By Gary Nager

I have only know Ace “Uncle Bo” Jenkins for a few months, but not only he is a friendly and genuine guy, he also serves some of the best BBQ I’m almost certain you haven’t yet tried…that is, unless you’ve driven by his roadside stand on S.R. 54 less than a half-mile east of the northernmost entrance to Meadow Pointe. It’s a little far away for some New Tampa residents, but if you live north of Cross Creek Blvd. — or anywhere in New Tampa, really — it’s worth the trip!

Ace keeps his smoker working its magic on the road every day (yes, on Sundays, too), noon-8 p.m., pumping that delicious wood-smoked aroma and plumes of smoke rising into the air in order to attract hungry drivers on their way to lunch or on their way home from work.

“The smoke and the aroma are what draws them in,” he admits. “Then, it’s up to me to keep ‘em coming back for more with great food at a great price.”

And man, does he ever deliver. I’ve mentioned in previous stories that I’m not the biggest BBQ fan in the world, but I particularly love Uncle Bo’s meaty pork ribs and sliced beef brisket, which are cooked and smoked without sauce and then served just drizzled with his awesome homemade slightly-sweet, slightly-spicy sauce. If you need extra sauce, he’s happy to oblige, but I, for one, appreciate that he doesn’t try to drown his delicious food in sauce.

And, you can’t beat the price, either. Three of those big ribs (or multiple slices of the beef brisket) and two sides cost just $9, or without sides, the cost is just $8. A full rack of ribs (14 bones) is just $27 and a half-rack (7 bones) will set you back $14.

Also available from Uncle Bo (which is what his nieces call him) are smoked BBQ pork or chopped smoked sausage on a bun ($6) or his awesome daily chicken special of a leg quarter and two sides for just $5! You also can get a five-dinner family feast (the rib orders come with two bones each), with each dinner served with sides, for only $34. A la carte side dishes (the homemade baked beans and cole slaw are my faves; although the potato salad is good, too) are just $1 apiece and you simply have to wash his delicious food down with a glass of his homemade sweet tea, which also costs just $1. Pepsi Cola products and bottled water also are available for just $1.

In other words, you can’t get better food from a better guy at a better price. And, while Ace doesn’t have 20 years of restaurant experience, he does know what he’s doing and enjoys his customers as much as he enjoys the business. He notes that he got into the BBQ biz by necessity, after his wife had suffered multiple strokes in 2009 and 2010 and he had to leave his full-time job to care for her.

He originally was located on S.R. 54 on the other side of I-75, near Wesley Chapel Honda, but decided to move further down 54 last October, when the construction between I-75 and Curley Rd. cut his business in half. Take a little ride, New Tampa!

Uncle Bo’s Smokin’ BBQ is open every day, noon-8, on S.R. 54, just east of Meadow Pointe, next to Payless Homes. For more information, call Ace at 732-4136 and please tell him we sent you!

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