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Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q: Low and Slow

By Elisha Neubauer

Jim 'N Nicks BBQ began its tradition of cooking "low and slow" in 1985 when Nick Pihakis and his father Jim took over an old dry cleaner on Clairmont Avenue in Birmingham, AL and decided to open the first ever Jim 'N Nicks Bar-B-Q. Today, Jim 'N Nicks restaurants have expanded to 7 states with 34 separate locations.

Marketing Director Rosie Pihakis explains, "The secret to good Bar-B-Q is cooking it slowly. We like to say we cook our BBQ "Low and Slow." We smoke our meats continuously around the clock each day- any of the meats you eat at our restaurants are fresh out of the smoker."

Jim 'N Nicks takes pride in serving only the best quality meats, cooked to precision. In each location the local owners are taught the recipes and techniques that they then pass on to their cooks and pit-masters. Pihakis says that, to be successful, one must, "preserve and perfect the old ways, while always trying to blaze new trails."

In order to continue serving only the best meats, Jim 'N Nicks created the "Fatback Pig Project:" a collaboration that increases access to the pasture-raised, heritage breed pork that they serve at Jim 'N Nick restaurants. One of the goals of the Fatback Pig Project is to establish an infrastructure where feed, breed, growing environment, and antibiotic usage are controlled, which, in turn, gives the consuming public a higher quality of pork for their meals.

Almost as important as the meat served by Jim 'N Nicks is its impact on the community. Jim 'N Nick's supports local charities related to children's education, health and wellness, and local farming.

The restaurant has also been named Best Taste/Most Popular by Taste of Atlanta from 2007 to 2014. In 2012, they earned the Best Pulled Pork Sandwich by Southern Living Magazine and in 2013 Nation's Restaurant News selected Jim 'N Nicks as one of the 50 "Breakout Brands" to be featured in the NRN 50 issue in January. According to Pihakis, "NRN is the leading restaurant trade publication and we were honored to be included!"

Jim 'N Nicks has been open for 30 years and in that time, they have amassed some crowd favorite recipes. Pihakis says that the pulled pork sandwich is a staple, and that "people LOVE our cheese biscuits." If you can't decide what to order, Mr. Jim's Deluxe Combo includes one of each kind of meat, so you can try everything!

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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