Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fat Jack's Smokestack BBQ- Baldwin,FL

Fat Jack's is on Highway 301 between I-10 and Highway 90, partially hidden by a tall row of pine trees that separates it from the "City Limits Mobile Home Park" of Baldwin. Judging by it's looks and surroundings, I wasn't expecting much when I stopped in for lunch. There sure enough was a smokestack, a pile of wood out front, and a little bit of smoke floating in the blue sky-all good signs.

The inside eating area is separated into two rooms with about 8 tables in each. On this day, they were about half full. One waitress was handling all the tables, and doing a remarkably good job. Our order was quickly taken, and appeared at the table several minutes later.

I had chosen the Pork Sampler, which comes with ribs, sliced pork and chopped pork. I rounded it out with sides of cole slaw and fries. This heap of food served on a pizza tin could probably satisfy two smaller appetites, and splitting the $15 price tag might be nice too. But I was hungry, so I dug in. The fries were hot and the cole slaw was perfect. Getting to the meat of the platter, there was good, better and best. The thinly sliced pork had a huge smoke ring and taste to match. It was pretty dry though, and needed sauce to wash it down with. The ribs were not dry. Tender, juicy and well-seasoned (a bit heavy on pepper for me), they would have been a good meal in themselves. But by far the winner of the three was the chopped pork. Bits of blackened crust mingled with moist chunks of perfectly smoked meat made this my favorite. Next, I sampled all three sauces. The dark one being sweet complemented the ribs very nicely. The other two were similar mustard based sauces, with one seeming to be a hotter variation of the other. Both worked well with the sliced pork. The chopped needed no sauce at all, so I didn't ruin it.

Fat Jack's SmokeStack BBQ on UrbanspoonEven though by now I've realized you can find good barbecue in the most unlikely places, this one still managed to surprise me. I definitely will visit again when I'm in the area.


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