The barbecue restaurant that put Rendon on the map is back.
After two ownership changes and a brief break, Jambo’s Original BBQ Shack has rehired former staffers and restored the barbecue tradition founded by pitbuilder Jamie Geer.
Competition barbecue cooks Barbie and Waldo Strein bought the first Jambo’s from Ashton Stauffer. She kept newer locations called Jambo’s BBQ Shack in Arlington and Pantego.
On a country farm road east of Interstate 35W and south of Everman, a town known for barbecue, Jambo’s is a simple box of a restaurant with an order counter and a few tables.
The giant chalkboard menu has the familiar favorites that helped land Jambo’s in Texas Monthly — the “Jambo Texan” combination sandwich and the “Sadie” baked potato stuffed with beef, sausage and beans.
But it also has new items: smoked chicken (boneless breast) and a standout version of bacon-onion green beans.
Most diners judge a barbecue restaurant by the brisket, and on this day it was sliced thin, lean and showed a classic bark and smoke ring.
A combination plate ($16) came with an unexpected four large pork ribs and lean but unremarkable jalapeno sausage.
The Jambo Texan sandwich ($15.75) is nearly a foot high, with brisket, pulled pork, sausage, pork ribs, bologna and chicken. It’s a spectacle, but so is the Sadie giant stuffed potato ($10). Either could easily feed two.
The side dishes were all distinctive: the new green beans, “cowboy corn” peppered with Hatch chiles and pimientos, and fresh peach cobbler with plenty of flaky crust ($2.50, whole cobbler $40).
The crowds are mixed now. The workmen in jeans or overalls still come from businesses nearby or in Mansfield (a “workers’ special” weekdays offers a chopped beef sandwich combo for $8).
But the tables also fill with teachers or hospital workers picking at a stuffed baked potato or at a smoked chicken breast plate with green beans.
Jambo’s Original BBQ Shack opens at 11 a.m. daily except Monday, serving until 7 p.m. weeknights, 5 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (or until sold out).
To make it a barbecue road trip, also stop at Hickory Stick Bar-B-Q and Longoria’s BBQ in Everman along with Off the Bone BBQ in Forest Hill. In south Fort Worth, add the Sausage Shoppe or Cousin’s Pit Barbeque. From the Mansfield side, add Smokey Mae’s Pit BBQ west of Mansfield or Big D Barbecue in Mansfield.)
The newer Jambo’s continue at 1724 W. Division St., Arlington, and 2503 W. Pioneer Parkway, Pantego.