We were recently invited to the Grand Opening and ribbon cutting ceremonies at the 4 Rivers Smokehouse on Baymeadows Road. Along with the ceremony came an opportunity to sample some genuine Texan fare. Now, there are myriad BBQ restaurants in Jacksonville. Some are Carolina styled, some are local, and some are straight out of Georgia. But what makes a BBQ Texan? We wondered that as we wandered around the restaurant. Was it the Texan flag posters, the long horn decor, the plaques saying "I love you more than bacon"? Well, after tasting the rich, smokey, sweet brisket you just know you're in Texas.
There's an outdoor covered patio with fans to keep you cool in the summer and heaters for warmth in the cooler months. Inside, there's a To Go window for a quick take home meal, and there's a Sweet Shop. The Sweet Shop has Southern favorites like Red Velvet Cupcakes and Coconut Cupcakes, but there are some unique flavors like Cola and Chips, or Grapey Nehi and Nerds. For home cooks, you can purchase 4 Rivers dry rubs and BBQ sauces.
For eating in, you can choose a variety of items, but brisket is the star. You can order a lean or moist (fattier) serving of brisket. The lean was drier, but still well seasoned. The moist brisket was just as flavorful. But the swoon food for us was the smoked turkey. So moist, with a special dry rub made from seasonings such as rosemary and sage. Their secret to making a turkey moist was to brine it for 24 hours prior to cooking. It was just delicious. Sides included a nice, crunchy coleslaw with creamy dressing, cheesy grit squares, sweet and smokey baked beans, and a cream cheese stuffed jalapeno wrapped with bacon. It was spicy and smokey.
All the dishes we sampled were terrific, and made us, as the Texan saying goes, "as happy as clams at high tide."
4 Rivers Smokehouse
9220 Baymeadows Road
Mon - Thu 11am - 8pm
Fri - Sat 11am - 9pm