By: Bob Gourley
There I was in Beatty after a full day of golf in Death Valley. Yes, not only is there a golf course in the national park but it is a full-length 18-hole affair with lots of grass, trees and water hazards.
Since I didn’t want to trek back to Vegas I decided to stay in the gateway town. The big question was where to eat dinner?
There was Denny’s at the Stagecoach Inn where I was staying but I wanted something else.
A couple of restaurants were closed permanently but after checking Yelp there was a lot of buzz about Smokin’ J’s Barbecue on Main Street. So, I headed there and as I entered the place the aroma of smoke filled my lungs and foretold of a tasty meal.
Décor-wise there is a western theme in the spacious dining area. A huge ceiling fan keeps things cool and the earth tones set the mood for a comfortable spot to enjoy the “Q.”
The menu is located on chalkboards that are placed just above the order counter. I noticed that prices were reasonable which is not always the case.
If you want to build your own plate, start with the amount of meat you want. It is priced by the pound. For instance, Brisket is $22.99 a pound. Pulled Pork is $16.99 a pound.
You can also buy pork spare ribs individually which is what I decided to do. Each one is priced at $2.99 with a half dozen for $14.99. With the combo plate you get two sides and a slice of white bread, just the way they do it in Texas.
The ribs were tender and had an appealing rub all around. I generally don’t like to add a lot of sauce to the meat as I enjoy the natural smoked flavor.
I made quick work of the ribs. My two sides were beans with bits of beef in them plus a generous portion of potato salad with paprika generously sprinkled on top. Pickles finished off the plate nicely.
As you would expect there is an enticing list of sandwiches. The Brisket edition is front and center along with pulled pork. But there is also a Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage sandwich for a little spice.
All of the sandwiches include bell peppers, onions and white American cheese sitting inside a hoagie roll. Burgers are also featured with options for bacon, cheese and smoked meats.
One of the things that separates BBQ restaurants are sides. They are very good here. Along with the aforementioned beans and potato salad are cole slaw and jalapeno mac and cheese that I will order next time I’m in town. French fries and onion rings are other choices.
For those who want some greens in their immediate diet there are salads with a choice of meats.
There was a great-looking cobbler that I almost ordered but after dining on the large plate I declined.
Beatty is known for being the gateway to Death Valley National Park. If you are staying there or just passing through, Smokin’ J’s Barbecue will definitely satisfy your hunger pains for lunch or dinner.
Smokin’ J’s Barbecue, Open Tuesday-Sunday 1:00-9:00PM. 107 Main St., Beatty. (775) 553-5160.