Tuesday, August 24, 2010
TIOGA: Clark's Outpost
101 Highway 377
Tioga, TX 76271
Open M-Thur 11-9, F-Sat 11-9:30, Sun 11-8:30
Update: On a recent trip to Lake Texoma, it was my job to pick up some BBQ for Saturday's lunch. I chose Clark's for the job because I knew they specialized in packaging meat to travel. After a quick phone conversation, I had an order in for a whole brisket, a few racks of ribs, some sausage and a half chicken. When I arrived it was all ready to go in individual cryovac sacks, and the cashier brought them all out on a tray and displayed them almost like a fine wine bottle for my inspection and approval. I approved. I also couldn't make it out the door without grabbing a brisket sandwich to go.
I can't explain what my Iphone did to capture this brisket so poorly, but I hesitate to include the photo because it looks so bad. The photo couldn't be further from the truth. The meat had a beautiful black crust that crunched under my teeth. A deep smokiness ran deep into this perfectly tender meat, and the fat was nicely rendered. It's no wonder after you learn the process that Clark's goes through for their smoked briskets. Instead of 10 or 12 hours, their briskets are smoked for up to three days without a bit of seasoning. The pitmaster refers to the process more as smoke curing than simple smoking. The process makes it nearly impossible not to have tender silky meat with a great crust and smokiness. Not a bit of their excellent sauce is required.
The next day, I warmed the meat in a low oven wrapped in foil. When it was ready, the whole house had a great smokey aroma, and we devoured it so quickly I didn't have a chance to take photos. The whole brisket was even better than the sandwich from the day earlier. The ribs were also good, but had a heavy rub that didn't allow a good crust. These were also not as smoky as the brisket, but still had great flavor, tenderness and moisture. Sausage and chicken were both good, but nothing memorable. All I can remember now is how great that brisket was hot out of the oven.
2008: This joint is sited along Ray Roberts Lake in a tiny town who's visitors are most commonly stopping to get a generous plate of BBQ from Clark's. Legend tells of Dallas and Ft. Worth big-wigs landing at a nearby helipad in order to avert the hour drive. The crowds can get large on weekend evenings, but the wait is worth it. The ribs here have a dry spice rub, and are smoked until perfectly tender. The rub locks in the moisture, but it also discourages the crust from forming. I expected more flavor from the substantial rub as well. The brisket here was a good surprise. Generally ribs are easier to master than brisket, so the slightly above-average ribs didn't leave me much hope for the brisket. Wow, was I wrong. The brisket had a perfect black crust and a thick rosy smoke line. The slice had the right amount of moisture and tenderness. The flavor was excellent, but could have had more smoke outside the crust. The only thing that could have put the brisket into the perfect category would have been some nicely rendered fat along the edges which had all been trimmed away. Either way, this was some good brisket, and alone is worth the drive...or flight, whichever you can arrange.
Posted by smokemasterone at 7:22 PM
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