Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BBQ Carwash (J.J.’s BBQ) – Eden Prairie, MN

[Author's note: J.J.'s BBQ has closed its doors. I went there for lunch on 7/5/2011 and it was no more - sadface)

Last week, HotGirlsBrother and LowVee and I were supposed to go to the BBQ Carwash – the greatest idea EVER- but due to time constraints, we were unable to go. I had waited months to go here and was devastated. So after that fell through, I set up a lunch date at the BBQ Carwash with DawgMan, just to spite my Rib Quest companions. I drove through every puddle I could find and drove fast on the interstate through swarms of bugs, specifically to build up a significant layer of grime on my car this weekend.

Since these kinds of adventures aren’t ones you can do alone, we piled PageantLady and CurlyWillow into the car and headed down Flying Cloud Drive to the BBQ Carwash. I was a little unsure what to do when I got there, so I dropped the others off at the front door and drove around to the entrance to the car wash. I pulled in the garage bay and the woman working flagged me down when I needed to stop. They have three options for car washes, starting at $17.99. I picked the cheap one and got my receipt and headed down the hallway to the BBQ part of the carwash.

I paid for my wash at the carwash counter (there’s a $2 upcharge for SUVs/vans/trucks), and it totaled just over $21. I’ve had cheaper car washes, but I was paying for the novelty of eating ribs while my car was being pampered. The car wash area has windows where you can watch the action from inside. There are also tables near the windows so you can eat ribs while keeping an eye on your car. There’s a little shop with car accessories and such if you need nick knacks or smelly things.

A little bit further and you come to the BBQ part. J.J.’s BBQ to be more specific. J.J. himself is working the counter and he’s quite a character. Super friendly and talkative and really glad to see us in there. There were other people eating besides us, though there were a handful of people JUST waiting for their cars – kind of defeats the brilliant purpose of the BBQ Carwash, doesn’t it?!

The menu board is pretty straight forward and I was a little surprised at how cheap it was, compared to other rib places. He gave us a sample of the Southern Style Pork Loin meat, which I thought was pretty darn good. Good sauce and good flavor. Oddly, none of us ordered it – but I might next time. A half slab of ribs will cost you $9.99 and you get two sides and cornbread.

DawgMan asked J.J. to tell his story, and he came back with, “Well, it’s a story filled with turmoil and bitterness…” CurlyWillow ordered a half slab of ribs and J.J. called her a “real woman” and then told her “I like the cut of your jib.” J.J. is my new hero. He’s like a customer service pirate. He’s a smoothy.

J.J. ran around back to the kitchen and grabbed a slab of ribs. He brought it out front and cut it up for us right there. They’re dry cooked, so no sauce, but as we know, that’s perfectly acceptable. I ended up getting Mac and Cheese and Smokey Baked Pork and Beans. It all looks delicious. I grabbed a can of Dew out of the fridge and got all paid up – not expensive at all. Totally unrelated, there’s an awkwardly empty pie case in front of the cash register that looked like it had a couple to-go things of cole slaw of potato salad in it, but it looked kind of out of place and empty.

Everything comes in a styrofoam to-go box and you grab your plasticware on the way to the table. There’s a little island with sauce, roll of paper towels, sanitizer, and small cups in the dining room. We got all situated and started to eat.

I always try the first rib without sauce, so I knew where I’m starting at. The meat was pretty tender and the meat came off the bones without too much work. They had a decent smoky flavor and not much fat or gristle. I added the sauce (which I’m blanking out on the name of right now, but I’ve seen it in stores) and this actually helped tremendously. Pretty tasty ribs, J.J. The Mac and Cheese was average, but waaay better than some school cafeteria kinds I’ve had. The baked beans were also average, even though they had bits of meat in them. The cornbread muffin wasn’t hugely corny and tasted more like a cupcake muffin than cornbread, but it still went well with the ribs.

My car finished up and I had to go retrieve my ride, park it, and the n come back in to finish my meal. I thought that was kind of weird.

J.J. checked on us and made sure we were doing alright and we assured him we were. He gave us coupons for free sides the next time we’re in, so I told him I’d be back for sure (since now I’ll have to bring HotGirlsBrother and LowVee this time. J.J. said he liked to lock in customers and I’m pretty sure I can spread the word about this place. Carwash AND Ribs! Who would have thunk it?!

The wash was decent (they even got most of the dog hair out of the back seat) my 4Runner looks sparkly new, even though it looked kind of overcast outside. Oh well. If it rains, I can always go back to BBQ Carwash!

Top 5 things about BBQ Carwash
1. Seriously, it’s a BBQ CARWASH!!!!!
2. Ribs were dry cooked but still tender
3. J.J.’s super service!
4. My car is now bug free
5. It’s pretty affordable, as far as ribs go

Bottom 5 things
1. Car wash was more expensive than I thought it might be
2. A little confusing for first timers who want their car washed and eat lunch
3. Only open until 7 (which I guess makes sense)
4. Cornbread was slightly lacking
5. I still had to go get my car when they were finished, interrupting my meal. I think they should drive it around front and bring your keys inside


Anonymous said...

This is great! My husband and I have always driven by the BBQ Car Wash and thought that this was just a classic window-painters mistake. We generally joke about how cars get washed in BBQ sauce. Now that I'm looking for a decent place to wash my ride, I'm excited to hear that I can also grab a bite to eat! Thanks for the review.

Anonymous said...

jj.s ribs are dry but ask for his signature sauce! I wish he bottled it! The food is all great and price is way below others..My Southern friends and Vikings say the pulled pork is the real deal and not just chopped pork most places serve

david said...

The price is right and the servings are generous--the best pulled pork I ever had!

Anonymous said...

I am a regular of JJ's Ribs and Cloud 9 Car Wash.

As somone mentioned above you should ask for the signature sauce. Your order usually comes with a small container of some. The sauce out on the counter is a different sauce (I also forget what it is. I stick with his sauce)

On the car wash side there is a $12 option in the fine print. It's nearly as good as the $17 option (they don't clean your rims or under carage)
I totally agree that I wish they would pull the car around and bring in your keys.