Saturday, March 10, 2012

Papa Jones BBQ

Papa Jones BBQ and Soul Food is a Southern/BBQ dive in Tacoma, Washington. The Hilltop location opened last July and has received rave reviews. This place is named after William Jones, the man who opened Jones Original Barbeque in Seattle.

Dessert, anyone?
Papa Jones is family-run, started by Helen Alfred (who learned from Mr. Jones). Today, her children also help run the place.

So here I was, in my hotel room, checking out good places to eat. I stumbled across Papa Jones BBQ and I swear that Pavlovian salivation deal took hold. I wanted to know more. I came across an article written last August that confirmed a hot BBQ sauce. Really? A spicy hot BBQ sauce that actually registers heat? Oh, and it was merely five minutes away. That's all she wrote, fellas. (runs to car and drives off)

In-house menu
(February 2012)
The pulled pork sandwich lunch special ($7.75) called my name. A heaping pile of lightly smoky pulled pork covered in that hot BBQ sauce (you can also request mild or medium) on a dainty bun. For my side, I chose cole slaw (other options being potato salad or macaroni salad).

Pulled pork sandwich w/cole slaw
(Papa Jones BBQ)

The cole slaw was perfect in color, crunch, and taste. The peppery bite in that slaw would be worthy of a spontaneous "Amen!" shout. Consider just tossing the entire cup of that on your sandwich and be prepared to start singing a lot of gospel tunes.

The pulled pork was outstanding. Amazingly juicy and tender. I read that it's a Texas-Arkansas hybrid, using a dry rub that includes brown sugar, smoked paprika, and garlic. It's tossed in the smoker with alder and cherry wood. Sure enough, the tomato-based BBQ sauce delivered a pleasing jab of heat, enough to make me stop and savor that cayenne blast.

The only issue for me was the bun. Much too small and delicate to stand up to the pulled pork and sauce. The bottom bun virtually disintegrated at the start. A thicker bun (yet still soft or toasted) would go a long way here.

They got combo dinners, rib plates, meats a la carte, etc. So many items, but just not enough time for me to sample it all. If you want some good Southern Style BBQ, Papa Jones is a mighty fine choice! 8.25/10

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