Despite what the name might have you think, Texas Jack's Barbecue doesn't serve straight-up Texas-style barbecue. The brisket, yes, pays homage to the Lone Star State, and meats tend to spiced rather than sauced. But Mexican and German food cultures also play heavily into the menu. As co-owner Steve Roberts explains it, German immigrants brought meat smoking techniques to Texas, and Mexico has also clearly influenced the state.
Texas Jack gets its name from John Wilson Vermillion, a famous cowboy nicknamed "Texas Jack" who grew up in Virginia and went west during the 1860s.
The restaurant comes from Roberts and Paul Capetanakis, who owns the building and was the landlord to previous tenants Tallula and EatBar.
Chef Matt Lang, a former sous chef at Hill Country, is behind the menu. Brisket is seasoned solely with salt and pepper. Ribs get the same simple treatment plus spritzes of bitter orange juice. Potato salad nods to the German influence with fried potatoes in a warm bacon vinaigrette. Pulled pork has more of a Mexican flare: The meat is coated in a paste made of achiote peppers, coriander, cinnamon, and other spices. There's also esquites, a Mexican street snack with corn, as well as a coleslaw spiced up with green chilies, cilantro, red onion, line, and cotija cheese.
A late night menu, available at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, offers a double cheeseburger, nachos, and, curiously, a kale caesar salad. Brunch and lunch are coming soon.
The bar, which occupies what was formerly EatBar, stocks 150 bourbons and whiskies and has its own mini smoker for cocktails. A twist on a whiskey sour is made with Bulleit Bourbon, lemon, lime, and smoked jalapeno-peppercorn syrup.
The dining room resembles a large barn with reclaimed barn wood lining the walls and a long communal table topped with enamelware plates. Take a look at the space below:
Texas Jack's Barbecue, 2761 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; (703) 875-0477; txjacks.com
Photos by Jessica Sidman