Sunday, August 29, 2010
DENISON: Old Mining Camp Smokehouse
3003 S. Woodlawn
Denison, TX 75020
Open Tues-Sat 10:30-6
Just up the road from the little shack that is Randy's sits The Old Mining Camp Smokehouse. I missed it on a previous trip to the area because the owners had closed for a few days to watch their daughter graduate from college. They were open this trip, but my order was again delayed by a lack of greenbacks. The owners Darrell and Rebecca Harris take cash only at this modified food trailer. I returned to place my order, and waited for my number to be called as I sat alongside other hungry folks at one of the covered picnic tables outside. Then I waited a little longer, and waited some more. I guess good smoked meats take time.
A plate of brisket and ribs came with okra and a side of their brown gravy sauce. In another bag were a couple of the sausage stuffed jalapenos that are popular in the area. The Texoma area has a niche BBQ style with items unlike anywhere else in Texas. The brown gravy sauce is one of those traditions, but it was actually developed just across the border in Oklahoma at a place called PO Sam's which is long since gone. Jalapenos stuffed with ground sausage then breaded and deep fried are also only found in numbers in this area of Texas. I learned about all of this in a great series of articles by Edward Southerland of Texoma Living that describes the region's best BBQ.
I may never have heard about this joint, except that it's been on the list of Texoma's best BBQ in 2009 and again this year, so I was excited when my number was finally called. My brother-in-law and I hopped in the car and opened the box quickly to reveal some huge spare ribs and beautifully sliced brisket. The first bite came from the brisket. Just a tad on the dry side, this brisket had an otherwise erfect texture with a small line of fat clinging to each slice from the flat. As evidenced by a thick smokering and the black crust that provided a bit of a crunch as I bit through it, these were some smoky slices of beef. The meat had incredible flavor overall, so I was really looking forward to the ribs, but first I had to try this sauce. While it's called a brown gravy sauce, it's really a shade of burnt yellow. The recipe is really that of a traditional flour thickened gravy, but the base is brisket drippings and plenty of spices are added. The result isn't something meant for savoring alone because the flavors and the smokiness are ultra intense. Just a bit of it will deepen the flavor of any meat, while too much may leave your tongue numb from all that smokiness. Now, back to those ribs. These suckers were large and meaty, but were perfectly cooked and had well rendered fat throughout. Each bite through the thick meat pulled easily from the bone, and had plenty of smoke. All that was lacking in these ribs was a little seasoning to really bring out the flavors that were too subtle.
Not subtle were the stuffed jalapenos that really packed a flavor and heat whallop. Luckily the nicely crisp okra was there to help stave off some of the heat. Even while I was stuffed from several BBQ stops just before this one, I found myself opening the box again and again just to get one more bite of that brisket.
Posted by BBQ Snob at 7:12 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