When you share your life with a professional chef you don't often get to enjoy a lot of weekend nights out for dinner like everyone else. Sunday nights are the closest thing to Saturday we have- it's his first day off and my last day off. This Sunday we decided to take advantage of a gift card I received as a thank you for participating in a special promotion hosted by the Iowa Pork Producers Association and head to Jethro's for some delicious grub.
If you are a fan of Man vs. Food, Jethro's might sound familiar to you! Adam Richman and crew were visiting the Des Moines area back in 2010 and he attempted (and failed!) the Adam Emmenecker Challenge (more on that later) at Jethro's Forest Avenue location in Des Moines. Locally owned, Jethro's now has five locations around Des Moines and some of the best barbeque around. Jethro's was also a sponsoring partner in the IPPA pork promotion and provided awesome gift packages for the bloggers who participated to give away to lucky readers.
We decided to visit the Jethro's in the suburb of Waukee, Jethro's Jambalaya- a barbeque powerhouse with a Cajun twist. The menu is impressive, appetizers, barbeque specialties, sandwiches, burgers, chicken- and a whole menu of Cajun dishes. We are big menu researching people, and always like to check out a restaurant online before we even head out the door, so we knew before we got there what we wanted- the famous tenderloin.
Waiting for our food to come out, which took just a few minutes, we were able to browse the fun wall displays- the Hall of Fame and Hall of Shame...... the results of the many attempts to defeat the Adam Emmenecker Challenge. The challenge was created to honor former Drake University basketball player Adam Emmenecker, who was a regular at the original Forest Avenue location, and includes all of his favorite foods on one plate: cheeseburger, bacon, smoked brisket, fried cheese curds, white cheddar cheese sauce, buffalo chicken tenders, pork tenderloin, a bun, spicy pickle AND a pound of waffle fries. You have 15 minutes to eat it.......
|Only 3 have defeated the Challenge at this location|
|but has three walls of those who failed.|
The restaurant has been featured in many magazines and newspapers including being one of the Top Ten Manliest Restaurants on Mens Health Magazine. Articles and covers are proudly displayed. It's fun and exciting to see a local business have such an impact.
Our tenderloins arrived and all I can say is- wow. Just wow. They are HUGE! I couldn't even see the plate! The Chef got down to business right away but I knew mine was going to be a two-meal event. Every table at Jethro's has all of their sauces on the table, so there is no way I am going to go with ketchup and mustard. I set the bun aside for now and just did the fork and knife thing, trying all the sauces. Each one was very different and unique. I found myself going back to the Traditional and the Thick and Sweet sauce.
I could only manage the outer "rim" of my tenderloin and a handful of the yummy waffle fries before I had to give up. Not a bad thing- just means I have another meal tomorrow!
The Chef however.......he wasn't messing around. Empty plate club lifetime achievement member!
Though we didn't actually try any of the barbeque, we left full and happy, and we know we will be back. Lots of seating inside and out means a short wait if at all, and the Cajun menu bring a whole new dining option for us in the future. We can't wait to try it everything! Now that we're back in the city we have all the Jethro's locations to check out, including the soon-to-open Italian-theme Jethro's in nearby Altoona. I can't wait!!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 55: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising." A free giftcard was given to me as thank you for participation with the IPPA.