Located right on the harbor in Gloucester, away from the touristy area, Smokin' Jim's BBQ catches your eye with its half dozen oil drum style smokers sitting on a raised deck. It’s a take-out joint that has a few picnic tables near the marina. The menu is fairly simple, with chicken, pork ribs, pulled pork sandwiches and the usual sides. There is no alcohol.
I ordered their ribs and a pulled pork sandwich. Smokin’ Jim himself assured me it would be the best pulled pork sandwich I ever ate or he’d refund my money.
The ribs were well coated in sauce and very tender (actually, too tender). Although they were smoky, I could tell after one bite that these were the stewed kind, with the smoker used primarily to add a little crust and flavor. They should have stayed in there a little longer, because they weren’t hot or crusty enough. The dark brown sauce was fairly neutral. Even though the pulled pork looked a little oversauced too, the meat was very good. There was a lot of smoke and a lot of flavor in all of the pieces, with a good amount of bark. The sauce did detract a little, but this was a good sandwich. Definitely not the best (or close to it), but good enough.
My sides were average. Beans were decent, done in the same style as the kind you get in a can, but better. The cole slaw was too soupy but had a good flavor. I think there were some chives or cilantro in there.
The bottom line: I can’t recommend the ribs, but the rest was at least adequate. This is nowhere near destination barbecue, but it’s better than what you’ll find in downtown Gloucester.