Friday, November 20, 2009

Newest Addition to the Fleet

Rolling grills, Rolling Stones, vintage corvettes. Why does it seem like some of the best things are associated with wheels? Hey, I don't know but I'll tell you that anytime we expand our fleet of mobile barbecue pits my level of personal pride creeps up another notch. We got the newest addition in late last night and it is not the biggest rig we own but it looks to be one of the most powerful. A whole hog pit, a grill for the little cuts and a two burner stove all in one compact unit. I like the big 10,000 pound rigs we have too but I'll go back to my all things on wheels comment and say this little baby is more like a barbecue deuce coupe. I'm ready to crank 'er up!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Smoky and Sweet

Most often we're defined by all things smoky around Jim 'N Nick's but this week we're letting our sweet side shine. We're happy and proud to be one of a great group of Birmingham based restaurants donating proceeds from a certain sweet to the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center to help with their work in finding a cure for cancer. Eat a slice of lemon pie at a Birmingham location of Jim 'N Nick's the week of November 9th and you'll be helping too.

Find out more at

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Taco Tuesday

Well it's Tuesday and everyone around our parts knows that means it's time to eat tacos. Tuesday, or Taco Tuesday as we at Jim 'N Nick's affectionally know it is the day of the week we set aside to celebrate one of the all time great street foods. With the Mexican influence on American culture, taqueria's and taco trucks have become common sights in a lot of places. Why should they appear and be celebrated at a Southern barbecue restaurant? I'm arguing that in many ways you'll find some strong similarities between a taco you might find in the most authentic of Mexican establishments and what we'll serve up at Jim 'N Nick's. Slow smoked, pulled pork is remeniscent of carnitas. Beef brisket conjures up thoughts of the finest Latin American barbacoa. And while catfish may not be the first fish thought of in Veracruz, it's our fresh fish here and works quite well with a splash of lime I might add.

We are always looking for a good reason to celebrate our culture and to celebrate the influences other great cultures have on us. The taco has given us a new reason. So consider this a formal invitation to Table 58 so that you can join the celebration as well.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

SFA Skillet Brigade Hits Atlanta

Southern Foodways Alliance members, including a group from Jim 'N Nick's descended on Atlanta last weekend to help local farmers recently devastated by flooding. Here is a link to the SFA blog with all the updates,

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What's Going On?

If it seems like we have gone underground on the blog lately, it's unintentional. New postings will be flowing in soon. Sorry for the recent lights out but check back soon for some awesome updates.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gettin' Pickled

I'm not sure where the expression came from that associates intoxication with pickling but it is easy to see the broader picture. Cool, crisp, unassuming little cucumbers are sitting there minding their own business when some scalding hot vinegar, infused with spices washes over them to begin the process of transformation. Those little cukes marinate in the magical vinegar concoction like the days troubles on ice in a bath of Tennessee whiskey.

Recently we were fortunate enough to come into a few cucumbers from our good friends at Jones Valley Urban Farm. Those little beauties found their way into the mystical brew of vinegar and spices. Well, after enough marination they ended up at Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN no longer cucumbers but homegrown Alabama pickles. Like all good things, how the pickles were made and why they ended up at Blackberry are largely irrelevant to the fact that they showed up in the right place at the right time. In other words, cool as cucumbers, they were there for the party.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Keepin' It Real

Well the time is rapidly approaching for the little circus we call Jim 'N Nick's to hit the road again and move on down the road to complete our 2009 coast to coast summer tour. This time a new honor has been bestowed upon us by way of an invitation to participate in the Eat Real Festival in Oakland, CA ( This street fair will turn cooks like us into roadside attractions with offerings rich and diverse that form a culinary tapestry made up of sustainable and local ingredients testifying to what real food is all about.
Keep your eyes, ears and gullet tuned in for updates from the road as we go forth with a vagabond spirit and a hunger that will only be satisfied by the gastronomical jewels strung out along the great American highway.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cool As A Cucumber

"Cool as a cucumber, cool as a cucumber...who knows why cucumbers are cool"? This was the question Chef Michelle posed to our young culinary class and the answer that I gave him was that cucumbers are generally 20 degrees cooler internally than their external temperature. Once he realized that I had the answer because of a friend in a previous class he deemed me as sneaky. He also said that might be a quality that would be advantageous to me later in my career.

Regardless of the Frenchman's commentary on my means of satisfying his curiosity, the humble cucumber has been a favorite vegetable of mine since that exchange. We enjoy them now at Jim 'N Nick's in salads and also have a particularly satisfying salad of cucumber, tomato and red onion marinated in our vinaigrette that is a favorite of our summer time offerings.

The snapshot attachesd is of a myriad variety of cucumbers harvested from Jones Valley Urban Farm. These beauties are on their way to becoming bread and butter slices that will crown a feast of whole hog barbecue. They are crisp and refreshing but at the same time a perfect canvass for sweetness and acidity to cut right through rich, meaty, whole hog barbeuce. The bonus that they are local and from our friends at Jones Valley just adds to why they are so special and why we should appreciate their summer time offering.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Local Yokels

This post is a little late but recently I had the opportunity to enjoy some tomatoes from the Mt. Laurel outpost of the Jones Valley Urban Farm. Heirloom tomatoes for me are representative of all that is good about local, sustainable food that has a history. When the summer sun is at its fiery peak and the rain is lacking just enough you take the rich soil of Alabama's black belt and get some tomatoes that are so sweet, so meaty and have this acidity that is so perfect you don't want anything to eat but tomatoes. They are the crown jewel of the season that gives us our best produce of the whole year.
I can't finish this post without again giving note to Jones Valley Urban Farm. The work being done there by Edwin Marty may prove to be one of the most dynamic and influencing factors in the food culture of Birmingham and the South that has come about to date. I don't doubt that the good work done there will soon impact the whole nation. Check them out at

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Here's to the Hops!

Need a good reason to have a beer? Neither do we! But just in case you do check out the Music City Brewer's Festival in Nashville, TN. The festival supports the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee which does awesome work. We'll be there showing our support by serving up some Q and we all know that nothing compliments some tender smoky meat like a frothy head on a tall, cold beer.
Check it out,

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Spread the Love

It seems that there is a kind of renaissance happening with pimento cheese. For whatever reason the mainstay of church picnics and ladies luncheons has gained popularity amongst chefs and foodies and it seems that everyone now wants to cast their vote as to what the best recipe is. People are debating over sharp or mild cheese, pimentos from a jar or fresh roasted peppers, spicy or not and on into the most appropriate method of consumption. For what it's worth in this little meditation, I don't care to debate over who's better and who's best.

The pimento cheese dialog going on right now has me thinking about something James Beard said. He observes, "Food is our common ground, a universal experience". I think that pimento cheese, from all walks, deserves a spot on the table of the common ground of our universal experience. The greatness of pimento cheese lies in it's diversity. It's not unique to one racial or ethnic group. The flavors are as unique as the people who craft their individual recipes. When someone offers up a bowl of pimento cheese at a social gathering or an intimate meal then the occasion immediately becomes comfortably special. Just thinking about pimento cheese sort of conjurs up the images of easy afternoons with some saltines, sweet tea and conversations that can drift off in any direction. Those are the times we find our common ground.

Inside the walls of our restaurant we certainly have our recipe and reasons for making pimento cheese the way we do but once it leaves the kitchen we hope the tables it occupies are places where folks can have those easy experiences that make life a little richer. We also hope that wherever people are in the pimento cheese conversation they will help spread the love to just a few more folks.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Great Debate

In the aftermath of the 4th of July the great debate of what barbecue is best has been on my mind. My simple answer is all of it. I love pulled pork, beef brisket, chicken, sausage and all the rest of the meaty morsels that time, patience and smoke turn into magical gems. But I also like to look around and see what folks eat when barbecue is in the spotlight of a major pork holiday or when the occasion may call for something more than the humble sandwich. The obvious cut that comes to my mind is the spare rib. Taken from the same part of the animal that the king of cured Southern meats comes from you get a case study in rich, tender, full flavored pork. By the way, I'm referencing bacon there although some folks would make an argument for country ham. The first bite of a spare rib that is perfectly caramelized by fire and smoke on the surface is like meeting the love of your life again for the very first time. The perfect mahogany crust that yields to the rich, tender meat between the bones is to me the pitmasters culinary opus that calls me back time and again despite the conventional wisdom of my doctor telling me to trade porcine pleasure for a salad and a membership at the YMCA.
The debate will rage on and opinions are as numerous as the barbecue pits painted across the landscape of the South. As a good pilgrim on the barbecue trail I'll keep my prejudices at bay as I eat my way forward but I'll make sure to request a side of spare ribs where ever the noble bones are offered. Next time you stop by one of our little spaces in the world feel free to weigh in.

Friday, June 19, 2009

More Shots From the Apple...

Some visual evidence of what happened on Madison Avenue...

Back From The Apple

Thousands of sausage liks and hundreds of pounds of pimento cheese later, the little rag tag group of Jim 'N Nick'sters are back from the Apple. A lot of fun, a lot of friends and a whole lot of smoke later the report is that New Yorker's not only were interested in the pimento cheese and sausage but they loved it! Combine the barbecue tradition of hotlinks with the staple of the Southern lunch table, pimento cheese and you get a sort of magical tradition with a twist that had people from all walks letting us know that they were converts looking for a reservation at Table 58.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ready or Not...

Well, here's the rig just seconds before hitting the road for the Big Apple. Ironically it's only seconds after all necessary construction was finished. Eleventh hour, maybe but hey you can't rush barbecue.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Say Hello to My Little Friend

You gotta have a big mule to pull a big waggon. Here's a shot of the new mule that's going to be hauling the rig to the Big Apple Block Party. So what does the rig look like? Wait and see but bottom's a big waggon.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Jim 'N Nick's Smokin' at the Whole Hawg Happenin'

This weekend, May 15th and 16th, Jim 'N Nick's among others will be firing up the rig at the Whole Hawg Happenin' in Atlanta. Local Owner, Brian Lyman and the Atlanta gang will be hosting a pitmaster dinner at the Jim 'N Nick's located on South Cobb drive featuring the likes of Ed Mitchell from The Pit in Raleigh, NC; Sam Huff from Sam's Lost Mountain BBQ in Atlanta and I'll have the honor of representing Jim 'N Nick's. Dinner is sure to be a party and the Happenin' to follow on Saturday will serve up, "everything but the squeal" as our buddy Ed Mitchell likes to say. Read more about the event at, check back here after the event for a full report from the JNN rig.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Slow Smoked, Slow Food, Slow Down...

A whole smoked hog, an organic urban garden and the attention to where our food comes from all add up to a Southern Slow Food Fair. Jim 'N Nick's is proud to be serving a whole Berkshire hog at the Southern Slow Food Fair at Jones Valley Urban Farm this Sunday May 3rd. The story of where food comes from will be told through the lens of how great ingredients are crafted with care into edible memories. A good time will be had by all so y'all come, Sunday May 3rd from 4 - 7 PM.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Smoke on the Plains

The two crown jewels of Southern culture are arguably food and music. The two of them individually have the power to bring people together in fellowship and celebration but when you put them together, you're just can't help but feel like you are a little closer to heaven. This past weekend Jim 'N Nick's had the great pleasure of serving all the good folks behind the scenes at the Sticks country music festival outside of Auburn, AL. Volunteers, producers and even the stars themselves helped themselves to the tender, smoky goodness of our barbecue while melodies from the biggest names in country music painted their way over the landscape. Wash the whole experience down with some of Mudbone's Homegrown Hopshine and you can't help but want to put your feet up on the porch rail. A country Woodstock? I'm pretty sure nobody ate that good at Yasgur's farm.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q headed to the Big Apple!

Jim 'N Nick's has been honored with an invitation to the Big Apple Barbeque Block Party, here are some details of the event. Check it out and watch for more updates to come.

7th Annual Snapple Big Apple Barbeque Block Party

June 13 – 14, 2009
Noon – 6pm
Madison Square Park
New York City

The Big Apple Barbeque Block Party brings together 14 of the nation’s top pit-masters who come together to cook of their unique, specialty barbeque item.

The plates at the event are sold for $8.00 and each day includes live demonstrations along with an assortment of live music to serve as the backdrop entertainment in the Park.
All proceeds from the event go to the Madison Square Park Conservancy.

The 14 selected Pitmasters are:

Drew Robinson Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q
Ken Callaghan from Blue Smoke
Patrick Martin, Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint
Michael Rodriguez, The Salt Lick BBQ
Joe Duncan, Baker’s Ribs
Ed Mitchell, The Pit
Jimmy Hagood, BlackJack BBQ
John Stage, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
John Wheeler, Rack & Soul
Pete Daversa, Hill Country
Chris Lilly from Big Bob Gibson’s Bar-B-Q
Garry Roark, Ubon’s “Champion’s Choice”
Ed Wilson, Wilson’s Barbeque
Mike Mills, 17th Street Bar & Grill

Jim ‘N Nick’s will be serving our smoked sausage with fresh pimento cheese on a saltine.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

East Bound and Down in Dega

"Seriously" I'm thinking to myself while we're pulling pork and making barbecue sandwiches in the garage where all the Nascar greats have been at one time or another at the Talladega Superspeedway. I'm not even a Nascar fan but this is cool. But as cool as it is there are some ironies as well. The event we're serving is a half marathon footrace on the legendary track usually inhabited by stock cars that travel so fast the hardly touch the ground. And in a place where speed is king we're serving pork shoulders cooked as slowly as we can possibly cook them. So what's all this for? To raise money for prostate cancer research. The whole event was awsome and slightly dichotomous at the same time. Sweet home Alabama??? Most definitley.

I would certainly be remiss not to mention that this happeninig took place because of Jim 'N Nick's good friend Valerie McLean, owner of The Trak Shak. She's a lady that certainly realizes great ideas turned into reality always go better with barbecue.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Welcome to the Table.

Table 58. It's where we eat lunch and dinner. Research is discussed and developments are made. Happy hour is always on schedule. Tough decisions are finalized and lighthearted decisions are listened to with careful attention. We take our greatest pleasure in celebrating life's most ordinary moments here. It's our family table in the home that we all work to grow and build everyday. It's in the spirit of the family table that we have launched this blog. This is our virtual table to gather at and tell the tales that weave together as our family story.

Just like the real Table 58, some stories are told at odd hours, all stories are told at most hours and odd stories are told at all hours. We're not waiting for anyone but everyone is invited. When you've got time, pull up a chair and see what's going on at the moment and what you might have missed in the moments past.