Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que

NEW BRAUNFELS: Cooper's Old-Time Pit Bar-B-Que
1125 N. Loop 337
New Braunfels, TX 78130
Open Sun-Thur 11-8, F-Sat 11-9

By far the best of the Cooper's chain, this location is relatively new, and just as pristine as the new Ft. Worth location. Ordering is done right at the new stainless steel pits just inside the doors, and the display of meats is impressive.

While this is the home of the "Big Chop", I was here for a meat sampling, and the chop is only available in cuts larger than a pound each. Instead I opted for some brisket, a large pork rib, a beef rib and some pork loin. I tore into the beef rib first, and it was one of the best beef ribs I've ever eaten (second only to Louie Mueller). The meat was silky smooth from the well rendered fat within these short ribs, and the thick cut held up to the excessive seasoning that Cooper's uses on their meats before cooking. I don't call it smoking, because they use high direct heat from mesquite coals rather than creating actual smoke.

I got a piece of brisket from the end, and it just had too much seasoning to be enjoyable, but slices form the interior of the brisket were tender with just enough fat remaining on each slice. The pork rib was very good as well, but a bit tough. There was no crust, and little smokiness, but the meat was well cooked and flavorful. The pork tenderloin was perfect. Like the beef rib, this cut was thick enough to stand up to the heavy-handed black pepper and salt rub. The meat on this normally dry cut, was beautifully moist and tender. The flavor of the meat was rich and robust, and I would order it again every time.

In ranking this joint, I hesitated to give it a high rating for two reasons. There was a lack of smokiness that I prefer, and the pork rib was not exemplary. In the end, I felt I had to rate it in its own category since it is done in the direct heat "cowboy style" rather than slow smoking. That couple with the incredible beef rib and pork tenderloin, and the great brisket, I had to bump it up.

Rating ****

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1 comment:

Big Mac said...

Spot on review. My wife and I took the kids to the Ft. Worth one today since our power was still out in Dallas from the snowstorm and ordered the same things (plus cabrito). The pork loin was INCREDIBLE. That said, we missed the smoke from oak wood in the meats just as you mentioned. I gotta admit, it did feel a little odd to be eating barbecue in such a huge, clean, new, stainless establishment. I'm guessing a year or two of foot traffic will get it to feel as cozy as can be!


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.