Thursday, July 21, 2011


Is Calgary going through a barbecue revival? With the amazing Holy Smoke becoming one of my favourites over the past year, I couldn't pass up an opportunity (or two) to check out the newly-opened/parked Jojo's BBQ.

Jojo runs out of a re-fitted camper, and is currently stationed in the parking lot of BBQs Galore, on Edmonton Trail and 34th Ave NE. Jojo's owner is the former Pit Boss from downtown's Palomino Smokehouse (which does a mean pulled pork itself - although their's certainly isn't the quick service either Holy Smoke or Jojo's offer), and she aims to offer true Southern barbecue. And who am I to pass up an opportunity to enjoy such an offering?

Finding Jojo's is easy, it's on a main road in the northeast just as an older neighbourhood's bungalows give way to a light industrial area. I can see why she's camped out here - she can serve the work crowd from the local businesses during the week, and the backyard barbecue enthusiasts on the weekend.

My first day there is a breezy - but sunny - Saturday. The sandwich of the day is a spicy Sloppy JoJo, a mix of pulled pork and beef brisket fired up with a helping of jalapeƱos, which I can't pass up. I order the sandwich and a side of corn fritters. Seating is limited (the one picnic table is occupied by a family), so I park my lunch on the hood of my car and dive in. The Sloppy JoJo is tasty, but not overly sloppy, which I appreciate. The golden corn fritters, however, are served with honey for a dipping sauce, which does get a bit sloppy with the breeze. It's enjoyable, but the Sloppy JoJo is a bit of a mystery - the mix of meats is okay, but I'm left wishing I'd gone for either the straight-up pulled pork or brisket.

So, the next weekend calls for a return trip. I opt for the pulled pork and a side of coleslaw. It's even windier this time out, which makes eating a bit more challenging, even though we are lucky enough to score the picnic table. The pulled pork is tasty;  the bun is a bit of a letdown, as is the barbecue sauce (I've been spoiled by the amazing selection of sauces at Holy Smoke). But the coleslaw is fantastic - there's a bit of cayenne in the sauce, which gives it a bit more presence and helps make up for the lack of spice in the barbecue sauce.

In all, Jojo's is a good option for barbecue in the city's north. I didn't try the ribs, which I realize is likely a big part of the test of this place. The problem is, Holy Smoke offers a better sandwich and is closer to where I live, which, in this stupid sprawling city of ours, makes a huge difference. Although I do hope Jojo's is going to go mobile at some point - to have a roaming barbecue truck in the city's core would be a great thing.

3505 Edmonton Trail N.E.

Calgary, AB
JoJo's BBQ on Urbanspoon

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