There are a number of notable, privately owned barbeque restaurants where I’ve loved and savored the char-grilled meals over the years. Recently, I mentioned the particular pleasure of eating steak, chicken or ribs that have been prepared over an open mesquite fire—one that barbeque lovers should aim to enjoy before one becomes diet-restricted and eventually resentful that one had not gotten around to eating their share before they have to consider their spiking cholesterol levels.
Well, I can add to my list. J.D.’s and the others that manage to draw me back again and again seem to have a few characteristics in common:
- Patrons can begin to enjoy the meal even before they enter the establishment just by driving into the parking lot. The smell of the open hardwood fire is a primal beckoning that is extremely hard to resist.
- The menu is simple; simple and unpretentious because the chef focuses on the food, the fire and the process.
- The ambience is casual.
Go to J.D.’s for seasoned hardwood fired barbeque. Don’t get all “intellectual” about this, just go!
Drive up to the parking lot and inhale the pit smoke. Be careful not to start drooling on yourself. Wait until you get inside. Pay no attention to the license plates tacked around the walls, or the lone pinball machine over in the corner, or the military photos sprinkled around the room, or the pig-themed gewgaws. These are mere distractions. Focus!
At my first visit, I ordered the beef brisket, served with garlic toast, a side of coleslaw and fries ($10). The brisket was the most flavorful and tender barbequed beef I’ve had in a very long time. It was the perfect selection for a newcomer. The accompanying sauce was rich, tart and thick with tomatoes. It had a satisfying consistency and a very pleasant mouth feel.
At my second visit, I continued with my focused approach and checked out the spare ribs (1/2 rack- $11.50). Barbeque ribs are the stuff of legends and reputations always being put to the test. In my family, we keep a close lid on our recipes, if for nothing else but to maintain a mystique among the less barbeque-gifted members. We pay attention to the details: the sauce, the fire and the cut of meat. We grill...we eat...we lick our fingers.
J.D.’s is like that. He’s obviously paid a lot of attention. The ribs were properly done (important for pork) with an outside char that was crisp and wonderfully chewy. The meat was tender and moist and balanced with a sweeter sauce than the one served with the brisket. I would expect that because pork shines with the additional sweetness in the sauce.
Both meals were served in a very casual style. And, I mean casual: you know, with the paper towels right there on the table—just like at home. But if you’d like a brew with your ‘que, I suggest you consider take-out because the restaurant only offers soft drinks and tea.
One taste of anything on the menu will have you wishing you had a pit master at home for a repeat performance. No worries. J.D.’s will cater your next party where you can pretend to be the pit master (if you can pull that one off).
In the meantime, remember they are closed on Mondays, but from Tuesday through Sunday you can drop in to see why I highly recommend this one. If you haven’t already, you will soon add it to your list of favs.