Slow-cooked barbecue. This sounds very tempting and can obviously satisfy your umami taste. At Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, you won’t get disappointed. But does it offer something for vegans like you?
Depending on each location, Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q mostly offers dishes that contain meat and dairy products. It’s popular for its slow-smoked barbecue in hickory wood and its cheese biscuits, major reasons for repeat customers. While it’s not really a vegan restaurant, thankfully, there are a few items on the menu that can be useful in the event that you’ll get stuck in one of its locations in the U.S.
Let’s talk about that famous barbecue and Jim ‘N Nick’s other vegan-friendly options.
Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, Smokin’ Since ’85
In 1985 at Birmingham, Alabama, father and son Jim and Nick Pihakis rolled up their sleeves and started its barbecue joint with a commitment to go the extra mile in serving its customers and the community. On Clairmont Avenue in Birmingham where an old pizza shop used to stand, the father and son duo opened Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q.
To this date, they have grown their used-to-be small barbecue joint to 38 locations throughout seven different states. Jim ‘N Nick’s is committed to delivering fresh dishes daily by working on them as early as they can. What’s more interesting is that they don’t own freezers and ovens in any of their shops.
Their dishes are made from scratch every day using only fresh ingredients to ensure that each item on the menu delivers the real-time Jim ‘N Nick’s original flavor. The restaurant is popular for its smoked sandwiches, barbecue, cheese biscuits, and ribs.
According to AL, Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q takes time in cooking its ribs, which includes 10 long hours of brining, four hours of slow-smoking as well as basting of their barbecue sauce. The restaurant reportedly serves around 10,000 lbs of pork and 30,000 cheese biscuits daily.
Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q is also committed to helping its community through partnerships with organizations such as No Kid Hungry, Symphony 30, Camp Smile-A-Mile, Magic Moments, the Bell Center, Jones Valley Teaching Farm, MS Society, among others.
Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q is also open for catering to big events, offers to take out or dine-in, and drive-thru. It also offers Gift Cards to its loyal customers.
Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q Vegan Alternatives
Since Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q isn’t a vegan restaurant, it can be a challenge if you end up dining in one of their spots either in Alabama or in its neighboring states. However, there are a few choices that are accidentally vegan and some items that you can ask to modify.
Its menu and prices may also vary by location, so be sure to check on them when you set foot in one of their locations. Most of their dishes are made with meat and dairy products. So we have to skip them, and only include the accidentally and possibly vegan-friendly items on the menu.
Additionally, for gluten-sensitives out there, Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q has warned that they cannot avoid cross-contact with other allergens while cooking despite taking precautions. Their kitchen shares the same cooking equipment, and oils and other ingredients might be cross-contaminated. Always talk to the restaurant managers on-site.
- Onion Rings. This is hand-breaded and deliciously crispy served in either half or full basket.
Salads, Soups, And Potatoes
- Chopped Southern Salad. This is usually served with smoked chicken, cheddar cheese, and bacon alongside smoked onions and sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumber, almonds, homemade croutons, and tossed in a homemade vinaigrette. Well, it’s always harmless to ask if you can skip those three main ingredients, and opt for the rest. But you can also check with them if they have vegan cheese instead.
Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q includes meat with dairy products in most of their dishes, but its Trimmings menu looks hopeful for vegans and gluten-sensitive folks. By the way, the staff at every location is conscious of their customers’ dietary restrictions. So, you can always ask them about what you need and what you can’t have.
Some of these trimmings may include mayo, cheese, or dressings that are not suitable for vegans. Be sure to talk to the crew because they know what to do with your orders.
- Baked Beans
- Gluten-Free Potato Salad
- Gluten-Free Coleslaw
- Gluten-Free Collard Greens
- French Fries
- Gluten-Free Fresh Fruit
- Gluten-Free Not-So-Naked Potato
- House Salad
With Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q desserts, we’re hoping we can still have one of them that’s safe for vegans. I’m sure you already know what to do.
- Banana Pudding
- Mable’s Homemade Pies. It’s available in a slice and whole pie with three different flavors.
- Lemon Ice Box
- Chocolate Cream
When it comes to their dressings, you may also need to ask how they were prepared to ensure that they don’t include dairy. These three dressings below are traditionally vegan, but remember that it always depends on how they were made.
- Bar-B-Q Ranch
Top Vegan Restaurants In The U.S.
As I’ve said earlier, there are not many vegan options that Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q offers, especially because their specialty dishes are meat-based with dairy products, But don’t fret just yet. There are many vegan barbecue restaurants in the U.S. that you can count on.
These vegan restaurants are even recommended by PETA so we can always get an assurance that we’re eating the right way. Check these smoking vegan barbecue spots that you can visit soon.
- Boss ChickNBeer in Cleveland, Ohio. Try its famous Vegan Chili Dawg made with tofu planks.
- Compton Vegan in Los Angeles, California. Its food truck is everywhere in SoCal offering delicious vegan barbecue ribs, grilled hot links, and fried shrimp.
- Grass VBQ Joint in Atlanta, Georgia. It doesn’t disappoint when it comes to its year-round VicRiib Sandwich. Try it!
- Homegrown Smoker in Portland, Oregon. Yes, they know what to do with their smoked meat, but we know it’s not sourced from animals, and we’re living for it!
- Imagine Vegan Cafe in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis has a great reputation when it comes to barbecue, and so does the vegan alternative. Check it out!
- Kale My Name in Chicago, Illinois. You will have to try its The Big Daddy Special that’s made with Beyond Sausages in a tasty bun with grilled onions, mustard, relish, and a delicious side of fries.
- Lovin’ Spoonfuls in Tucson, Arizona. All hail to its famous vegan BBQ sandwich with flavors like chicken, beef, and more.
- Monks Meats in Brooklyn, New York. If you’re visiting Brooklyn, its Carolina-style pulled oyster mushrooms and Mesquite-smoked seitan are a must-try.
- Seitan’s Realm in Columbus, Ohio. Its vegan barbecue, burger, and Buffalo chicken are definitely a must-have.
- Southern Fried Vegan. With multiple locations, Southern Fried Vegan has a great reputation when it comes to its Smoked Pulled Porq Sandwich. They’re based in San Diego, by the way.
- The Southern V in Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville is winning on this vegan spot that offers delicious vegan burgers, fried chicken as well as Southern-style breakfast.
- Vegan Mob in Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose, California. It’s famous for its classic barbecue brisket, rib tips, fried shrimp, and links with delicious vegan mac and cheese and amazing smoky collard greens.
- Veggie Grill. They have several locations in the country offering their delicious vegan burger. They also have a Summertime Plant-Based BBQ Kit that you can get in the summer season.
How Does Barbecue Become Vegan?
You might be wondering how vegan restaurants cook barbecue or other dishes that give that barbecue flavor. While there are other spots that make their own vegan barbecue flavoring, some joints use ready-made brands that are accessible at the supermarkets.
Liquid smoke, also called natural smoke flavor, is a type of barbecue or bacony flavor enhancer that’s made with salt, garlic, sugar, onions, vinegar, and water. It’s made through burning chips at high temperatures under hickory, pecan, or mesquite hardwood.
The condensed smoke particles that it produces become concentrated, which is the result of the barbecue smell and flavor. It’s naturally vegan as it’s made from plain water and smoke although other manufacturers include seasonings that are also vegan-friendly.
If you’re curious about ready-made liquid smoke brands, here’s a list of some of our personal favorite brands that give the best umami taste for our barbecue cravings. These are also available on Amazon so if you want to try, go hit them up!
- Wright’s Liquid Smoke Applewood, Hickory, and Mesquite
- Colgin Liquid Smoke
- Stubbs Hickory Liquid Smoke
The Bottom Line
Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q might be one of the reputable restaurants in the country, but it’s not a great destination for vegans due to its very few vegan-friendly options. However, if found yourself in one of their locations, their restaurant managers are conscious about dietary restrictions that you can always ask for help.
Otherwise, there are too many vegan barbecue joints around where you can indulge yourself guilt-free. Feel free to check them out, especially our comprehensive list because they’re worth your time and money. What matters is we eat healthily and in a vegan way.