An early sign of summer of the Peninsula is the stack of fresh and aged alder in front of Black Jaxx Bar-B-Que on the Spur Highway in Soldotna, the early morning smoke curling in the air and the long line of cars lined up to get their favorite brisket, ribs, chicken, pulled pork and the best barbeque beans in the Great Land. Harold Bundt has been snow birding between Oklahoma and Alaska for more than a decade now, having his first smoker out in Sterling before he moved into Soldotna a few years back. “I learned in Oklahoma and it’s all about hard work, long hours and no short cuts, that’s the difference in our meats and we do it the same every day and no one is ever disappointed. I get up at 3:00am and put on the meat and wood on the fire, then I sit and be sure the smoker holds the right temperature and is fired up good then I go back home and take on the Nikki the Bean Queen’s to-do list and that keeps me about all night long,” says the king of bologna.
Harold and Nikki came home early this year, “The weather was so nice up here and we were tired of getting all the snow and ice down in Oklahoma that you were supposed to have up here so I told Nikki to get in the truck and she did and headed north and wouldn’t you know it the first day back it snowed,” laughed Harold. Nikki is happy to be home and making her secret recipe barbeque beans again, “I’ve been accused of using controlled substances in my beans because you just can’t get enough of them and while they may be addictive that’s all I’m saying except that we smoke the meat not the beans,” she laughed. Nikki’s daughter Keegan Eshleman is also back at the window filing orders this year and is a delightful young lady to serve you. And something new this year at Black Jaxx is smoked turkey legs, “We’ve been thinking about it for a couple of years and we’re doing it this year, we found some wonderful turkey legs and brought them up from Oklahoma to try this year, but we’ll only be smoking turkey legs on Saturdays and Sundays unless there’s another special session in Juneau,” joked Nikki. Black Jaxx is open 7 days a week from 11:00am until they sell out, “Sometimes the line is really long so it’s best to call in your order to be sure we don’t sell out first and you can just drive up to window pick it up and get a going. We can do whatever amount you need as long as we have a day or so notice in advance,” said Harold.