Food & Drink

New barbecue restaurant offers generous portions. And then there is the Beast Challenge

At TK Grill & Barbeque, the meals are food-truck tested, tried and true.

Large, tasty portions, smoked right on the premises, make TK Grill a meat lover’s dream.

The initials TK come from Traveling Kitchen, operated by Gretta and Jimmey Shelton since December 2012.

In their first year, they took their servings on the road in a 16-foot food truck.

“Peggy’s Corral in Palmetto is where we got our start and built our following,” Jimmey Shelton said.

In that first year, they also supplied Motorworks Brewing in downtown Bradenton.

The couple eventually traded up to a 32-foot food truck, and on Jan. 3, they opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant at 4927 96th St. E., also known as Moccasin Wallow Road.

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Emily Kohler serves the house special pulled pork platter with black beans and rice for $8.99 at TK Grill & Barbeque. The raw onions on top are optional. James A. Jones Jr.

The food truck? It’s still in service on the road, catering and serving at special events.

“It was like a blessing,” Gretta Shelton said of the restaurant location the couple found while looking for a home in the Moccasin Wallow area.

“We saw a shopping center being built, and it hit us right in the face that this was the right place,” she said, adding that Corporate Ladder Brewery is next door in the shopping center.

Jimmey and Gretta were childhood friends in their Pahokee hometown and got married 30 years later after reconnecting on Facebook.

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Jimmey and Gretta Shelton opened TK Grill & Barbeque at 4927 96th St. E., Palmetto in January. provided photo

Jimmey Shelton’s passion for cooking brought the couple into the food truck business and eventually into opening their own restaurant.

“We took a leap of faith and here we are,” Gretta Shelton said.

Among the most-popular items on the menu are the house special pulled pork platter with black beans and rice, served with the Shelton’s signature Wah-Sum barbecue sauce and a potato roll for $8.99.

Also at the top of the list is the slow-smoked brisket, served with the Wah-Sum sauce on a sandwich for $11.99 or plate for $14.99, Jimmey Shelton said.

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Jimmey Shelton prepares the house special pulled pork platter with black beans and rice at TK Grill & Barbeque. James A. Jones Jr.

TK Grill’s meats are smoked 12 to 14 hours in a 400-pound smoker, using pellets for fuel rather than gas or electricity.

The Shelton’s Wah Sum barbecue sauce has proven so popular that they have started bottling and selling it.

Other sandwich or plate offerings include slow-cooked pork, Cuban sandwiches, cheesesteaks and grilled chicken. Also on the menu are hot dogs, burgers, BLTs, a black bean burger and veggie wrap.

Daily dinner specials are offered Monday through Friday starting at 4 p.m. until KT Grill runs out.

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TK Grill & Barbeque prepares its meat in a 400-pound smoker in the restaurant at 4927 96th St. E., Palmetto. James A. Jones Jr.

And there’s something else about TK Grill & Barbeque that you should know. It’s called TK’s Beast Challenge. If you can eat this gargantuan meal in 20 minutes, it’s on the house.

Otherwise the price is $24.99.

The Beast Challenge includes a 10-ounce Angus burger, brisket, pulled pork, grilled boneless chicken thighs, served with Wah-Sum sauce over a bed of French fries and onion rings with sides of cole slaw and potato salad.

Thus far, only three of the 43 diners who have accepted the Beast Challenge can say mission accomplished.

In addition to the satisfaction of completing the challenge, their photos are displayed on the wall at TK Grill.

During the summer, TK Grill and Barbeque is open from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. from Tuesday-Saturday and closed Sunday and Monday. TK returns to normal hours in August: noon-7 p.m. Sunday, 4-9 p.m. Monday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.

For more information, call 941-722-4111. TK Grill has Facebook and Instagram pages. Their website is under construction.