Earlier this week, I made the trek to Rendon to try out the new Jambo’s BBQ Shack, which is run by champion barbecuer, founder of Jambo’s Pits and competitor on TLC’s BBQ Pitmaster show Jamie Geer. Jambo’s opened earlier this summer in a small tin building recently vacated by That Clucken Chicken.
I ordered a two-meat plate with a mix of moist and lean brisket and pork ribs. I passed on the kielbasa-style pork sausage, which the restaurant has sent in, in favor of a pulled pork sandwich.
Obviously, Geer knows what he’s doing, as evidenced by all the awards he has on display. Oddly, he doesn’t use one of his own smokers. He uses a gas-fired wood-burning (hickory) Ole Hickory rotisserie smoker, I assume for volume.
All of the brisket had a red smoke ring on it and a layer of black peppery crust. Lean had a good flavor but portions of it were slightly dry. I preferred fatty. The generous hunks of fat added to the flavor. Most of the fat melted away in your mouth – the key word being “most.” In some places it was gummy and undercooked. A few more minutes on the smoker would have made a difference. Despite the small quibble, this was really good brisket.
St. Louis pork ribs had a smoke-y flavor and a good salt and pepper rub. But I think they came off the smoker too early. You don’t want the meat to fall off the bone too easily, but you really had to put some muscle into these.
I really liked the pulled pork sandwich. The meat was moist and smoky but not to the point of overwhelming the pork flavor. I loaded it with bread and butter pickles and a dark, robust sauce (he also offers a sweet sauce). Cole slaw wasn’t anything special but the potato salad had a nice, strong dill flavor – good ol’ fashioned potato salad.
The restaurant also serves a baked potato topped with brisket and sausage, and a five story sandwich called The Jambo Texan, made with layers of brisket, sausage, pulled pork, bologna and rib meat. It’s a novelty and impossible to eat with your hands, although Daniel Vaughn gave it a try. If anything, it’s a good way to sample each meats for $12, and that’s a steal.
Jambo’s is worth the drive to Rendon. Be sure to get there early (they open at 11am), as the restaurant often runs out of food.
Jambo’s BBQ Shack, 5460 E FM 1187, Rendon. 817-478-2277.