Nestled off the beaten path in Cockeysville, Maryland sits a BBQ powerhouse that is pumping out some amazing food. Located right off of Falls Road, Jake’s Grill is a back-road BBQ joint that demands your attention. I first heard of Jake’s through a random Google Maps search that kept on leading me back to Jake’s Grill. I’ll admit I was a touch apprehensive when I saw the images of the outside but once I started seeing some of the rave user reviews and pictures of the food, I knew I had to try it.
When you first pull-up to Jake’s you immediately realize that this place is about the food, there’s no fancy decor or sign that’s trying to lure you in. The only thing Jake’s needs to lure you in are the three mammoth smokers they have running and the hypnotic aroma of the smoke that comes from them. When you walk in you immediately realize what I’m talking about, it’s a spartan seating area and a counter where you tell the men behind the counter what you want. I advise that you be quick with your order because you don’t want to hold up the line of hungry people behind you.
Jake’s menu is simple. You have the pit sandwiches (beef, chicken, turkey, and ham), ribs, and two sides (cole slaw and/or mac & cheese). The prices are very reasonable. We ordered a pit beef sandwich, pulled pork, a half rack of ribs, two sides of mac & cheese, and a drink and it came in under 30 dollars. That’s a LOT of food.
The pit beef is served to you naked and there is a fixins bar right there for you to dress your sandwich any way you like, I always go horseradish and mayo with mine. The pit beef is thinly cut and magically smoked. The smokey flavor is in every bite of the beef which isn’t overly chewy like some other places. The roll is a standard no frills roll, but it’s really about the meat and honestly you’ll need a fork to eat this sandwich because they give you an enormous portion.
The pulled pork is naked as well but it’s seasoned with some spicy jalapenos as well, it’s not so spicy that you can’t eat it but it’s spicy enough to have a kick, I recommend topping this with some of the mac & cheese, some cole slaw, and the house BBQ sauce. You will not regret this choice either, the pork is tender and the entire creation will quickly disappear as you’ll be unable to control yourself.
From the sandwiches we moved to the half-rack and I have to say these maybe some of the best smoked ribs I’ve ever had, the smoke permeates throughout the entire cut of ribs and each bite is a juicy smokey bite of pork heaven. They taste as if you had just smoked them yourself for several hours in your backyard, they’re not sopping with sauce but they have just enough to balance out the entire thing. The meat is incredibly tender, it doesn’t fall of the bone, but that’s not how smoked ribs operate.
Your choice of sides is an order of coleslaw or macaroni & cheese. The mac is not overly cheesy it’s more mild, but it’s still pretty satisfying. I would prefer it to be a little creamier and cheesier, but to each their own. I didn’t get to try the coleslaw but if the rest of their food is any hint, I’m sure it’s a home-run.
Jake’s Grill rivals some of Baltimore’s great BBQ establishments: Andy Nelson’s, Smoke, Charcoal Deli, and Jurasic Pork. I’ll still say Jurasic is still the best, but these guys are right there with him.
Overall Score: A
Parking: Easy but sparse, if you go at peak lunch hour be prepared to have to park sort of on the side of the road as it fills up fast with big lumbering contractor trucks.
Service: They’re very friendly and the woman behind the counter is very helpful should you have any questions.