The neatly corded wood stacked next to a stainless steel coal creating furnace (about the size of two refrigerators) was nothing like the homemade wood coal furnaces of the history-rich BBQ shacks we saw during the first four days of our trip. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t using tried-and-true methods. Jim and his son, Nick, are relative newcomers compared to the likes of Rodney Scott and Sam Jones, but in a quarter of a century Jim ‘N Nick’s has grown into a very popular and successful chain. Co-founder Nick has become close with Sam Jones and Rodney Scott, and the two said we must visit one of these restaurants.
In this 150-seat, sit-down restaurant, Jim and Nick did a great job of mixing faux-rustic architecture with modern interior design. Each table had a ridged conduit lamp and a pair of their famous sauces – a mild, and a moderate heat hobanaro version. The menu focused on BBQ, but also offered lighter options, including BBQ salads. As we ordered, we were brought cheddar corn muffins with honey butter. We gobbled them up and they were quickly refilled. The popular corn muffin mix was available for purchase at the front, along with their signature sauces. There was a varied selection of sides including mac and cheese, collard greens, a nicely flaovered cabbage, and coleslaw.
Our waitress, Gwen (who was fantastic!) , recommended that we try the brisket and pulled pork sandwiches and insisted that we eat the ribs. At her recommendation, we soon had three communal plates to sample. The pulled pork was drizzled with sauce and had a tender flavor, though we feel we have had some with better flavor so far. Their brisket and ribs though were the best we have had so far . The ribs had a great red, smoky color and were firm but tender. They were light on the sauce, which allowed the smoked meat to be the predominant flavor. The brisket had a deep and rich hickory flavor which managed to not overpower the meat. It was sliced and had just enough barbeque sauce, about 2 tablespoons, to compliment the meat and was served atop grilled Texas Toast.
We were very pleased with the value, as we have paid more for lesser quality. Jim ‘N Nick’s definitely had the structured feel of a chain, but they balanced it very well with a feeling of southern hospitality.