Two weeks ago, I started a competition to find the best, authentic barbecue in Western New York. My first stop was at Suzy-Q's Bar-B-Que Shack. We had a very good first meal in the competition, enjoyed by the entire family. Using my litmus test for the competition (barbecue or pulled pork), Suzy-Q's fared very well for the first stop and the pork was pretty good. [Check the link above for detail on how I'm judging these barbecue restaurants.]
This past weekend, we made our second stop in the competition. We drove to Lockport for lunch at this location:
One-Eyed Jack's Smokehouse Grill.
One-Eyed Jack's is located on South Transit Road in Lockport. I received several recommendations for it when I solicited them from the Buffalo/Niagara Foodies group on Facebook. I was looking forward to taking a trip up to Lockport based on what I'd been told.
When you walk in the door, to your left is a window to the magic: the Southern Pride barbecue pit. Stacked high next to it was hickory wood to be used in the pit. Take a look:
It wasn't too busy when we arrived shortly after noon on a Saturday. Our family of six got a table immediately. We sat down and took a look at the menu:
The menu is quite large, with many different appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and, of course, barbecue to choose from. One thing I noticed immediately was the price difference between One-Eyed Jack's and Suzy-Q's. One-Eyed Jack's is certainly more expensive, but not overly so.
After spending a good time looking through the menu, and enjoying the freshly brewed sweet tea that I'd ordered, I ultimately settled on the two meat "Bar-B-Q Dinner Combo". For $12.95, you get to choose two meats and two sides. Along with that, you get garlic bread as well. For the meats, diners choose from pulled pork, beef brisket, Jack's Chicken, Pigken (a blend of pulled pork, smoked chicken breast and honey garlic BBQ sauce, which Donnie Burtless of Buffalo Eats tried), Italian sausage, or smoked corned beef. I chose the pulled pork so I could properly judge One-Eyed Jack's in this competition and brisket. Since brisket is the meat I'd prefer to judge the restaurants on but can't because of lack of good locally made brisket, I thought I'd try it in as many places as possible so as to get a secondary, unofficial way of judging the places. For sides, I went with coleslaw and a special of the day, cornbread stuffing.
My wife also got the two meat "Bar-B-Q Dinner Combo". She chose the pulled pork and the smoked corned beef (which at other places may have been called pastrami). For her sides, she chose french fries and macaroni salad. Our oldest daughter opted for the kid's pulled pork, our son chose chicken fingers and the twins split a grilled cheese (along with trying some of our meat).
While we waited for our food to arrive, I checked the available sauces as I'm want to do so as to be prepared for my barbecue. Here's what's on the tables at One-Eyed Jack's:
From the left, diners can choose from the "House BBQ" sauce or the "Hot BBQ" sauce. To the far right is ketchup.
We had a great server who has three children of her own. So as to keep our children occupied, she brought apple sauce that came with each of their meals as soon as we ordered. Such a thoughtful thing to do and it made the wait much more bearable.
When the food arrived, this is what my plate looked like:
As you can see, my plate arrived looking mighty fine. The meat looked spectacular. You can see the pink smoke ring on both the pork and brisket. The pork was very tender and had been smoked very well. It was juicy and had plenty of bark in the portion. While the pork impressed me, the brisket was even better. While the first slice was somewhat dry, each successive slice got better. It was very smokey, juicy, and incredibly tender. While brisket is hard to pull off consistently well, One-Eyed Jack's nailed it the day we were there. I'd get it over and over. The coleslaw was just your run of the mill variety, as was the garlic bread, but the cornbread stuffing was quite good. It was sweet and savory and had many corn kernels. This meal was very good and it made our trip worth while.
I ended up trying both sauces. The House BBQ was good, but I wasn't that impressed. While it was sweet, there wasn't much else going on. The Hot BBQ was better and was a good compliment to the pork. I started using sauce on the brisket, but ultimately abandoned it because the meat didn't need any help.
Here's a look at my wife's plate:
My wife's pork was good and had plenty of bark. The showstopper on her plate, however, was the smoked corned beef. It was amazing! I would come back and get that one again. It was salty like a good corned beef, but had that great smoke flavor from the Southern Pride pit and good hickory wood. It was tender and juicy. A great option not seen much locally.
Since my wife left her phone in the car, she borrowed my phone to take a picture of her meal for me. The best part came when my son was passing the phone back to me. He decided that he needed to participate in the review as well, so he took a picture of his plate too. Here it is:
Like father, like son!
Here's a look at the interior of the restaurant to satisfy your curiosity:
Now, done to business. While we enjoyed our stop at Suzy-Q's a few weeks ago, One-Eyed Jack's took it down in the competition. The pork was better. It was more tender and had both more smoke and bark. On that alone, One-Eyed Jack's wins. The brisket and smoked corned beef were the icing on the cake. It is worth the additional cost for this great barbecue. Two barbecue joints into the competition, One-Eyed Jack's is our new title holder! Congratulations!
With two stops down, I'm already looking forward to the next. Can One-Eyed Jack's retain its title?? Stay tuned as the competition will continue soon.
© The Nittany Epicurean, 2013. All Rights Reserved.