This is always a welcome sign when I roll up to a barbecue joint, and this greeted me at Gilbert’s Social on Amelia Island, Florida.
Gilbert’s Social is owned and operated by Chef Kenny Gilbert. I was eager to try this place because I was impressed with Chef Gilbert’s run on Top Chef (Season 7 in Washington, DC). I was intrigued when I read that he was developing a “North Florida regional barbecue style.” I had to try it!
Gilbert’s Social is a fun space and the décor gives the vibe that you’re chilling in someone’s home. Though barbecue is a key part of the restaurant’s menu, there are additional creative southern dishes served. Chef Gilbert warmly greeted me and graciously spent some time talking barbecue with me.
Chef Gilbert then gave me the full tour of my northern Florida barbecue special:
I’m not going to give my typical rundown because I’m writing about this experience in my book. I will highly recommend the alligator ribs, the jerk chicken, pork spareribs, and pulled turkey drumsticks. The side dishes are quite good with the field peas and the potato salad being quite spectacular. I finished this meal with a decadent, warm chocolate bourbon pecan pie with some ice cream.
Later that night, I went to a Jacksonville, Florida favorite–Jenkins Quality Barbecue. I was too stuffed to get a full meal, so I just got a slab of ribs. At Jenkins, ribs are laid upon several pieces of white bread and drenched in a mustard-spiked sauce. Man, what it tasty. I think this video says it all: