Soul food is a family affair at Gert’s BBQ, the lovechild of Rodney Jones and his nephews Walter and Donnell Jackson, the executive chef. The mobile kitchen offers hands down some of the best barbeque in the city. The menu is expansive and includes DDOTs (sliders), wings, ribs, and catfish, as well as dangerously addictive sides of green bean casserole, potato and macaroni salads, and hand-cut fries.
With a $10 bill, I went for the Soul Bowl, aptly described as a “flavor explosion.” It’s a deceivingly large, layered pile of green bean casserole, pulled pork, and potato salad—a messy slice of barbecue heaven. It left me with a full stomach and a few dollars to spare.
How long have you been truckin’?
[Rodney Jones] We started on July 10 and we’ve had some soft openings, but our grand opening was just this past Saturday, August 1.
Where do you post up, and why?
Friday and Saturday from 6-10 we’re in Columbia City on Rainier Ave, and we’re looking at two locations on Capitol Hill for lunch and possibly a dinner—“soul hour”—Monday through Thursday. Our spot wasn’t necessarily my first choice, but we’re learning as we go because there’s not really a guidebook.
Why did you choose the mobile life?
[When we first] proposed doing the barbecue thing, Walter and Donnell and I asked each other “What do you know about working in a restaurant besides your days working at McDonalds in high school?” I would’ve been concerned running a restaurant because then you have to deal with costs and overhead.
What’s the must-try item?
Our specialty is ribs; Donnell makes some incredible ribs.
I’m not trying to be egotistical, but everything is good. We all eat it, and if it wasn’t good we wouldn’t put it out there. If you come to the truck we’ll let you sample the food before you even think about paying for it, but if you try I guarantee you’ll buy. It’s a family thing and we want to share it. We’re just happy to have the means and the opportunity.