BJ’s Ribs & BBQ
Behind Island Tacos, across from the Iao Theater, Market St., Wailuku
Opens Fri. at 3pm, Sat.-Sun at 11am
“It’s the same old story,” says Bill Jones as he places a Styrofoam container laden with aromatic barbeque on the picnic table in front of me. “I couldn’t find ribs the way I like them, so I had to make them myself.”
Last month, Jones set up BJ’s Ribs & BBQ in the lot across from the Iao Theater in Wailuku. He’s working in conjunction with Chuck Harron, whose Island Tacos stand is a fixture in that spot. Jones has big plans: he wants to build a stage for live music, move into a permanent, indoor location by next year and eventually turn his operation into a statewide franchise. “That’s my dream,” he says, flashing a smile that tells you he means business.
For now, the digs are humble. But what about the food? The ribs, which I dive into first, are flavorful and fall-off-the-bone tender. The sauce is slightly sweet but doesn’t overpower the meat, smoked with kiawe and charcoal. On the side I opt for baked beans—sweetened with pineapple—and cole slaw. My dining companion gets the sausage plate, a spicy link on a bun that also comes with two sides.
Those packing a king-sized appetite can get a full rack of ribs. Smaller plates are also available, and if you ask nicely Jones—who’s been on-island for about two years and retains a bold, Southern charm—might even give you a taste for free (no promises). He admits he’s just starting out and that these first weeks are crucial. “Word of mouth can make you or break you on Maui,” he says. If there’s any justice, BJ’s will make it. Maui Time Weekly, Jacob Shafer