Jambo's New Arlington BBQ Shack is Where Barbecue Excess Lives

Arlington was a city begging for its signature barbecue place. Sure, David's and Eddie Deen Crossroads offer barbecue well above the standard, but they're not quite destination locations. Now husband and wife duo Paul and Ashton Lovato believe they've answered that call by bringing Jambo's Barbeque Shack's second location to town. Yes, that's how it's spelled. 

Jambo's original location in Rendon, south of Fort Worth, may have been out of the purview of the Dallas barbecue socialite, but it has been increasing LDL cholesterol levels on that other end of the metroverse since its inception in 2013 under barbecue competition master and pit manufacturer Jamie Geer.

The Lovatos bought Geer out of the restaurant side of his business in 2014 with immediate plans for expansion into Arlington, and two weeks after opening the second location, Jambo's Arlington is plowing through more than 200 pounds of brisket per day. The shop sold out of meat every day of its first week in business.

Two of the most eye-popping menu options may explain why. Sure, you can get a one- or two-meat plate and go about the rest of your day like a normal human being, or you can go with one of two mutant barbecue offerings. The Jambo Texan ($15), pictured above, is a sandwich you can't treat like a sandwich unless your mouth has been outfitted with adamantium teeth, because two bone-in pork ribs lay underneath the top piece of Texas toast. It also comes with chopped brisket, pulled pork, a longways-sliced link of sausage (made in house) and a thick slice of smoked bologna.

You read that correctly, Jambo's smokes bologna, on the same pecan-fired rotisserie as its big league meats. Don't laugh it off, this is not the cold, flappy mystery meat your dear old mum packed in your aluminum Iron Man lunch box. It is substantial and surprisingly flavorful.

The Sadie ($8) is the incredible loaded baked potato only The Hulk could finish. It drips with butter, sour cream and an unnecessary portion of shredded cheese before being layered with chopped brisket, sausage, onions and barbecue beans. It would be manageable for one sitting if the baked potato canvas Jambo's paints all that on wasn't already bigger than your head. Ordering either of these two items means you'll probably be going without cobbler for dessert, so make a note to get that the second time you visit. 

As for the rest of the vitals, the sauce is sweet, so don't apply it too liberally or you'll miss out on some of the smokiness of the meat. If there was one thing that needed some work it was the ribs, which despite a very nice sweet rub were on this occasion dry and a little chewy. If the Rendon location's wares are any predictor, expect that to be perfected as the initial excitement over the new opening subsides and the quantity of guests levels off. 

Jambo's Barbeque Shack
2502 Little Road, Arlington
11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Tuesday - Saturday
Jambo's on Facebook
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Matt Martinez is a DFW-lifer who handles the Observer's editorial social media channels when he's not waxing cynical in our news, food and music verticals. Rest assured, he hates your favorite team. Matt studied journalism at the University of Texas and then again, for some reason, at UNT. He has written for the Austin Chronicle, the Denton Record-Chronicle and currently writes sports for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Contact: Matthew Martinez

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