Dallas, TX 75220
Open Sun-Thur 11-10, F-Sat 11-11
This purveyor's name is probably familiar to most of you out there from Pappadeaux, Pappasito's and Pappas Bros. Steakhouse. This Houston based family of chains churns out some decent quality grub at most every location, so I wanted to see how well they could handle smoked meat, so I traveled to Northwest Highway and I-35 in Dallas where you can find every version of the Pappas family.
The design of the whole joint is aiming towards rustic, but it felt more like cavernous on a Tuesday afternoon at lunch time with only about 1/2 of the tables full. I stepped up to the counter and ordered the "House Special" which is a plate full of brisket, sausage, ham, a large spare rib and two sides. The standard BBQ accompaniments of beans, slaw and potato salad are available, but I couldn't pass up the fresh pea salad with bits of cheddar cheese and the spicy rice, which tasted like a better, meatier version of Tony Cachere's boxed jambalaya. After a few pickles and cherry pepper, I was getting full before I even started on the meat.
Not to worry...I always have room for smoked meat. Salt was the dominant flavor in the ham. This pork must have taken only a quick dip in the smoker. The sausage was better with a multitude of spices. I detected black pepper, red pepper, garlic and what I think may have been oregano. The meat had a fine grind and decent snap. I asked an employee where it was made, and they said the special recipe links came from the home office. The spare rib had been basted with a sweeter version of the dipping sauce, and was not as meaty as expected. The meat was a bit dry and the crust had wilted under the liquid baste. The meat was red, but had little smokiness. The overall flavor was passable, but it needed the sauce. Sliced brisket was the real winner. The beef came from the point as evidenced by the fat interlaced throughout the meat. Luckily, this brisket had been adequately smoked so the fat was well rendered. A hearty crust and a deep red smokeline helped contribute to the deep smoky flavor. The salty rub had permeated the meat eliminating the need for any sauce. Ribs might not be their specialty, but the Pappas family knows how to smoke a brisket.