JB’s Smokeshack is the epitome of great barbecue, there are no two ways about it. It embodies all of the characteristics I look for when selecting a quality barbecue joint:
- Sweet Tea. Homemade, Paula Deen sweet, and ice cold.
- Baked beans with meat in them. Seriously. PUT SOME MEAT IN DEM BEANS.
- Pulled pork that tastes delicious before you even put sauce on it. If your meat doesn’t taste like anything before you put the sauce on it, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.
- And on the subject of sauce, being a southern girl, I prefer my barbecue sauce to be mustard based. But I’m not opposed to vinegar or tomato based sauces. I just like to have the mustard base sauce as an option in case your other sauces suck.
- A buffet, so that I am able to shove as much meat into my face as humanly possible… and then some (that’s what she said?).
JB’s does all of this exceptionally well. You know it has to be good for me to be willing to drive 25 minutes out into the middle of banjo country to get there. Their sweet tea is amazing. The perfect level of sweet, in my opinion. But then again, I subscribe to the Gospel According To Paula Deen (Our sacraments are butter, sugar, and butter….it’s pretty great), so to each his own.
When it comes to baked beans, I’m pretty sure I’ve never eaten anything like JB’s. They have some of their pulled pork in the beans, so they’re beany and meaty and sweet and savory all at the same time. I could just eat JB’s baked beans as a meal in itself and be perfectly content. I’m pretty sure they’re my favorite beans of all time. Ben wasn’t a huge fan, but he’s from CANADA, so his opinion doesn’t really count.
Their pulled pork is amazing all on its own. I’ve been to plenty of barbeque places that really rely on their sauce to give the barbeque all of the flavor. And while I agree that the sauce is an integral part of the barbeque equation, I don’t think it should be the main flavor factor. The flavor of the pork should complement the sauce and vice versa, each adding its own flavor profiles to the mix, so it’s like a barbeque party in your mouth. JB’s definitely does this superbly. I could seriously eat their pork without any sauce on it at all. But that would be unfair to their fabulous sauces, which I also love. I like to mix the mustard one with Mama’s Sweet and Spicy (which I’m pretty sure is vinegar based), and it’s AMAZING, trust me on this.
And finally, their buffet is outstanding. I love their beans (obviously), macaroni and cheese (although I’ve definitely had better mac n cheese), collards (spicy and meaty, just the way I like it), green beans, fried okra, and fried creamed corn bites (seriously, those are amazing… I could probably eat 100 of them in one sitting).
They also have a meat station which they alternate the offerings of regularly. They’ve had brisket, ham, etc., which they carve for you right there.
They also have some salad on their buffet, which I’m pretty sure they put there just to taunt you. It stares as you judgementally as you load up your plate with meat and beans and macaroni and meat like “Hey fatty. You know you should just be eating salad. You know you’re going to hate yourself later” but I can never actually hear what it’s saying to me over the sound of my own chewing. I usually make three trips to the buffet, loading up on meat and beans, and then collapse on the table, praying for death….
So I’ve never actually eaten dessert at JB’s. But I’m sure it’s delicious, because everything else sure is. I really want to try the “pluff mud pudding,” which reminds me of the dirt pudding I used to eat when I was in kindergarten. You know, chocolate pudding, crushed up oreos (to look like dirt) and gummy worms. It’s awesome. Ben got the banana pudding but was unimpressed (but once again, CANADIAN).
So basically it’s awesome. I would recommend fasting for three days or so before visiting, so that you can truly appreciate the meat cornucopia that is JB’s Smokeshack. They’re also really great people who truly take pride in their food, so how can you go wrong with that?
Bottom line: Get the meat. And the beans. And everything else. DON’T. STOP. EATING.
3406 Maybank Highway
Johns Island, SC 29455