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San Jose – BBQ – Jon Jon’s

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Really Short Review: Best ribs, chicken and brisket in the greater Bay Area.

The longer bit:

I’ve been to Clint’s, T-Rex, Everett and Jones (the good one on Fruitvale in Oakland before it closed) and plenty of other places. Each of them has their own take on BBQ and I’ve enjoyed most of my meals there. Jon Jon’s is at a whole different level.

The restaurant itself is a _very_ basic shack with a few chairs and tables inside and a few scattered outside. If feels like the proprietors came upon the perfect slow-cooker and grill, built a make-shift building next to it and started doing business.

You order at a table from a lady who takes your cash (only) and yells the order to the other lady who very quickly fills your Styrofoam container with heaven-sent BBQ and a couple of meaningless sides. Drinks come from a refrigerator between the two stations.

Your order consists of picking a combo number from a grid of choices. The combinations look like: Two ribs and a piece of chicken, a hot link and a rib and a piece of chicken, brisket and a rib and a piece of chicken…. You get the idea. Your only real choice beyond the combo is wheat or white sliced bread to go with it.

The ribs are the star with the chicken a close second. All orders come with a portion of potato salad and beans, which you can cheerfully ignore as you take your first bite of ribs. Slow cooked then finished on the grill, everything is absolutely tender, juicy and very slightly spicy. The sauce (indiscriminately ladled over your meat) is on the sweet side, but with a depth that adds to the flavor of the meat, rather than covering them up.

They give you a wet-wipe, which is woefully inadequate to the job. However, you won’t care because you’ll be in hog heaven.

Final tally:

Food: 9 (Best ribs in the greater Bay Area)

Service: N/A (There isn’t any)

Price: All lunch combos are $9 (comes with sliced bread and two sides)

Ambiance: 7 (bathroom is scrupulously kept clean and you’re eating al fresco, who cares about the rest?)

1305 Old Oakland Road, San Jose

408.297.5799

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Jon Jon's
1305 Oakland Rd, San Jose, CA 95112

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  1. Thanks for sharing this find! I'm always on the lookout for good BBQ. Is the meat smoked before being finished on the grill? Is there an obvious smoke ring? Thanks!