Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Texas Rib Kings

AUSTIN: Texas Rib Kings
9012 Research Blvd

Austin, TX 78758


Open M-Thur 11-8:30, F-Sat 11-9

This joint does it's best to look like pure Texas in a strip mall, with walls lined with trophies and certificates from various BBQ competitions around the state. That alone was enough to temper my expectations. Not that winning BBQ competitions in Texas is a small feat, but the irony is that it rarely translates into quality mass produced 'cue. You see, the competition environment is geared towards paying meticulous attention to a small batch of meat for a very long time. That care can be hard to replicate when the lunch rush arrives, and you need to have food ready for all of them. On this day there was no lunch rush as it was the day after New Year's, and many folks were taking the day off. That allowed me to have the joint almost to myself to dive into ribs and brisket while watching some football.

The brisket slices here were fatty to a fault with a dark crust and mild smoke flavor. The meat had decent tenderness, but the flavor was pure roast beef. The crust on the ribs was not as well formed, but I still held out hope for a stand-out bone from the Rib Kings. Biting through the crust revealed tender meat with a mild smokiness but not much flavor. After two slices of brisket and a rib, I politely put the remains into a to-go container and left to search for greener pastures.

Rating **
Texas Rib Kings on Urbanspoon

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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.