It was a Tuesday night in Seattle – a night I suspect is always a little difficult to get folks in the doors of restaurants in the city. So who’d’ve expected a side-of-the-road joint like Jack’s BBQ – a few miles south of the center of the city, tucked in the southwestern shadow of the I-5/I-90 interchange would be packed? Not this gal! After noshing away on Tuesday-night beef ribs and a medley of Texas barbecue inspired menu items, however, I learned that Jack’s has a secret sauce that lures barbecue-hungry diners in. A secret recipe, of sorts. There’s also got to be a bit of a magnetic pull that draws folks to Jack like the Pied Piper of Pork. But it’s not really their sauce or even their rub that’s the real secret. It’s probably not their pillowy hush puppies either. It’s the magic dust of having what makes a place feel just right even before you’ve taken your first succulent bite.
Enter Jack: Former Microsoft tech-guy turned barbecue master. He’s lanky and tall and spent the summer of 2012 at a barbecue summer camp hosted by Texas A&M’s Meat Sciences department. Silly me – I didn’t even know meat sciences were a thing! He then poured his soul into learning all he could from the best barbecue spots in Central Texas to bring back to our city and began the Seattle Brisket Experience.
Jack’s BBQ opened quietly in late 2014 to salivating locals hungry for a true Central Texas experience. And he did not disappoint. His 16-hour smoked brisket has a pink ring brighter than Tammy Faye Baker’s lips. Is the secret in the baste? The rub? Neither – it’s just salt and pepper! The meat itself is tender, succulent, and so much more than “melt-in-your-mouth” could describe. This just may be the new holy grail of barbecue in Seattle. Couple this meaty delight with smoked chicken thighs and top it with sauce made from smoked peppers and tomatoes and all you need is a tall Fort George Vortex IPA (on tap, of course) to seal the deal.
Jack closes his doors Sundays and Mondays (everybody needs to rest, right?) and offer his Flinstonesque beef ribs only on Tuesdays (pre-order here). Their meaty menu’s big and delicious – like their ribs – but don’t forget to save room for dessert. I’m a huge lover of pecan pie, but apparently was done a disservice by growing up in Eastern Washington instead of Texas. Jack’s 1996 Texas State Fair Champion pecan pie is a beautiful marriage of not-too-sweet caramel with an abundance of savory pecans. And his pralines? Heavenly enough for a second visit.