On a visit to Jethro’s BBQ n’ Pork Chop Grill in Johnston, above, I ordered a disappointing smoked sausage. Splitting the casing before grilling lets all the juices excape, leaving behind meat with the texture and chew of a Slim Jim. I had a similar experience at Jethro's location on Forest Ave. a number of years back, while having no issues with the kielbasa served at Jethro's in West Des Moines. I fared much better with a side of jalapeńo creamed corn. Insanely rich, its more like a loose corn pudding. Baked beans were decent but chocked full of fatty chunks of pork that I cared not for. My dining companion enjoyed a much better meal with a lean, thick State Fair pork chop, and a double portion of crisp green beans.
At Smokey D's BBQ on N.W. Second, above, I enjoyed a far better smoked sausage. Served already cut into slices, the sausage was well seasoned and exceptionally tender. In fact, its the most tender smoked sausage I've enjoyed in these parts. The potato casserole was equally impressive: I'd eat this as a main course! Even the baked beans were above par. I felt no compulsion to zest them up with barbecue sauce, as I'm prone to do.
Revisiting Hickory Park Restaurant Co. in Ames for its excellent smoked polish sausage, right, I noted that while superbly crafted, it was not as well seasoned as the sausage that I had enjoyed at Smokey D's. There was no disappointment with a side of smooth mashed potatoes and gravy. I was quite taken with the chunky, creamy potato salad. I took delight in the occasional piece of chopped egg white, and crunchy bits of red bell pepper and celery.