This is not a post about a barbecue restaurant. It’s a story about finding the Holy Grail.

In my mind, I’ve always seen what it would look like. Idealized and romanticized, a few disappointments make it easy to believe that such a thing doesn’t really exist.

A nondescript building you might miss if you weren’t looking for it. Off the beaten path. Maybe tucked away in a neighborhood. Family owned and operated. The sound of children playing next door. A small, older church across the street. The scent of hickory smoke. A rooster crowing nearby, just to make you feel as if you’re a million miles away from everything.

That is Jube’s.

Louisiana-born Patrick Joubert has been making barbecue in Dallas-Fort Worth for about seven years – the first five out of his home, and the last two-and-a half out of his tiny little barbecue restaurant in Stop Six. An ordained minister by profession, “Jube” grew up in Houston where he became steeped in the rich African-American barbecuing traditions of East Texas.

And that’s the thing: Jube doesn’t just fill hungry stomachs. He fills hungry souls.

He came by his art through exposure. Those Creole touches. A few family secrets. His influences, including one of the best of all time. For years, one of the most widely-acclaimed barbecue joints in the entire country was the legendary Church’s BBQ in Huntsville, Texas – which only recently closed after more than a half-century of reaching a part of people food only begins to touch. Jube knew it well, and took note.

As another diner said simply as we both licked our lips, “This is the truth.” He is absolutely right.

Though only neighbors with the tiny house of worship across the street on Edgewood Terrace, Jube’s is a religious experience in its own right. You don’t just come away feeling like you had a great meal. You come away feeling like you’ve made a new friend.

Going from pulpit minister to pitmaster isn’t nearly the leap some might think. Either way, it’s about feeding the multitudes – which is exactly what Jube does. Even on Tuesdays and Wednesdays – his “light days” as he calls them – get there early. Magic comes out of those smokers out back, and people in the know have learned to call ahead.

The beef brisket is sparky and as good as any you’ll find, but it’s the ribs and chicken where Jube’s laps the field. Some schools of barbecue thought dictate that smoke should provide all of the seasoning, but that’s not necessarily the East Texas Way. At Jube’s, the pork ribs are a delicate balance of both smoke, seasoning and sauce – creating a tasty glaze of delightful crunchiness over amazingly tender, fall-off-the-bone meat.

Jube’s sausage recipe is a closely-guarded family secret and is made off-site – but I’m not sure I’ve ever tasted better. The egg-rich potato salad is better than your grandmother made, the beans have that perfect hint of maple and bacon, the mac & cheese is heavenly, and there is simply no describing Jube’s dirty rice. It’s done his mother’s way, and a meal unto itself. Is that Fat Tuesday I hear approaching? Now you know who to call to make your spread complete.

But back to that barbecued chicken. Quite simply, it’s the best I’ve ever had. Anywhere. ANYWHERE.

If you ask, Jube might tell you how he does it. He shared the secret with me, but I’m quite sure he didn’t tell me everything.

What I do know is that if you want to make sure you get some, call ahead. Some days Jube will offer whole chickens stuffed with that amazing dirty rice, and he’ll also take special orders by phone. He’ll do whole turkeys that way as well, and even stuffed turkey legs. I’ve been told of other revelations I’ve yet to try, such as his nachos and a specialty he calls “grisket” – which is exactly what it sounds like: Louisiana-style grits with smoked brisket. I have visions of glory just thinking about it, and if it’s anything like what Jube does with that yardbird, it will make you a permanent convert.

By the way, I’ve heard legends about something called “Beef Rib Friday” – so you’ll know where to find me.

Jube’s Smokehouse is open Tuesday through Saturday, and is located at 1900 South Edgewood Terrace in Fort Worth. Jube’s also offers catering services.

Jube’s Website