The time had finally come for me to try this place that I kept hearing about. Especially since Man vs. Food guy recently had a Des Moines episode where the challenge came from that joint. Of course I wouldn't be doing that Adam Emmenecker challenge like dude did though. Namely because I don't like anything that has tenderloin in and/or on it. But folks had been telling me about this spot over by Drake for a minute so I had to check it out for myself.
Before I went, I sent out a feeler on The Book to get recommendations from folks as to what I should order. I got quite the mixed bag. My buddy Wahl was adamant about the fact that I should avoid it altogether and go to Smoke D's for some real barbecue. That name alone had me curious. And the fact that it came recommended from Wahl who really knew how to throw down on some 'que was impressive. Still, the other comments had me intrigued enough to stay the course with Jethro's.
The decor was not what I expected at all. That was pretty stupid on my part though. It's named after a country hick from "The Beverly Hilbillies" (at least that's my take). The picture on their sign even looked redneck-ish. Did I really expect it to be anything else but your standard wooden booths and chairs that you see in every barbecue joint?
Someone told me to go for the brisket. Then someone immediately afer that suggested that I stay away from the brisket altogether. I was curious because it has been a while since I had brisket anyway. But then I had other folks continually reminding me of Jethro's wings. Ultimately, I thought the best test of their barbecue ability would to go with the old reliable and just get ribs. It wasn't one of my better decisions.
If I didn't know any better, I'd say those ribs were undercooked. I didn't recognize it at first because I had so much sauce on them. And the thing was the sauce itself wasn't even that good. It was a little too much honey-based for me. As I started to get sick later, I started recalling that they did look a little more pink than pork should. Maybe next time (if there is a next time) I will just stick to the wings like several people recommended.
What was right on the money was Jethro's side dishes. That jalapeno creamed corn was off the CHAIN! I've always been a fan of creamed corn anyway and don't eat it nearly enough. For them to have a homestyle version with jalapeno flavor was right on point. Their mac and cheese was also surprisingly good. Of course not as good as you would get from Mom's on Thanksgiving, but definitely better than your normal BBQ joint mac and cheese. Even their conrbread was incredible. I just wish they provided a bigger portion of it or at least gave you more than one. I could see going to Jethro's to just order their sides, much like I do with Popeyes and their red beans and rice.
The service there could have been better. I'm basing that relative to how busy they were. I went Friday evening just before 5pm and the place was virtually empty. There was a family of four and one other couple there besides me and that was it. But the establishment still appeared to have a full staff as though maybe they were still anticipating that Friday night dinner rush that was yet to come. If that was the case, they should have warmed up better. It took a minute for the waitress to come take my order after I was seated. Then she didn't promptly fill my water glass after it had been empty for too long. Or maybe they just heard about me and my tipping ways? That would explain the undercooked meat...
All in all, Jethro's wasn't all it was cracked out to be. I guess the mixed reviews I was getting were right on the money. It wasn't like it was all that bad, but it wasn't like it was all that good either. If I do go there again it would only be to see what those wings are like. And you can bet I'll be getting some of those sides with it. I'll just have to make sure to have my Tums at the ready.