Since opening the first Jethro’s BBQ near Drake University in 2008, the restaurant has continued to expand. The local chain now has spots in Altoona and Waukee, and another is planned in Ankeny.
Each Jethro’s location has its own specialty, with the Waukee location being dubbed Jethro’s BBQ ’n Jambalaya. The Cajun/Creole- focused menu includes gumbo, crawfish etouffe, red beans and rice and, of course, jambalaya.
The menu includes Jethro’s standards like barbecue sandwiches, burgers and the monstrous Adam Emmenecker sandwich. A photo of only one individual sits on the Wall of Fame for having finished the sandwich. The wall of shame is overloaded with photos of those who tried and failed .
For my lunch I ordered the TurBacon po’boy, smoked chicken and turkey topped with a double order of slab bacon and provolone cheese as well as lettuce and tomato. The meat had a great flavor to it, the bacon was amazing, and it was fun to see how different bites tasted with the three hot sauces and five barbecue sauces at the table. But the load of lettuce and tomato made the sandwich difficult to handle. It didn’t fold up easily and nearly required a knife and fork to consume. They’re definitely needed to clear up the bits that drop onto your plate as you eat.
My co-worker went with The Bulldog, an angus steak burger topped with Texas brisket, caramelized onions, roasted peppers and aged cheddar. It was a massive burger, requiring him to cut it in half just to get a handle on it. He was satisfied with his meal, but felt a little full . The brisket put it over the top both in terms of flavor and the amount of food.
A nice touch at Jethro’s is the sides aren’t limited to standard fries. You can pick from a list that includes baked beans, garlic mashed potatoes, waffle fries, mac and cheese, sweet potatoes and several others. You can make your meal feel a little healthier (green beans), or let out another notch on your belt with the rich mac and cheese.
If you’re near Drake or Altoona, the new Jethro’s location probably isn’t worth the extra drive. But for diners in West Des Moines it’s a welcome addition to the abundance of chains in the area. The new location is a large space, seating nearly 300, and can satisfy a massive appetite.\
The Bulldog burger... $10.95
TurBacon po’boy... $11.95
Two sodas... $2.50 each
Total with tax and tip: $34.57
Jethro’s BBQ ‘n Jambalaya
Find it: 9350 University Ave., West Des Moines
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 9:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday.
Info: 987-8686 or jethrosdesmoines.com