The BBQ epicenters of the country: St Louis, Memphis, The Carolina’s, Texas, Cloudcroft NM. ??? What? Cloudcroft NM is not somewhere you think of when people mention barbecue. But this little mountain community is hiding a great, slow cooked, made with love, meaty secret. Mad Jacks Mountaintop Barbecue. First off Jack’s is only open Thursday -Sunday and Jack only makes what he thinks he can sell in a day. This is a real BBQ joint people this meat is slow cooked for hours so when they are out of something they are OUT! Let me tell you they do run out not due to planning but due to demand.
Jacks is open for lunch only. You may want to get there before the doors open. When they open at 11 AM this is the scene you get when you show up at 11:30. There will be a line out the door and down the front porch. Just get in line and a menu will probably be floating around. Start making up your mind now. This way when you get up to the counter to order you are keeping the line moving and not overwhelmed by the great aromas and sights of glistening meat.
Sure you could wait till later in the afternoon and miss out on some of the lines. When you do this you take a chance of missing out on some of the popular meats or missing out entirely. No one wants to miss out on good slow smoked meat, ever!
When you get up to the counter you will have to choose between delectable things such as brisket shredded or sliced, pulled pork, pork ribs, chicken, smoked turkey, sausage links regular and jalapeno, and on occasion DINO ribs a pound to pound and a half of beef rib. Along with an assortment of sandwiches made from these smoked delights meats can be ordered by weight alone. Slide your tray along and there you will meet Jack. Jack is friendly and will chat away with you as he chops and slices meat like a pro. Let me tell you pay close attention as he slices brisket for the slice brisket or brisket sandwich. This man is an artist and perfectionist about what goes into your mouth. Not to mention he only smokes with Texas Post Oak. Could he take a short cut, yes. Does he have to drive all the way to Texas to pick up his wood, no. But he does because he only wants the best for his customers and it does show in the final product.
If you’re like me and have a deep desire for variety, some people call it indecision, you will want to try a few things. Let me tell you I am picky as heck about my smoked meats and this man nails it. The smokes brisket just melts in your mouth. The pulled pork is just that pulled not run through a shredder. Everything is amazing, the smoke, the food, the flavors, the aromas, the details, and the atmosphere.
So make the journey 9000 feet up to Cloudcroft, stand in line and visit with some nice people. It will delight your taste buds with the wonderful meats of Mad Jack’s Mountaintop Barbecue. You will not be disappointed. Unless you show up late and they have closed then you will be disappointed.