Texas Jack’s Barbecue, Arlington VA

I know what you’re thinking:  Barbecue — in Arlington?!  Well, it just goes to show:  You shouldn’t judge based on your preconceptions.  That’s right:  Texas Jack’s does good ‘Cue.

If you don’t know where Arlington is, “Pentagon” and “Blast Radius” may remind you.  In the shadow of our nation’s capitol, this mega-suburb was originally part of the District until Virginia took it back after decades of of mismanagement and neglect.  It’s a hodgepodge of skyscrapers, hotels, million-dollar postage-stamp houses, Reagan National Airport, and more Starbucks per square mile than ought to be permitted under the Geneva Convention.  Arlington is where you live if you’re young, single, work for the government, and don’t mind sharing your apartment with sixteen other people ’cause the rent’s so damn high.

This is not the place one expects to find a pitmaster, much less one who knows his business.  Well, guess what?

Let me just start with:  DAMN good ribs, people.  Lean but not too lean, these are pork spareribs with a peppercorn rub, and they melt in your mouth.  They’re great with or without sauce, and that’s exactly what I look for.  Now, the St. Louis cut isn’t the most generous (at $37 per rack!) but the flip side is, it’s tailor-made for even cooking and hot damn weren’t they just perfect.

What else can I say?  The collards come with great ‘cue; the pulled pork is to kill for; the brisket coulda come from a Texas smoker — perfect and pink, deep smoky crust.  (Only thing I object to is, I couldn’t get a Carolina sauce for my pulled pork.)  There’s beef ribs and some amazing beef sausage that’s well worth the price of admission.  And don’t get me started on the nachos — oh dear Lord!

Now, I do need to warn you about something:  This being Arlington, well, there’s certain compromises ya just gotta make.  This place serves food, but it also serves that stuff that food eats — you know; salad.  Some of it has kale.

But no fear, barbecue fans; they won’t give you any unless you ask special for it.

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