Saturday, March 24, 2018
I needed a little bit of a break today, so I thought I might treat myself to some smoked meat therapy. Jo-Jo's Bar-B-Q up in Sherwood, AR opens their doors early at 10:30am, which made it perfect for my schedule this morning.
It's a pretty simple setup they've got going on here. Jo-Jo's occupies half of an older slant-roof building, with some sort of salon sharing the rest of the space. The joint looks about like you'd expect from a small town diner, unassuming both inside and out. Clearly not the place to go for ambiance, but then again most folks who come here probably couldn't care less.
Even though my waitress was obviously a new employee, she was very sweet and seemed to be a fast learner. I asked for a custom two-meat combo plate, but luckily for me they actually had a three-meat ribs/brisket/pork sampler on special, complete with beans and coleslaw. Sold!
The beans were nicely peppered and pleasantly acidic. I found a good crunch of onion, not to mention a spiciness that hit my tongue now and again. Not being the biggest coleslaw fan in general, I appreciated that they went a little easy on the dressing. The slaw was tasty enough for those who enjoy it, and fresh cabbage and carrots added a crisp texture.
My brisket came out chopped, even though I was told beforehand to expect slices. The waitress asked if I wanted to send it back for sliced brisket, and even though I did, I told her that it was fine as is. The brisket was loaded up with delicious, salty bark. I also noticed a decent smoke level in each bite. I couldn't see a smoke ring, but I'd rather taste smoke than see it. The beef was very tender, which you would certainly expect in its chopped form, so I can't speak to the tenderness of their sliced brisket.
The pork was also served chopped, but here I could see some pink smoke-kissed bits mixed in. Most of the pork struck me as sufficiently smoky, and I found it to be both moist and juicy. Although I didn't receive a ton of bark in my portion, what little there was I enjoyed immensely. Some well-rendered fat was a nice addition, too.
A deep reddish-black crust made me salivate at the sight of Jo-Jo's ribs. They were visibly smoky, to say the least. Minimalist seasoning allowed the natural pork to stand out, which I generally prefer. The ribs were a little overcooked, though not quite falling-off-the-bone, and still juicy. Three bones were plenty, considering how much other food there was on my plate.
Jo-Jo's is the kind of place where the food speaks for itself, no frills offered or needed. That's just what you want from a barbecue joint. With tax, my three-meat combo and a sweet tea only ran me $12.00! It's hard to beat that kind of a deal.
117 Country Club Rd
Sherwood, AR 72120