The red window awning facing Industrial Parkway bears a bold statement visible to all passersby: “It’s All Good.” Considering that J. Rodger’s BBQ has been open for over 30 years and has been serving dedicated and hungry diners ever since, it’s certain that, while a big claim, it’s also a true one.
Owner Josephine Rodgers is the woman behind the successful business (and deserving of subsequent bragging rights). She was inspired to open her restaurant after she retired and helped her brother establish Rodgers BBQ in Mobile. “His restaurant is a carry-out place,” says daughter Yolanda Rodgers, “so for J. Rodgers BBQ, she incorporated the recipes handed down from my grandmother and expanded the carry-out into a full-blown restaurant and soul food buffet.” The buffet is the main draw for many of the visitors (it also gets a plug on the front of the building right above the red window awning). It offers mouth-watering, classic Southern fare such as yams, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, greens, cornbread and, of course, barbecue. Each table sports a roll of paper towels in case things inevitably get messy. Lunch plates, from ribs to pulled pork sandwiches, and takeout are also available. Most customers feel that is best paired with a glass of Ms. J’s sweet tea and finished with the ever-popular homemade peach cobbler.
If the food is the top priority, relationships are a close second, restaurant to customer and vice versa. Weekly regulars known by name stop in for lunch, with calls of “See you next Wednesday!” ringing out when they leave. Josephine is never still, seeing that customers are happy and bringing out more food to replenish the buffet. Her energy doesn’t stop there; she is heavily involved in the Saraland community, even serving on the board of Saraland schools.
J. Rodgers BBQ also shares an ongoing 20-year relationship with the NFL, hosting scouts, players and coaches, who lovingly refer to Josephine as “Mom,” for lunch come the Senior Bowl. Josephine looks forward to passing the business on to her daughter and grandsons when she retires, however, she is still as busy as ever. “She needs to slow down a little bit, but that’s like telling the sun not to come out,” laughs Yolanda. Safe to say, the sun is shining in Saraland.
BBQ Rib Dinner and Peach Cobbler
On the Menu
BBQ Rib Dinner
Tender and bursting with flavor, these ribs go best with your choice of two sides and a giant slice of bread (handy for sopping up any leftover sauce).
Yo-Jo Baked Beans
J. Rodgers’ signature baked beans, named in honor of Yolanda and Josephine, contain ground beef and vegetables to create a hearty side.
Perfectly boiled potatoes (not too soft and with a little bite) mix with dressing and sweet pickles for a nostalgic Southern side.
Mac and Cheese
It’s a ‘cue classic for a reason. Creamy cheesiness compliments the tangy barbecue in a comforting balance of Southern flavors.
Warm syrupy peaches on a cinnamon-sugar crust topped with vanilla ice cream is a sweet ending to any soul food meal.
J. Rodgers BBQ • 1444 Industrial Parkway • 675-3282 • Wed – Thu 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Fri – Sat 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., closed Sun – Tue