Pok-e-Jo’s Smokehouse was founded in 1979 by three friends with the idea to open a barbecue restaurant in north Austin. Porky Haberman, Joe Slayton and Doug Bohne bought an old house on Burnet Road and opened their first location.

40 years later, they have five locations as well as a successful catering business. Porky’s son, Danny, joined the company in the 1980s and is now a co-owner.

“The core of all good barbecue in Texas is the brisket,” Haberman said. “So, of course we do brisket.”

The brisket at Pok-e-Jo’s is hand trimmed and covered with the restaurant’s special rub. It is smoked for at least 12 hours and it rests for three to four hours before slicing fresh for each guest.

Although Pok-e-Jo’s menu features meats such as brisket, pork, chicken and sausage, the restaurant is known for their wide-variety of house-made sides, Haberman said.

“We have had up to 22 different side dishes at times,” he said.

Popular side dishes include: potato salad, cornbread casserole, mac and cheese and broccoli salad. Haberman said the staff at Pok-e-Jo’s make the side dishes fresh each day.

“The fried okra doesn’t hit the fryer until you order it, then we bring it to your table when it's ready,” Haberman said. “That’s the kind of ‘fresh’ we put in our sides.”

Pok-e-Jo’s brings its food to events all across the Austin-area. The restaurant caters weddings, graduations, church picnics, work events and tailgate parties at the University of Texas.

“We’ve established ourselves as the place to call if you’re having an event,” Haberman said. “Our barbecue is tailor-made to serve big groups of people.

Pok-e-Jo’s caters hundreds of weddings a year, according to Haberman. “It’s pretty special that so many people trust us with those events,” he said.

Pok-e-Jo’s newest location in Georgetown opened at the end of 2019. After the height of the pandemic in 2020, Haberman said staff members are trying to reintroduce themselves to the Georgetown community.

Most of the Pok-e-Jo’s locations are cafeteria style, where customers walk through a line and choose meats and sides. The Georgetown location was originally designed differently, but after hearing customer feedback, the owners decided to remodel it and go “back to the old-school way.”

“People get a better experience when they can see us cut their brisket and serve their sides right in front of them, so we’re bringing that back,” Haberman said.

The Georgetown location is still open during remodeling. Renovations should be complete in the next couple of weeks and the location will be ready for its relaunch in early May, according to Haberman.

“We want to remind people that we’re here and we’re still putting the same care and consideration in our food like we’ve been doing for the last 40 years,” Haberman said.

To learn more about Pok-e-Jo’s, visit pokejos.com.

The above story was produced by Mary Katherine Shapiro, a member of Community Impact's Storytelling team, with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team. Our integrity promise to our readers is to clearly identify all CI Storytelling posts so they are separate from the content decided upon, researched and written by our journalism department.