Monday, December 6, 2010

Sausages at Smoke

I consider both the owners and chef of Smoke friends, so I was happy to meet with them a few weeks back at the restaurant to help plan a food related event. During the meeting I munched from some samples of their house made sausage, including the rabbit sausage that's included on the newish menu. Tim Byres is stuffing and smoking the most interesting mix of sausages that I've found in Dallas, and after that bite, I knew I had to get back there to try the other house cured and cold smoked items.

Hunks of pork andouille, all spiced rabbit and beef paprika and fennel seed sausage all came on a sampler plate. Who says you don't need appetizers at breakfast? The beef sausage had a very fine grind with an a slight graininess from all that paprika. This is probably the leanest of the three options and also had the chewiest casing. The pork sausage certainly had the most heat, but was also silky smooth with plenty of pork fat added to the mix. Ironically, the rabbit sausage had a flavor most reminiscent of more traditional smoked pork sausage. I'm sure they use a little pork in the mix, and these links seemed to soak up the smoke better than the others. I'll be headed back to Smoke just for another link of that rabbit sausage.

While the above photo looks like a mess of brown sop on a plate, the ham steak with red eye gravy was a colorful combination of flavors. A griddle cake with plenty of sweet corn kernels sat in a pool of murky gravy with the unmistakable flavor of black coffee. Dense slices of smoky ham sat atop the griddle cake and an egg fritter topped the whole plate. The egg fritter was poached, breaded and fried providing an unexpected texture while still pulling off a perfectly cooked egg.

My wife's plate of turkey wasn't as successful. It was dry enough that it started to grow hair as the meat fibers raised from the slices, and each bite needed an orange juice chaser to get it down. One look at the turkey from the waiter, and there was no argument that it would come off the bill.

Sides of chicken sausage patties and thick cut bacon rounded out the meal. The chicken sausage was subtly flavored and a nicely moist without being greasy, and the bacon was much better than my first visit. These slices were a bit thinner and had been well crisped. Still plenty thick, it had the flavor of smoked pork slabs more than the burnt bacon that may escape your frying pan at home. It was certinaly a good way to end a solid six-meat breakfast.

Rating - Not all BBQ, but worth returning for.

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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.