If you are considering a trip to Jackson, Wyoming (or Jackson Hole as it is commonly called) a Chuckwagon dinner may be on your list of things to do. After researching the options for the best chuckwagon dinner in Jackson, Wyoming before our recent trip, I settled on reservations for the Bar J Chuckwagon dinner, and if it’s up to me, I’d say you need to put this super fun family activity on your itinerary. Here is everything you need to know about the best chuckwagon dinner in Jackson, Wyoming and why it’s the best deal in town.
BAR J CHUCKWAGON DINNER
Located on a working cattle ranch, the Bar J Chuckwagon aims to take you back in time to the old west with a yummy Cowboy dinner and some great, family friendly entertainment.
How it Works
- Make reservations! The Bar J Chuckwagon dinner is only open Memorial Day weekend thru the end of September and it sells out almost nightly. They can accommodate almost any size group, but you do want to plan in advance. To make reservations you have to CALL. I know. Call. Remember, this is the old west. Fancy online reservations aren’t a thing on the ranch. When you call to reserve your spots, they will take a credit card over the phone, but they do not charge the card until you arrive. Be sure to check on their cancellation policy at the time of your reservation.
- They will let you know this at the time of your reservation, but I will reiterate it…you need to be there by 5:30pm to claim your spot. As a matter of fact, I would go a bit earlier. When you arrive at the ranch there will be parking attendants to help you park your car in an orderly fashion, and then you will get in line to choose your meals and get your seat assignment for dinner. You want to be there EARLY. The dinner bell doesn’t ring until 7pm, but the seat assignments get handed out starting at 5:30 and you want to get a great seat. (all of the seats can see and hear the show just fine, but it’s always better to be closer to the stage, right? We arrived at about 5:40 and there was already a LONG line of people waiting. LONG. I was surprised by that, so don’t be surprised! 😉
- There are the following meal choices: BBQ Beef $25, BBQ Chicken $28, BBQ Chicken and Beef Combo $28, BBQ Ribs $35, BBQ Ribeye Steak $38. Each meal comes with the meat of your choice, a baked potato, BBQ beans, applesauce, a biscuit, spice cake and lemonade. Children’s meals are available for $14 and are the same size as adult meals. When you get to the front of the line you will choose and pay for the meals for your group. They will give you tickets and tell you where you can find your seats. The dinner hall is a big pavilion full of picnic tables. Each picnic table is labeled with a letter and number, ie: A7. They will write a table letter and number on your ticket and then you go and claim your seats anywhere at that table. They are large picnic tables that seat 14-16 people, so be sure to bring something to set down on your seats to hold your spots.
- Once you claim your seats you have about an hour to kill and there are gift shops, train rides (best for small children) a few animals to see, and a place to grab a biscuit and jam while you wait. In the pavilion you can purchase sodas while you wait for $3 a piece, but your dinner comes with water and lemonade, so if you aren’t thirsty, you can just wait for dinner.
- At about 6:45 you are asked to take your seats and one of the wranglers comes on stage to welcome you and tell you how dinner will be served.
- 7pm the dinner bell rings and it is time to eat! While it seems like it would take forever to feed the crowd, amazingly (and I timed it) they had everyone fed and seated again in 20 minutes. 750 people in 20 minutes is impressive! I’ll admit I expected it to feel a bit like a cattle drive, but it was very orderly and efficient. Yes, it is cafeteria style, but very well done.
- 8pm dinner is cleaned up and the show begins.
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE BAR J CHUCKWAGON DINNER
– The food is yummy! I know! I was surprised too. As a matter of fact, we all were! Our family tried the chicken, BBQ Beef and Ribeye Steak and everyone like everything they ordered. We had eaten dinner at a fancy steakhouse ($75 a la carte steak!) the night before and it was not good. This steak totally outshined the competition for a fraction of the cost.
– The food is all you can eat. Yep, go back for seconds, thirds whatever you like. If you can. We were so full we couldn’t hardly finish our first round, but if you are hungry, go back for more!
– There is a vegetarian option available
THE BAR J WRANGLERS CHUCKWAGON DINNER SHOW
After dinner you will be treated to the best part of the night, a live show with the Bar J Wranglers. A perfect mix of comedy with incredible cowboy music this 90 minute show will entertain EVERYONE. These guys are first class. I had no idea just how talented (and award winning) this group of musicians is. The Bar J Wranglers are some of the best entertainers we have heard perform in quite some time. They have met presidents, performed at the Grand Ole Opry, won national championship trophies at fiddle competitions, recorded over 20 cds and performed with Randy Travis among others. When winter hits they are a traveling show taking their act on the road to places like Utah, Idaho and California. These guys are GOOD. A delicious meal and great show for $25?! The best deal in town. Both of the kids thoroughly enjoyed the show along with John and I. It was witty and fun and kept us laughing throughout. We left with 2 of their CDs…it was that great.
A FEW TIPS FOR THE BAR J CHUCKWAGON DINNER
-Get there early (or at least on time at 5:30)
-Bring something to set on your seat to save it (a sweatshirt is perfect)
-Bring a sweatshirt/jacket
-The dinner and show are indoors
-This is a dinner/show for 750 people. If you don’t love crowds, and sitting at a table with strangers, it might not be the experience for you.
There are a few other Grand Teton chuckwagon dinners in the area, some that include a wagon ride etc. I’m sure those are fun as well, but I have to say that I think Bar J is the best chuckwagon dinner in Jackson, Wyoming because the food is delicious and the entertainment can’t be beat. Another thing that really impressed us is the way this family business is run. We didn’t realize it at the time, but the people taking our dinner orders, giving us seat assignments, and serving us our dinners were also the performers. Yep, the Bar J Wranglers, the very musicians that travel the country entertaining audiences were the ones scooping beans and taters on our plates for dinner. I love the hands-on, work together, family approach to this business. It runs like a well oiled, friendly machine.
Are you excited to visit and experience the best chuckwagon dinner in Jackson? I hope your family enjoys it as much as ours did.
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