Jiggs is a shack by the side of the old Mother Road through Oklahoma. It has a front porch for settin’ a spell, and interior accommodations that include construction spools transformed into eating surfaces, as well as some kitchenette tables in a small annex near the meat counter. Wood-paneled walls are decorated with patrons’ business cards, a jackalope head, and odes to meat-eating heroes John Wayne, Bob Wills, and Marty Robbins. Washrooms are labeled “Toms” and “Hens.” The whole restaurant is perfumed by the smell of smoke and meat.
The beef jerky made here is outstanding — a tough and delicious chaw. Slices of loin as big as a handkerchief are desiccated in a dry mix of brown sugar, garlic, and cayenne pepper and slow-smoked over coarse-ground hickory sawdust for up to 24 hours. The result? Gnarled burnt-sienna-colored patches that pack a resounding harmony of beef, pepper, and smoke.
Unlike the mighty jerky, Jigg’s barbecue is all tenderness. But some of the specialty sandwiches are a different kind of challenge to eat. The Wooly Burger, for example: thirty-one ounces of smoked ham and summer sausage plus cheddar cheese, chow chow relish, mayonnaise and barbecue sauce. The menu calls it “2 lbs of fun!!!” Jiggs’ pigsickles, which are slabs of rib meat (no bones) with cheddar cheese and sauce, come in as doubles and triples. Normal-size sandwiches also are available; sausage and beef brisket are exemplary. No vegetables are available other than beans, potato salad, and potato chips.