Saturday, September 26, 2009
LILLIAN: Casstevens Cash & Carry
11025 E. FM 917
Lillian, TX 76061
Open M-Sat 10-8, Sun 10-6
Update 2009: Two trips in two years, and it was pouring down rain both times. I guess the sun shines in Lillian, I just haven't seen it. It's not like you pass through a place like Lillian. With Cedar Hill State Park to the east and nothing to the west, it's not easily accessible, but BBQ from Casstevens can make the trip worth your while.
Friday is rib day, so on a Saturday morning, I was surprised to find ribs available. They were most definitely from the night before, and I got the last remaining half rack. The rack had a rich black crust, and the meat had developed a deep smokiness evident in every chunk of meat that fell from the bone. And fall it did. After such long storage, the texture of this well seasoned meat was a bit mealy, but I knew what I was getting into when I ordered it.
Brisket was a mixture of sliced, pulled and chunked portions of the meat. It had a great smoke ring beneath bits of thick black crust. The meat was tender and very moist from the well rendered fat. A robust smoky flavor from the hickory smoke was a welcome addition to the salty rub. The hot link wasn't particularly notable, but it was a good peppery version with plenty of heat. Overall, the meats all had great flavor, and I'm sure the ribs would have been nearly perfect if they were fresh. It may not be on the way to anywhere, but I'll find a reason to make a pit stop in Lillian for more of this great 'cue.
2007: Talk about a joint with an odd name, and to top it off, the counter here is tucked inside a Diamond Shamrock gas station. Behind that counter is where these friendly folks keep their 'cue. I ordered brisket, ribs and sausage. The sausage was a nice peppery version with good snap and not too much fat. The brisket was forgettable with little crust or smoke flavor, but with decent overall taste. The ribs were the standout here with a deep black crust that added a nice textural layer over the sweet, smoky, red flesh below. The ribs were perfectly cooked with well rendered fat, and I could hardly stop eating them. Recently, the State Highway was rerouted to skirt this joint, but be sure to pull off the highway when you get near Lillian so you can sample what they have to offer.
Posted by BBQ Snob at 7:57 AM
Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.
-THE PROPHETS OF SMOKED MEAT
-THE PROPHETS OF SMOKED MEAT