, about 200 yds down from W Sunrise Blvd. Address is:

                        1231 NW 31st Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311-5027
                        Phone: 954-687-7417

                        Was there about a week ago, had their Ribs, Fried Shrimp, and Conch Fritters to go (There is just the trailer which you cannot get into, and a parking lot. No seating except in your car). All were very good.

                        Also tried Bar-B-Q Jack's in Oakland Park, had their Ribs Dinner with sides of Mac n' Cheese and Collard Greens, and a Sweet Tea. Excellent meal.

                        Deep Down South Barbecue
                        3101 W Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL

                        1. re: IronStomach

                          The red truck for Deep Down South isn't on 31st Ave anymore. I tried the number but it's disconnected. My husband LOVES their ribs!!! Does anyone know where they moved?

                2. anyone try the ribs at Rosey Baby's in Lauderhill? Their menu is mostly southern/New Orleans and everything I have had is fantastic - I haven't tried their ribs though. I can't miss this place when I'm in Ft. Lauderdale area, in fact we go several times.


                  1. fyi, Smith and Jones on Las Olas serves sausage from Kreutz Market in Lockhart, TX.

                    the "smoke" they claim to use must be another name for an oven or something, but the texture and taste of the actual sausage is still fantastic.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: swoll50

                      I've had pretty good luck with Mississippi Sweets in Boca.

                      1. re: swoll50

                        yeah, the sausage has a good flavor but the smoke is nonexistant.

                      2. Not Ft. Lauderdale but in Broward. Check out Chef Tally , just North of Hallandale Beach Blvd. (Hallandale beach blvd west, right on 56th ave, left on 25th st, he is set up in a parking lot, can't miss the lines) he is there on Fri and Sat nights from 3pm until 2 a.m.ish. I'm not a BBQ expert by any means but his chicken and rib combo does not stink... smokey and flavorful. Also has very good sauces. Curious to see what the BBQ experts on the board think AG,this one is calling your name!!!!