Monday, October 11, 2010

Southside Market

ELGIN: Southside Market BBQ
1212 U.S. 290, at Hwy 95
Elgin, TX 78621
Open M-Thur 8-8, F-Sat 8-10, Sun 9-7

Update: Sometimes my first visit to a joint is misleading. It can be the best day of an average joint, or the worst day of a good place. When I visited Southside Market four years ago, I felt like I might have been catching a decent joint on a very bad day. I've been anxious to get back since, but it took some time to get the opportunity. I'm glad I made the return visit.

A four meat sampler is available, so I watched as they heaped on sliced brisket, pork ribs, a beef rib and that famous sausage (a.k.a. hot guts). Hot guts aren't quite as hot as they were back in the old days since they took some of the cayenne out of the recipe in the 70's, but you can douse yours in the hot sauce that's on every table. I even tried some of that hot sauce on the brisket with a surprisingly tasty outcome. Not that the brisket needs the sauce. It was well cooked, plenty moist with good flavor from a simple rub. It could have used a bit more smoke, but it was a good brisket overall.

I and my daughter both enjoyed the beef ribs. Big meaty back ribs were tender and covered with a rub heavy with black pepper. Pork ribs were also good, but had some chewy fat that could have rendered out a bit better. Both types of ribs needed more smoke, but they had good overall flavor. A little shot of hot sauce woke them right up. While another trip will probably focus on the sausage options, I was glad to see that Southside does a commendable job on their other meats too.

Rating ***

2006: This place is more of a superstore than BBQ joint. You can buy everything from a BBQ to bulk sausage to prepackaged jerky. I ordered a two-meat plate with brisket and their famous Elgin hot sausage. The sides tasted like Sysco, and the hot sausage wasn't hot. Southside makes an all-beef sausage that is incredibly greasy. It has good snap and a nice black pepper flavor, but almost no heat. The gray brisket here is full of unrendered fat with no crust or smoke flavor. Stick with the sausage, just drain it first.

Southside Market & BBQ Inc. 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.