Tuesday, March 15, 2011
GRAND PRAIRIE: Eddlemon's BBQ 3202
SE 14th St.
Grand Prairie, TX 75052
Open Daily during course hours
At the beginning of their history, so many of the Central Texas BBQ meccas were once meat markets. Over time the popularity of their smoked meats eclipsed the popularity or the profit margins of their traditional business, until the day when the scales no longer weighed raw meat. Here in North Texas we have our own version of that story that involves a golf course and a Tongan brick mason.
Eddlemon's Food Shop began their long history in Grand Prairie in 1953. Over the years they started smoking meats and expanded to three meat market locations in the area. The only former location I could find was at 105 Clarice St. in Grand Prairie. Times got tough a few years back which is when brothers Johnny and Joe Eddlemon decided it was best to close up shop in 2006. At around the same time, the city of Grand Prairie was looking for a food vendor at their public golf course on the shore of Mountain Creek Lake. The Eddlemon brothers just needed a pit. Instead of grabbing a few gas fired ovens in an auction, they hired a Tongan artisan to build a new brick and steel wood fired pit. It's out back in a screened enclosure, and a tall aged Eddlemon's sign is propped alongside.
While I cautiously opened the doors into the pit area (is it open to the public?) I heard a voice behind me asking if I'd like a tour. Wheeling around sheepishly, I found Johnny Eddlemon dressed in all black and ready for a catering gig. He told me the story of the pits and some family history, then urged me to come back and have a sit down meal. He had spotted me using my to-go order as a photo model on the hood of my car.
For a place that takes their 'cue so seriously that they'd build a giant brick pit from the ground up, the sauced meat was a surprise. Ribs are not a menu option, so I opted for the sliced brisket, German sausage, and 'almost world famous' hot links. From-the-can sides were forgettable, but the meat was worth another trip. Tender brisket had captured some of that pecan smoke, but it also had grill marks and a grill-like flavor. My guess is this is from the seasoned grates that sit motionless in the smoker. Hot links had these same marks, but not the same smoke. They were a notch above the spicy bologna links that pervade the Oklahoma BBQ scene, but they were ground too fine for my liking. German sausage was excellent. These North Texas links (from an unknown supplier) had a great snap, good smoke and some unique spices. I finished every thick chunk of sausage and still couldn't pinpoint that flavor. Maybe I'll ask next time, and Ill certainly ask for my plate without the sweet and smoky sauce. There's no need here.
Posted by BBQ Snob at 7:30 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