Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mama & Papa B's Bar-B-Q

WACO: Mama & Papa B's Bar-B-Q
525 S 8th St

Waco, TX 76706


Open M-Thur 11-8, F-Sat 11-10

I drove by the joint looking for the sign that I'd seen in Wyatt McSpadden's Texas BBQ book, but the wall facing the corner had been whitewashed. I learned from the owner that he'd paid a man to repaint the sign, and he'd all but disappeared after the single coat of white paint was applied. They're still looking for someone to repaint if you're interested.

Luckily the front window is still painted with a sign, so I knew I was in the right place. Inside the glass door, the tempting smell of smoke from hickory, pecan, mesquite and oak (and pretty much any other wood they can get their hands on) hung in the air. They offered a rib sandwich and a two meat sandwich or sausage and brisket. Brisket had one of the deepest smoke rings I've seen anywhere along with a crisp black crust. The tender meat had great smoke flavor and well rendered fat throughout. The only down side was the slightly dry texture. Elgin sausage was a great blend of spicy, peppery, moist meat that had plenty of good smoke. Sliced lengthwise, it was easier to enjoy in large bites.

The ribs also had a nice bark and just enough good smoke. The overall flavor was great from simple seasoning and little else. Meat needed just a slight tug to come off the bone, but some of the chewy fat could have been better rendered. I liked that they separated the ribs tips and left them on the plate. Gnawing on these tasty morsels was almost better than the meat on the long bones. Here's hoping that you can find it on your trip to Waco because it's really worth a stop, sign or no sign.

Rating ****
Mamma & Pappa B's Bar-B-Q 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.