Established in 1979, JD’s Steak Pit in Fort Lee has been a staple to the community for decades. So when the Lin family decided to purchase the establishment in 2007, they knew they wanted to keep the name, but give the menu a fresh upgrade (while keeping some fan favorites).
True to their name, JD’s Steak Pit is all about the meat. From their classic Canadian Baby Back Ribs that have been on the menu for decades and have remained a true old-time favorite due to the leaner cut of meat to their updated smokehouse menu that features Texas style smoked BBQ. They’ve successfully updated a classic with even more classics – just from a different state.
“The town has changed over the last few years and we wanted to be a part of Main Street’s revitalization,” said Sarah Lim, manager of JD’s Steak Pit. “JD’s has a lot of history, being an old-school steakhouse, but we also wanted to up the ante a bit.”
Jump back to before they were smoking meats, the Lim family decided to bring something a bit different to town. In July 2013, they converted the second floor, which used to be JD’s party room, into a sister restaurant – the Boiling Pot. Featuring Louisiana style seafood boils, Boiling Pot has been an instant success.
In Fort Lee, well really, all of New Jersey, there aren’t many places where you can order a huge bag of seafood that’s cooked in spices and broth, then loaded up in a bag where you’re expected to just dig in with your hands. And once you taste the lighter olive oil based Cajun sauce, you’ll start to realize that those Southerners are onto a few things, especially in the kitchen, which brings us back to JD’s Steak Pit.
Texas Smoked BBQ at JD’s Steak Pit
Just as much a sensory experience as the Boiling Pot, when the Lim family finally introduced smoked BBQ to JD’s Steak Pit, people went a little hog-wild. It’s no surprise considering the meats are smoked for 8 hours with beer, vinegar, apple juice, and a Texas rub. The brisket is a popular choice, but so are the spare ribs that fall off the bone, and the stovetop bacon mac n’ cheese which is always creamy and never baked.
Different than your typical BBQ joint, JD’s is still table service and the menu is full of meat that’s always served hot with sides including their Bourbon Sauce featuring Jim Bean whiskey. Pair it with a $5 craft beer (no happy hour needed) and you’ve got a night out where you can get dirty without the dirty faces!
“It all comes back to eating with your hands and with your family,” said Lim. “Our communal tables promote sharing everything on your plate. I love overhearing families and friends urging each other to try this sauce or this meat or this sauce with this meat. The atmosphere is electric.”
Having a hard time figuring out which restaurant to choose from? It’s ok, you can be a seafood and landlubber at the same time. During any night of the week at JD’s Steak Pit they encourage you to feast. Customers can always be seen with a big platter of meat and a big bag of seafood and really, if you can have both, why wouldn’t you?