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Jacksonville Black-owned barbecue restaurant named 'best in Florida'

"Hefty slabs of ribs and half chickens that are cooked on open brick pits, slathered in thick yellow mustard sauce" are what you'll find at Jenkins Quality BBQ.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A longstanding Downtown Jacksonville staple is now boasting a new title: Best Barbecue in the state.

Southern Living readers recently selected their favorite barbecue joints from every southern state for 2022. Jenkins Quality Barbecue, located at 830 North Pearl St., Jacksonville, and two other locations, took the prize for Florida.

"Willie Mae and Melton Jenkins opened the first Jenkins Quality Barbecue in 1957, and their family now operates three locations around Jacksonville," Southern Living's site says. "All serve hefty slabs of ribs and half chickens that are cooked on open brick pits, slathered in thick yellow mustard sauce, and served atop slices of white bread. Ask for the hot version of the sauce if you dare."

Jenkins Quality Barbecue opened in 1957, as one of the only Black-owned barbecue spots in Jacksonville. The business almost didn’t make it, as the owners struggled to find a bank that would give them a loan due to their race, but today, more than 60 years later, great-grandchildren of the founders are still in the kitchen stirring up the sauce.

"We never changed the recipe for the sauce," said Wilhelmina Brown, daughter of the founder and current COO. "We never changed how we cooked it. Everything is still the same from 1957."

To learn more about the business and the sauce, visit their website here.

RELATED: 4 generations of Black restaurant owners working inside Jenkins Quality Barbecue

Southern Living readers selected Wiley's Championship BBQ in Savannah as the best barbecue in Georgia. Read more about their big platters of pulled pork, brisket, and smoked chicken here.

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