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Pack Jack's finally reopened in June, and according to Robert, the response has been "fantastic." "We did a soft opening without any advertisement, because we wanted time to get our act together. Opening day was ridiculous, it was wild, almost more than we could handle. Now we've got it under control."
Two visits to the restaurant prove that pit master Martin and the family cooks haven't lost their chops. The menu is exactly the same as before, featuring Texas-style, slow-smoked barbecue pork, beef or lamb ribs, beef brisket, house-made hot links and chicken. Both full portions ($15) and half ($10) include two side dishes: tender, smoky flavored beans with meat, creamy potato salad and crispy, vinegar-dressed coleslaw.
The pork ribs werre tender and easily pulled off the bone, while the lamb ribs, though chewier and layered with a tough membrane, were richly flavored. The hot links combined both ground beef and pork with a hot spiciness, and can be ordered as a sandwich ($6.95, no sides included). The beef brisket, also ordered as a sandwich ($6.95), came heaped on a hamburger bun moistened by the natural meat juices.
Only the chicken was a bit dry, but the barbecue sauce helped juice it up. Meals can also be ordered for takeout. "We are not allowed to change anything on the menu," says Robert. "Dad's rules. All the recipes are secret, and not one thing can be changed or added." Adds father Donnie, "If you're successful with what you have, why change it?"
A blooming century plant out front pays tribute to Marie, who passed away in December. The family legacy lives on through the sons, daughters, nieces and nephews who work all aspects of the business. "We love the food, we love the people, we love this town and we've been very welcomed," gushes Robert. "We are very happy that Pack Jack is back."