JP23 BBQ and Smokehouse
JP23 brings Hardwood Smoked BBQ to Downtown Fullerton
You can tell when you just visited a great smokehouse BBQ restaurant, because you smell like BBQ sauce, smoke and regret. Great BBQ is more than just great flavors, it is part emotional experience that does not end until you are so full that you hate yourself. This past weekend I had one of these awesome BBQ experiences at JP23 BBQ and Smokehouse in Downtown Fullerton. P23 BBQ and Smokehouse is located in the heart of Downtown Fullerton, at the intersection of Harbor and Commonwealth.
JP23 has their own hardwood smoker on the patio, affectionately named “Elmer.” Most main courses and many appetizers go through the smoker, which burns pecan, cherry and hickory wood. The result is a complex smoky flavor in the food. Even the artichokes and chicken wings go through smoker!
Appetizers at JP23 BBQ and Smokehouse
Smoked Artichoke Dip
Cheesy and smokey. I am not going to even begin to speculate the number of calories in this smoked artichoke dip. It has creamy, cheesy and velvety in every bite. The artichoke hearts in this dish are cooked in the smoker for 1 hour.
The result is a deeply smoky artichoke dip. It is served with house made flour tortilla chips. This appetizer is great for sharing; it can fill you up quickly if you eat it alone. $7.95
Like I previously mentioned, many ingredient at JP23 menu goes the smoker including the chicken wings. The wings are smoked for 2-3 hours, which provides an extra flavor layer to the wings. JP23 offers over 20 different flavors of chicken wings from savory to sweet, hot to mild.
I tried the Honey Chili wings and loved the how the flavor when from sweet to a sting at the back of the throat Other great flavors that I highly recommend include Berry Bourbon, Siracha Roasted Garlic and Tandoori Curry. For $7.95, you get a combination of six wings and drums.
Entrees at JP23 BBQ and Smokehouse
Remember when I said you will leave JP23 full, I mean it. Each of the dinner entrees comes with their soup of the day or their house salad. The meals are also served with your choice of side, corn bread, or Texas Toast.
Soup or Salad?
Soup of the Day – Chili
The chile was pretty amazing. Made with house smoked brisket, the chili was a meal on its own. The chile was just slightly spicy and had a a complex layering of southern spices that made each bite interesting.
JP23 House Salad
The salad was good, although I am not going to spend very many words describing it. It was made with spring lettuce, arugula, shallots, roma tomato, parmesan cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. Now let’s get back to the meat!
I ordered the beef ribs based on the Manager’s recommendations. I rarely order beef ribs when I go to a BBQ restaurant, because they are typically fatty and rarely have enough meat to fill me up. JP23’s beef ribs are massive, bigger than a baby’s arm , and meaty! The beef ribs are ordered by the bone in quantities of 3, 5, or 7 bones.
Thinking about my prior experiences, I was considering ordering at least 5 bones. JP23′s Manager, Adrienne, advised me that three bones would be plenty of food for my 200+ pound body frame. I was a little hesitant; although, when the beef ribs came out my mouth dropped open. The bones were big enough to use them as a weapon like the opening scene of 2001 a space odyssey.
The beef ribs are dry rubbed using their secret blend of seasonings and then allowed to rest for 24 hours, allowing the rub to meld with the rib meat. The ribs are then cooked low and slow for 8+ hours until they are extremely tender. By the time I finished my beef ribs I was sickly full. The Manager was correct, three bones were enough. Apparently there are plenty of stories of customers ordering the full 7 rib plate and being shocked by the size. Complete meal: 3 bones $16.95, 5 bones $19.95, 7 bones $23.95
Your Choice of Sides – Collar Greens and Cornbread
I love eating collard greens when they are prepared in the southern style with plenty of fattiness. The JP23 collard greens are slow simmered and cooked with bacon. Delicious. The only change I would make is to render the bacon longer before cooking it into the collard greens. With that said, I will order them again.
The large hunk of cornbread on my plate was one of the better elements of the meal. Their house made cornbread tasted like they use a courser grind of corn meal, so you feel the texture on your tongue. It was also very moist, which blended nicely with the corn breads texture. This would taste great with the chili as well.
Smokehouse Baby Back Ribs
We ordered the half rack of baby back pork ribs. The baby back ribs are prepared in much the same way as the Beef ribs, dry rubbed using JP23 seasoning and then allowed to rest for 24 hrs. The baby back ribs are then smoked for 5 hours+. We were able to literally pull the ribs apart with our fingers, no knife needed. Complete meal, $23.95
We both really like the flavor and texture of the baby back ribs. Their ribs were also very meaty and have seriously made me reconsider ever visiting Lucile’s BBQ for Baby Back ribs. JP23’s ribs are much more meaty in comparison.
Side – Mac and Cheese
The Mac and Cheese is intense with a softer three cheese blend integrated into the macaroni noodles and then another layer of cheese melted on top. It is definitely a little rich and greasy, but worth every bite.
BBQ Sauce is served on the side
I am a firm believer that one should not simply slather slow cooked ribs with sauce. Sauce masks the natural flavor of the ribs and once applied there is no going back. JP23 serves their ribs dry, with just the dry-rub on the meat. JP23 house makes four flavors of their BBQ sauce and are served tableside to apply as much or as little as you like. Below is a rundown on the flavors.
1) Berry Bourbon Spice – a reduction of berries and bourbon are used to create the flavor of this sauce. It has a rich flavor, slight sweetness and gentle peppery heat. This is the town harlot of BBQ sauces.
2) Same ole BBQ Sauce – A classic BBQ sauce with sweet, tangy and smoky flavors. The white cotton panties of bbq sauce. Standard, but they serve a purpose.
3) Chipotle - A smoky chile flavor and a slow lingering sizzle. Just like a sultry summer night.
4) Citrus Bang –It is made with citrus juice reduction, which provides a citrus forward flavor profile . This sauce is great when you are getting full and need a sauce to brighten up the dish.
30 Beers on Tap and lots of Wine
The Beer list was pretty impressive with 30 beers on tap including local craft breweries like Hanger 24, The Bruery, and Green Flash. We ordered the Hanger 24 Al Beer and the Rough Draft Belgian Blonde. Both Beers went perfectly with the ribs.
My Final Thoughts about JP23 BBQ and Smokehouse
I am spoiled that I have tried out many great BBQ restaurants recently and JP23 now ranks in my top BBQ restaurants in Southern California. I really like the craft approach they take with their smoking, scratch preparation of ingredients and high quality of food. Owner, Jacob Poozhikala, is an old hand with smoking meat and is supported by veteran Chef Eric Erdley. The restaurant also doubles as a sports bar with over 42 televisions and a nightclub late at night. Tom’s Foodie Blog recommends JP23 BBQ and Smokehouse. If you visit, please let me know how your experience went.
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