Patrick Joubert has been called Jube since his high school days in Fort Worth. The Louisiana native has been in Texas most of his life, but not until recently has he been known as a pitmaster. He just celebrated a year in business at his first barbecue joint, Jube’s Smokehouse, on Edgewood Terrace in the Stop Six/Poly neighborhood, and he’s offering a whole lot more than just brisket.
The former preacher left his position with a Fort Worth church in 2017. As a backyard cook with thirty years’ experience, he sold small batches of smoked meats to friends and found a job managing a Dollar General store—not exactly his passion. While searching for a new path, a former church member invited him over for dinner (she was from New Orleans, Joubert said, so he wasn’t going to turn her down) and suggested he open his own place. She called a building owner who was looking for a tenant, and Joubert got a good deal on a lease for the space that now houses Jube’s Smokehouse. The place has plenty of history. It was most recently the short-lived Brown’s BBQ, but Joubert remembers Floyd’s Bar-B-Cue serving the neighborhood from the same spot for decades.
Joubert’s menu is a mix of his new and native homes. Texas barbecue staples of smoked brisket, pork ribs, and sausage are joined by Louisiana specialties like dirty rice and gumbo, though the latter isn’t available during warm months. As Joubert explained, “traditionally, us Creole people don’t want no hot food in the summer.” He grew up in in Plaisance, Louisiana, northwest of Opelousas, and still swears the boudin at the town’s Ray’s Grocery is the best he’s ever eaten. His family ran a smokehouse, and he remembers as a child having smoked hams, bellies, and sausages but also smoked beef. “They’d butcher cattle, load it up with rock salt to season it, and so it’ll last. They’d hang it up in the smokehouse and let it smoke,” he said, noting that the beef carcass was hung intact to smoke, something I’ve never heard of before.
Business is growing steadily for Joubert. He started with just a 125-gallon smoker and soon had to add one twice the size. He just purchased yet another—this one is 500 gallons—earlier this month. All three are set up behind the building, where Joubert keeps them stoked with oak and pecan.
I tried his barbecue for the first time several months back. I loved his rich potato salad, which may have contained more eggs than potatoes. The brisket and sausage were decent, and the smoky ribs I thought were worth returning for, but I couldn’t shake the urge to try his specialty stuffed chicken. It’s only available by special order, which must be done 24 hours in advance. The whole smoked chicken can come stuffed with jambalaya or dirty rice for $35. Joubert even uses cornbread dressing during the holiday season. I ordered one via Facebook and opted for the dirty rice on Joubert’s recommendation. I’m glad I did.
The dirty rice recipe comes from his mother, or at least the basics of it. “My mom is the best dirty rice cooker on Earth,” Joubert said, admitting, “She won’t tell me everything she does.” He loads his up with pork and spices and begins the cooking process but doesn’t quite finish it. The dirty rice is taken off the heat before it’s done, and it’s stuffed into the chicken so it can soak up the juices as the rice finishes cooking. The whole bird, a rather large one, is smoked for three hours at around 250 degrees. It came out incredibly juicy, with a nicely browned skin. The dirty rice inside was some of the best I’ve eaten anywhere and could make a meal in itself.
Joubert has a few other specialties that require a special order, like smoked beef tenderloin, and he’ll make that gumbo if you ask, even in the summer. You don’t have to order ahead to try his smoked “jerk” chicken, which is really just a spicy smoked leg quarter. “I started cooking it so I could eat it,” Joubert said, and it’s done beautifully. You can always get a leg quarter and some dirty rice on the side, but there’s something special about the rice that fills the whole smoked chicken. It’s a little bit of Texas and Louisiana rolled up into one—kind of like its creator—and it’s worth planning ahead for.