One of the greatest things about Jack’s Bar-B-Q is that it could exist almost anywhere. It appears devoid of outside influence, perfectly at home in any city without a well defined barbecue culture. I have a hard time imagining Jack’s making it back in Kansas City. Not to mention St Louis, Memphis, either Carolina, Georgia or Texas. Though Jack’s probably owes most of its barbecue influence to Texas style meats and a St Louis-y sauce, it doesn’t have enough hallmarks of any one style to denote it as indicative of any specific region. It is simply barbecue. Another of the greatest aspects of Jacks, of course, is that it exists here, in Tucson.
Jack’s has been in business since 1950 and it’s hard to imagine that their menu has changed much over the years. They recently started serving beer which was a major plus for Cal, but didn’t really do much for me for some reason. While the actual act of barbecuing seems to call out for a beer, eating it, for me at least, does not. Cal went with the rib dinner which came with a side of beans and a huge cup of sauce. The ribs were thick and juicy though not of the “falling off the bone” variety that Cal so loved at Daisy Mae’s. The sauce at Jack’s trumps the Daisy Mae’s slop by at least three fold. It was a thin, spicy tomato based sauce that stuck to the ribs just enough to encourage a double dip. The beans were good, stewed to within an inch of their life just the way they’re supposed to be. Though Cal feels Brushfire serves superior beans I have to disagree.
I had the sliced pork dinner with beans and onion rings. The pork was well cooked though could have used a little more smoke. The aforementioned sauce was slathered all over them making a fork a necessity. The onion rings at Jack’s are perhaps the best in town. I’m not going to stand by that officially as I’m not well versed in the many offerings Tucson so graciously supplies in the onion ring department. We also split an order of sweet potato fries. As I’ve mentioned in this blog before, I’ll marry anyone who can whip up a decent sweet potato fry. I mean holy shit, have you people eaten sweet potato fries? Jack’s are well done, smartly using a skinny fry instead of a fat one. Fat sweet potato fries don’t hold up, they soak up too much grease and get real mushy.
In a nod to their Southwestern home, Jack’s also offers tacos and tostadas each with either barbecue pork or beef. They’re actually a little weird, but sometimes they cause a pretty sturdy craving.
I give Jack’s 7.5 sweet sweet potato fries. Partially because they have a port-o-potty out front next to a portable sink. Awesome, I haven’t seen that sweet a set up since the Lollapalooza with Tricky, whichever one that was.