Feb 22 2007

My sordid lunch

I cannot explain the longing for smoked meat on a styrofoam plate that occasionally overtakes me. Rib plate with slaw and beans ($8.73) at Jim Bob’s, February 2007.

West of Austin, on a scrubby stretch of Highway 71 that connects one zillion-dollar subdivision of McTuscan villas to the next, is the dilapidated, corndoggily cow-pokey, caliche-dust-covered shack infested by Jim Bob’s Barbeque [sic]. I can recommend stopping here if you are on your way back to town from a meeting in the creepy exurb of Lakeway that dragged on until 2 o’clock and you find yourself stricken with the kind of melancholy that seeps in through esoteric crevices carved out of your obstreperal lobe by extended lunchlessness and a goddam hot flash. But know in advance that Jim Bob’s decor runs to fly-specked photographs of assassinated rattlesnakes, and that the meat plates are sauce-free.

I never met a smoked rib I didn’t like. I am tortured by it.


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  1. Pinko Punko

    As un/savory as it may sound, what you accomplished today was a pork snorkel*! Brava!

    *While generally specific to pork, may also be applied to certain other forms of pigging out.^

    ^Like “Chicken Challenge”#

    #”Chicken Challenge” most usually refers to eating a lot of fried chicken.$

    $Invariably followed by a “Run to the donuts.”

    Confession we have a pork snorkel every year on our blog birfday, and we take pictures in honor of the Twistyarchical Overlords of El Rancho Deluxe.

  2. BubbasNightmare

    The horror! The horror!

    No sauce? Purists in the extreme.

  3. thebewilderness

    It has something to do with the pickles, I think. I have never liked meat much, but when you put it with pickles, something otherworldly happens.

  4. Pinko Punko


    I have the dish for you. #40 on this menu.

    What may seem to be a mysterious thing, actually is a Thai version of braised pork leg with some chinese broccoli, and wait for it—some sort of pickled vegetable. Verdict: delicious.

  5. Sarah Z

    What’s the point of having mushy bread if there’s no sauce involved? I am confused.

  6. Pinko Punko

    Well, crap-

    #40 at this place.

  7. ew_nc

    What a completely apt name – Jim-Bob’s Barbeque. I often crave a few big ol’ Jim-Bobs that have spent many hours in hot smoke and flames.

  8. cycles

    “McTuscan.” I love it. I can’t say the word “Tuscany,” even in a geographic context, without over-aggrandizing the pronunciation and laughing inside my head to think about faux terra cotta walls and unused pizza stones in model homes. Poor Tuscany.

    That BBQ place looks like it’s the kind of joint where the wonderful cooking smells stick in your hair and clothes for hours afterward. We have several Indian restaurants around here that do that to ya. I love when it happens; it’s subtler than burping and you get to re-enjoy the dining experience every time you sniff your sleeve.

    However, while I’m not a vegetarian, I can’t handle food with bones sticking out of it. Fried chicken, whole fish, ribs, lamb chops – just can’t abide ’em. It’s this brand of gool ole hypocrisy that allows me to enjoy weiner schnitzel when it’s not called “breaded pan-fried veal.”

    Oh, and I learned from Richmond McGee that the pink flesh in slow-cooked brisket and ribs isn’t actually uncooked meat or sauce that’s been absorbed; it’s what happens to the meat proteins during that particular slow cooking process. Not that anyone asked.

  9. Sean

    Meat without sauce is like a pig without a squeal. It just ain’t right, dagnabit!

    (I think my dad used to say something like that back in Mississippi.)

  10. Twisty

    Bubbasnightmare & Sarah Z: Don’t panic. Sauce is available in squeeze bottles on all the tables.

    Pinko: what?

  11. cycles

    Oh my word, I’m such a fantastic idiot. Richmond McGee is a football player. _Harold_ McGee is the food writer. And according to Homer Simpson, Killy McGee lives in the sky.

    Carry on.

  12. bitchphd

    Aren’t hot flashes fun?

  13. Pinko Punko

    TF, tt is hard to do a series of embedded footnotes without superscripts. Footnotes of footnotes, as it were.

    Cycles, the pink on a long smoked brisket/ribs is specifically from the smoke- if you cook low and slow with no smoke, you get no pink, but with extra tasty carcinogens of smoke, you get the pinky goodness. Brisket tastes good either way, but purists love to sniff about the thickness of the smoke ring.

    I love BBQ so much, but whenever I do it I think about Al Gore being mad at me. And polar bears drowning.

  14. Twisty

    “Aren’t hot flashes fun?”

    Fuck. I’d start a Hot Flash Complainer blog, but whenever I think about hot flashes, I get one, and when I get one it’s not just a hot flash, but also some kind of ungodly 5-second suicidal micro-psychotic break. The only reason I’m alive to tell the tale is that, about the time I’m starting to think “I’d rather die screaming than feel this way even one more second,” it begins to let up. And so I live peaceably for 17 more minutes before it starts all over again.

    Fuck, here comes one now.

    Ovaries. Who knew a middle aged lesbo spinster aunt would miss’em?

  15. Mandos

    Eventually they’ll figure out a way to scan our brains and load us into computers and then you can just imagine your own ovaries and you’ll have them.

  16. CafeSiren

    Wait one flippin’ minute!

    You got all the girly stuff forcibly yanked… and you still have to put up with hot flashes?!? Something is monstrously unfair about that. But thanks to your blog, I know just who to blame.

  17. Bonnie

    I smoke a mean chicken! Got me one-a-them Brinkman water smokers. I stuff the chickens w/ apples, carrots, celery, onions, rub the outsides w/ mortar-and-pestled salt, pepper, sage, garlic powder, and whatever else is in the spice rack, and smoke ’em over apple juice. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  18. feminazi

    You crack me up. That is all.

  19. Hattie

    Hot flashes. That takes me back.

  20. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    I’ll trade endometrosis, violent mood swings, crushing fatigue and uncontrollable unhealthy cravings for hot flashes. Where do I sign up?

  21. Sylvanite

    I’m surprised it’s not Jim Bob’s Bar-B-Q. I mean, it is in Texas, right?

  22. Rita

    broccoli is misogynist.

  23. yankee transplant

    Sorry about the flashes. Pass the personal fan and wet washcloth.

  24. speedbudget

    Twisty, I just have to thank you for making an epicurean’s tour guide of Texas on your website. See, I am planning on moving to San Antonio so that my sister and I can be lesbo/straight spinster aunts living together on a big el rancho, and with your guidance here on your website, I now know all the great places to eat before having to live in the state and waste precious moments in less-than-great feedbags. Thanks again.

  25. Jodie

    Hey, I like my hot flashes — my feet have been warm all winter long for the first time in my life.

    Of course, I may be singing a different tune this summer.

  26. Frumious B

    CafeSiren: Hot flashes are the natural result of lack of girly stuff output, either b/c they stop outputting on their own or because they are no longer present to output. Unfair, yes. Unexpected, no.

  27. jrav

    Twisty – Is this the bbq place that you have to walk outside and around the alley to get to the bathrooms? I think I’ve been there. Good brisket though.

    And antoinette – I have horrible endo and after both surgeries was put on hormones that induced hot flashes. I woke up night after night having stripped down to my undies, grasping the somewhat cool wood floors. It ain’t fun.

  28. CafeSiren

    Frumious: I guess I kind of knew it was something like that. But it still seems unfair.

  29. vera

    Jodie, my reaction to hot flashes has been similiar to yours, and all my girlfriends tell me I ain’t seen nothing’ yet.

    I’m worried that I’ll be singing a different tune, too, but it will be when I break out into a drenching sweat during a meeting with a group of male engineers in their 20s.

  30. 'soup

    Hot flashes: acupuncture, progesterone cream (OTC) made by Emirita (also good for PMS) and good old evening primrose oil (caps are more pleasant than the straight oil). Sometimes none of these work but it sure has cut down on the number, intensity and duration. Days go by w/o any. They sure clear my sinuses though.

  31. Valkyrie

    Hot flashes: OTC Estroven works for me.

  32. Twisty

    I don’t want to prevent anyone from sharing their personal hot flash cures with the normal readers, but FYI those of us who have been eviscerated on accounta breast cancer can’t take hormones. Chick hormones are what cancer eats for dinner, which is why we have to have our ovaries out in the first place.

  33. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Yeah, those of us with clot issues need to avoid the ‘mones too, because a pulmonary embolism will seriously spoil your day. So it’s the on-the-bare-floor-in-my-underpants cure for me.

  34. Lipstick-and-Birk-Wearing Momma

    That sucks, Twisty. How do you put up with all of that and still have the energy to kick patriarch ass, too? You’re an amazing woman.

    For endo patients, OTC progesterone cream helps. I may be OD-ing on the stuff soon, but so be it. I blame the patriarchy for not having a real endo treatment.

  35. teffie-phd

    The plate’o’ribs looks good.

    that plate of WTF? on your banner scares me.

    I’ll send you some Canadian winter in a jar so you can open it during those hot-flashes.

  36. Mandos

    It’s kinda weird because males go around with very low estrogen and somehow do not get hot flashes. Or maybe men are in a permanent state of hotflashitude, and because they’ve never been otherwise, they don’t know it. And maybe this hypothetical state of permanent hotflashitude is connected to patriarchy.

  37. Mar Iguana

    500 mg. of Mexican yam root extract per day worked for me. Like gangbusters. I took my first dose one afternoon and never had another power surge (a term I much prefer to “hot flashes”). And, I got my first uninterruped night’s sleep in months. The night surges were the worst since I was constantly having to wash my bedclothing. I took it for a couple years and the power surges have never returned I have heard, however, that if you are prone to fibrous tumors you shouldn’t take it.

    A couple years ago, unfortunately, I started having formication. Yep, just one little letter away from the “F” word. It’s a tingling sensation in my feet and ankles which was waking me up at least once a night at first but is lessening. I’ve tried to Google-up something to help, but it seems to be yet one more thing women suffer from not deemed worth looking into.

  38. Twisty

    Mandos, I imagine if you went around with a nicely balanced body chemistry for 32 years, certain of your body parts might get used to that nice balance. But uh-oh, the body part might sort of malfunction if one of its favorite chemicals got taken away. That’s me and my hypothalamus!

  39. Mandos

    You did notice that I was being facetious, I hope.

  40. Twisty

    Nope, I sure didn’t. That’s me and my hypothalamus!

  41. RT721

    Those ribs do look good.

    As for the Chicken fried steak on the banner….That looks even better ;)

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