Off The Bone: Sim’s, Kent’s Offer Some of the Best BBQ in Town

Sim’s Bar-B-Que 

Sim’s has been a Little Rock barbecue icon since 1937 when it was opened by George and Allen Sims. They specialize in slow-cooked meats, including pork ribs, whole chickens, chopped or sliced brisket and more original items like barbecue salad and barbecued bologna sandwiches.  

The Plate – We tried the pork rib plate, which comes with six ribs and two sides and is served with two pieces of white bread for $8. It’s more than enough food for one person, so make sure you go famished, share with a comrade, or take the rest to go like we did.

Method – The pork ribs are dry rubbed, slowly hickory smoked, and topped with Sim’s own sauce.

Flavor + Presentation –  The ribs were amazingly tender, honestly falling right off the bone when we picked up the first one. Flanked by two slices of white bread, the ribs sat in Sim’s own sweet, brown, not-too-thick, not-too-thin sauce that didn’t overpower the smoky flavor of the meat. To accompany the ribs, we chose the turnip greens, which were some of the best we’ve ever had. Seriously, we thought about going back on a Saturday just to get some of those greens. We also tried the cool, sweet coleslaw, which provided the perfect contrast to the heat of the meat. And please don’t forget to try a peach fried pie or a slice of the homemade sweet potato pie. You won’t regret it.

Info –  1307 John Barrow Road, #A, (501) 224-2057, • Catering available
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday.

Kent’s Downtown
Kent’s is primarily a meat market, carrying a full line of raw meats, including beef brisket, chicken, turkey legs, sausages, Petit Jean meat products, pork ribs, and house-made barbecue sauces and house-made marinades. They also whip up some amazing Southern-style food, including meat loaf, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, beans, barbecued meats, turnip greens, and more.

The Plate – We chose the regular plate lunch of pork spare ribs, which comes with two “bones,” two sides and a choice of cornbread or roll for $5.95. Ronnie at Kent’s told us that if the bones are too small, they’ll give you three or four to make sure you get your money’s worth. A “hefty” plate is also available and comes with four ribs, two sides and a choice or cornbread or roll.

Method – The ribs are dry-rubbed and then hickory smoked for 2 1/2 hours at 250 degrees.

Flavor + Presentation – Our ribs were striped with two beautiful grill marks and were reclined on our plate in a pool of the house-made barbecue sauce. The meat was smoky and peppery with a slightly crunchy and sweet exterior, thanks to the rub. The sauce was sweet, hot and garlicky with a tomato base. For our sides, we chose the turnip greens, which were flavored with pork and hints of vinegar, and the beans, which were smoky and not too sweet.

Info – 400 President Clinton Ave., inside the River Market. (501) 375-1900. Catering available •  Hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday

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Sim’s Bar-B-Q
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