Ben and Sarah Lambert are happy to have left their food truck behind. Last year, they moved their JNL BBQ to Upscale Market on East Cesar Chavez in Austin. The Lamberts serve from a counter inside the little store that is lined with refrigerated coolers full of drinks. (Draft beers will be available soon.)

If you visited La Barbecue’s old location, it’ll look familiar—but the building was called Quickie Pickie back then. La Barbecue left when it opened its new location two years ago. JNL came into the space after a vegan restaurant moved out last year, marking the second time the Lamberts’ smoked meats have replaced a vegan concept. When they first opened at Buzz Mill back in 2020, they parked their barbecue truck in a space vacated by a vegan pizza truck.

This location allows some welcome changes for JNL. Besides not being exposed to the elements, it also has a new flat top, so the buns for the barbecue sandwiches are buttered and griddled. So is the white bread for the BLT, which is now served daily rather than only on Sundays as it was at the food truck. It’s a hefty sandwich but not overstuffed. Ben Lambert hand-slices the bacon thick, and stacks the slices in layers like fallen dominoes. Each piece of bread gets a swipe of smoked garlic mayo. Leaf lettuce and sliced tomato—admirably juicy for being out of season—finish off the classic sandwich. The bacon isn’t overly sweet or salty, so plenty of the smoke flavor comes through.

The bacon is also available raw for $12 per pound. Lambert cures Beeler’s Duroc pork bellies in house with salt, black pepper, sugar, and celery salt instead of pink salt, so the slices don’t have a rosy color. He colds smokes them over oak wood, starting with a low fire, then raises the temperature to 250 degrees by the fifth hour when they’re done. The slabs of bacon are chilled, sliced, and griddled to order. The sandwich is certainly worth the wait.

This Saturday, JNL’s grand opening festivities will include barbecue starting at 11 a.m., and the first of three live bands hitting the outdoor stage at 2 p.m. In the future, the Lamberts plan to continue hosting musicians on the stage in the evenings while serving their happy hour menu. The evening menu will be more about “utilizing whatever [leftover barbecue] we have for bar food,” Lambert said. A few items debuted this Saturday, like the pastrami burger made with a cured and smoked patty. Lambert is also developing a Boss Hog burger with a mix of ground brisket and cured pork belly. It’ll be topped with bacon jam and house-made Shiner Bock beer cheese. Also look for Buffalo turkey empanadas, brisket queso fries, and pastrami Reuben fries.

I had eaten the BLT before, but I’m glad to know it’ll be more easily accessible. I was also happy to see a smoked pork tenderloin on the menu. Back when Lambert worked for Blue Ox BBQ, it served a peppery smoked tenderloin. Lambert ditched the heavy black pepper coating on the delicately flavored piece of pork, but needed to replace it with a similar texture. “To be able to get that good smoked flavor, you need something cracked,” he said. The coating helps grab onto the smoke as it passes over the meat inside the smoker. He settled on ground coffee, whose bold flavor really comes through along with hints of guajillo chile and brown sugar. Pork tenderloin is also easy to overcook, but it’s perfectly juicy at JNL. “I’ve learned a bit about carry-over cooking since the Blue Ox days,” Lambert said.

The tenderloin is a great addition to an already solid menu. As Lambert slices brisket for customers, he hands out chunks of burnt ends. Mine was the best bite of brisket I’d had from JNL, and the slices that came after were just as good. I also loved the new creamy mac and cheese topped with crunchy chicharrones, and the Big Red cheesecake that was more like an icebox pie. Lambert said he cannot find any small containers of the potent Big Red syrup, so he boils the soda to reduce it down to the same consistency. It’s that type of effort that shines through everything at JNL BBQ, and now you can finally enjoy it all along with some air conditioning.