by Kat Robinson
For the name of a place to so clearly come out amidst the Hogg’s Breath, the Spunky Pig, the Pudgy Pig, Hook Line & BBQ and such takes talent. So upon hearing about a place called Imajerk BBQ — well, we had to check it out.
Thing is, there’s a reason it got the name, and a story about getting there — and getting out of there. It all started on a Saturday afternoon in Cedarville.
Photographer Grav Weldon and I were heading to the first Razorback game of the season. We figured since the game didn’t start until six that we could grab lunch on the way up. Besides, the particular brand of GPS mapping locator system (okay, it was a TomTom) told us we could actually take Highway 59 up through to Siloam Springs, over and across — or take Highway 220 from just north of town and end up at Devil’s Den State Park. He’d seen the name somewhere, and being the curious folks we are we decided to go take a look.
Now, the first thing we noticed on arrival was that some jerk had parked his pickup truck in the center of one side of the parking lot. We didn’t really know what this meant. Was this the owner? Could that explain the name? There was also, inexplicably to us, a large portion of tree trunk next to the sign. We never did learn the significance of that.
Our waitress came over and dropped off menus. “Beverages on the back,” she told us, walking away to tend to another customer. The first thing I noticed was the beer. Crawford County is dry, but Imajerk BBQ has its own liquor license and serves about a dozen beer varieties.
Inside, the menu was pretty straightforward — dinners with two sides, sandwiches, side items and “just meat.” The meats were pretty inclusive — pork, brisket, bologna, chicken, ribs. Among the sides were smoked beans, fried okra, mustard potato salad and baked potato salad, fries and cranberry coleslaw. The last item in that list piqued my curiosity. I decided to get myself a brisket sandwich and some of that coleslaw. Grav wasn’t as hungry and just asked for a single chicken breast.
While we waited, we chatted about our assignment at the game and gawked at the T-shirts, many of which were tie-dyed. A few minutes later our waitress was back with our order and refills.
I had to try the barbecue sauce before I put it on my sandwich, and I was pleased to find it sweet and tangy, a little but not very spicy, a little runnier than firm and quick to soak into the meat. It was a good call.
So, he got to talking with the waitress, and it turns out that the owner’s ex-wife inspired the name. I guess that makes a lot of sense. So just in case you were wondering…
None of this, of course, is a detriment to the decently good barbecue you’ll find at Imajerk BBQ. If you’re in that neck of the woods, you should go. It’s located at 8828 Highway 59 North in Cedarville, north of Van Buren. Since that highway’s the only one that goes through town, you can’t miss it. Imajerk is open Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. You can call if you somehow miraculously manage to get lost, to (479) 262-2144. If you do want a drink, private club membership is free. And remember not to take Highway 220 if you really don’t like to go 15 miles an hour for 20 miles.