RESTAURANTS in PITTSFIELD




Mad Jack's BBQ
Smoked slow and cooked low
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An Anne & Steve review


At Mad Jack's (named after the owner's kids Madeline and Jackson) the BBQ is in the good and very capable hands of owner Jabari Powell. His authentic-as-can-be barbecue is down-to-the-last-detail delicious. With just a few tables in front of the counter that shows you the whole kitchen, this southern style food oasis is mostly for take away. Located right across the street from the Storefront Artist Project on Fenn Street nary a block from now bustling North Street, it is very convenient. The smooth R&B and Blues emanates from the speakers on the counter while you chat and wait for your order. The service is so lightning fast you can just walk up and get out quick, but feel free to call in advance for no waiting time whatsoever, or for catering your party. Any way you go, this joint is a throwback to a simpler, tastier time with an emphasis on courteous and friendly.

Now that's all well and good but as barbecue fanatics know this is serious business not to be taken lightly. Some might even call it the other sweet science. BBQ folks take their BBQ seriously. So what's the word? Steve (the real Mad Jack) says "I ordered the rib sampler platter and I'd do it again!" ($15.99) Beef, Spare and Baby Back - oh those sweet baby back ribs even turned Anne into a barbecue devotee. She said "Oh my! that's why people make such a fuss!" with a little sauce still clinging to her pretty cheek. Steve gently wiped it off and said with tears in his eyes "Thank goodness! My baby finally gets it, she gets my obsession with barbecue!" The beef ribs were real brontosaurus sized for man handling fun and had a nice hint of teriyaki or soy sauce marinade left over. The spare ribs were anything but spare as they very juicy, full flavored with lots of smoky porky goodness to spare. They were charred just right, not burnt but cooked right to the point where you could still eat every bit and leave almost nothing for the dog in your household (the beef ribs, being so big, would make a great doggy gift though so not to fret). The baby backs are absolutely award winning scratch your head and say "How'd he do that?" They are OUT OF THIS WORLD and One Step Beyond description. You just have to try it yourself because words would not do them justice.

Anne had the $7.99 Pulled Pork Platter and it's the very best she's ever had and she's always opted for that meat choice whenever I get her to a BBQ joint which is as often as I can. Anne said that it had a really nice moist consistency and a wonderful flavor and then she added a bit of their unique mustard BBQ sauce to spike it up a notch. This is a winner but now that she's a eatin' off the bone person maybe she'll order the baby backs next time. There's also BBQ'd chicken and pulled chicken too. Many choices for the mains but how are the sides? Many places get everything right on the mains and then drop the ball on the sides and great barbecue isn't really great without stellar sides everyone knows that. Mad Jack's gets it perfect from the collard greens (A+) to the Mac n'Cheese (A+) to the home style slightly smaller baked beans (dare I say healthy AND tasty) and of course a got-to-have great cole slaw with just a bit of "dirty" in there - mustard? BBQ sauce? molasses? they'll never tell but they do get all of it right and the side portions are heaping to say the least. Steve ended up with three meals worth of meat with his chaffing dish full of ribs and plenty of sides left to go with it and the crumbly sweet slice of cornbread you get with every dish, oh my, what a meal.

There's no joking around here - no punch lines just seriously good home cooked food and good for you! Hugely recommended.

Mad Jack's BBQ
Barbecue and more
295 North St
Pittsfield, MA 01201
413-442-2290
Lunch and Dinner
Closed Sundays
www.madjacksbbqonline.com