Monday, November 16, 2009

Fun Eats in Ohio

As we are both Certified BBQ Judges with the Kansas City BBQ Society, we hate to miss an opportunity to check out interesting BBQ restaurants. So we were eager to try Jed's BBQ & Brew located directly across the street from our motel in Maumee, Ohio (just outside of Toledo) last week.

The parking lot was practically overflowing so The Big Guy had me jump out to check on how long a wait we'd have. Turns out the joint is much larger inside than it looks so I was seated immediately. While waiting for him to find somewhere to park, I began skimming the menu. Surprisingly, the only "BBQ" on the menu was a pulled pork sandwich hidden among other sandwich selections. (The waitress says they do have ribs on Tuesdays.) Surprised but not disappointed, we were fascinated by some of the interesting offerings. Basically a sports bar, Jed's offers a "pub style" selection but with some quirky twists!

Their signature item is "Fire Balls." The original Fire Ball is a boneless, skinless chicken chunk (larger than a nugget) that's been lightly breaded, flash fried and then dunked in a sauce of your choice. Among the 15 sauces offered are the usual flavors as well as names like "Superfly", "Hot Honey", "Sweet Jalapeno", "Sweet Baby Jane's", "Jed's Secret Sauce" and "Mike's Louisiana Licker". We tried the Mike's. It was sweet with a kick.

The interesting twist to the Balls is the list of "Specialty Balls" with names like "Hangover Balls", "Thunder Balls", "Freak Balls", "Fungus Balls", "Garbage Balls" and "Bette Balls". Basically, these are dishes of Fire Balls with toppings (like a nacho platter). "Hangover Balls" are topped with shredded cheese, tater tots, green pepper, onions, bacon and two fried eggs! "Garbage Balls" offer bacon, sauteed mushrooms, fries, black olives, Bleu cheese crumbles and cheese. So what are "Bette Balls"? A lot of the menu items bear names so I guess this was Bette's personal concoction - chopped hard boiled eggs, bacon and cucumbers, all tossed in Bette dressing and then served on a bed of spinach.

Another specialty is "Spudsters," deep fried mashed potatoes offered with a choice of sauces, sour cream, ranch dressing or butter. These are NOT your Mama's pan-fried potato patties. These are balls of mashed potatoes which have been battered and then deep fat fried. We didn't try these but they did look good as they passed by our table!

They also offered some unique pizza combinations, fries with various toppings, some really creative burgers, salads and fried pickles.

It took us a while just to read the menu and even longer to make up our minds, We only regret we couldn't try more of the unique items. Maybe next trip. (We usually seem to stop at this point, often staying in the same motel.)

Jed's also has locations in Toledo proper, Perryburg, Bowling Green and is soon opening in Sylvania, Ohio, too.

We're actually planning to serve our own version of Fire Balls at a get-together we have coming up. Seems easy enough to execute and is something different from the run-of-the-mill nibbles this time of year.

Why not give it a try yourself? Go ahead, get creative with them.


Holly said...

This place sounds incredibly interesting. I got a chuckle from all the different "ball" varieties. I think it would be so awesome to be an official barbecue judge! How did you come about that?

Ramblin Mama said...

KCBS (the Kansas City BBQ Society) holds periodic one-day classes all around the country to certify judges. There is a charge for the class and you must join KCBS at that time. Once certified, you can judge any KCBS competition, anywhere (even in other countries). You can check out their website at for locations and dates of classes. We have throughly enjoyed judging for the last five years and have met so many fantastic folks out there who are really having a great time.