Wednesday, March 9, 2011
RICHARDSON: Woody B's BBQ
1980 Nantucket Dr
Richardson, TX 75080
Open Tues-Sat 11-7
Although Woody Berry didn't intend it, his boil-in-bag concept that was almost an afterthought, has become the focus of many reviews. This reheating method is getting a few comments over on SideDish and Pegasus News, and I was certainly skeptical when making my purchase. I thought I'd get as many of the offerings as I could since I was going to welcome home Smokemasterone's new baby, and I wanted the proud parents to have some options. The Berry's are very proud owners and were happy to show us "The Beast" which is an Oyler smoker which holds court in a crammed kitchen. There's just enough room to open the firebox door and feed in the logs of mesquite wood. After the tour, we took our sack full of plastic baggies and made our way over to casa de SM1. A boiling pot of water and 15 minutes later, we were cracking open a sack of pulled pork.
If they had a marketing firm, I'm guessing they wouldn't feature many photos of the product before debagging it. Once we got it into a bowl, you could smell the smokiness and see the pulled strands of meat. The flavor had a hint of vinegar which helped to keep it moist, and it went perfectly with the crispy slaw.
While waiting for it all to boil, we cracked open a bag of unheated (per owner's instructions) smoked salmon. The meat was delicate, perfectly seasoned, with just the right amount of smoke. Mesquite has a reputation for creating an oversmoked flavor, but this was spot on. It was obvious why this is one of his best sellers.
The next evening back at my place it was time for another boil-fest. A pound and a half of brisket (they need to work on the package size options) and a half rack of ribs sat in the pot for 15 minutes, and dinner was ready. Brisket is a cut that is nearly impossible to heat up successfully once it's been sliced, but this beef was moist, tender and succulent. I was amazed at how well it retained a fresh flavor, and the smokiness was undeniable. One knock is that slices from the point had some unrendered fat, but this was some good brisket.
Ribs were presauced, but the addition was subtle. The meat came off the bone too easily, but after the hot bath, it's no wonder they got a bit too tender. These baby backs had a bit of fat, but it was all nicely rendered and the smoky flavors melded nicely with the black pepper in the rub. I was certainly impressed.
Given the absolute BBQ desert in the Richardson area, I could certainly see this place prospering if they just put out passable 'cue, but from what I tried, this place goes a few steps above passable. Customers will need to understand that this is not BBQ to-go. It is BBQ with some assembly required, but it's worth the effort. And if you're feeling lazy, a few slabs of that salmon would make for an even quicker dinner. I'll be back.
02/2011: Woody B's is a new venture in Richardson from Woody Berry, an experienced caterer. Rather than abandon a successful business to try and lure diners to a sit-down place, with all the risk and debt that entails, Mr. Berry has tried to find a middle-ground between caterer and restauranteur. Woody B's is take-out only, but that doesn't quite tell the tale. I walked in just after noon on a Saturday to find a front room that consists of a register and two glass-fronted reach ins. One a cooler, one a freezer. I may be the minor hand here at FCG-BBQ, but I'm willing to bet the BBQ Snob hasn't needed a colander in the quest for 'que. Everything is pre-packaged and the meats come shrink wrapped in boil-in bags. I'm not sure if this is a novel approach, but it is my first encounter.
Mr. Berry was tending the register, introduced himself immediately and ran me through the available options. He uses an Oyler pit nicknamed "The Beast". It is enshrined on one wall by way of a mural. The setup uses the small storefront to maximum efficiency and allows catering to continue without conflicting with the more fickle demands of a regular dining location. One drawback to the customer is that portion sizes are decided for you. This was a meal for two, so almost two pounds of brisket was all I could handle home without knowing how successful the boiling process might turn out. I did take some cole slaw for roughage. Fresh made cookies from the misses are also on offer. Meat came home, pot went on cooktop and 20 minutes later, dinner had arrived. It was certainly simple. The additional time at home does appear to do a better job of retaining true BBQ flavor than the ubiquitous warmed foil tray.
I got a distinct smoke bouquet when cutting the bag open. No sauce was applied and the meat was fairly dry, so removing it from the bag just took a couple brisk tugs. Once plated, it looked the part. Deep dark crust, solid smoke line. There were pieces from two parts of the cut, upper thick flat (?) and narrower mid-point perhaps. The point slices were losing integrity but had excellent flavor. The crustiest parts of the flat were terrific. The broadest pieces took a little more aggressive tug to get through than is ideal and, predictably, had the least concentrated flavor. All was cooked to a reassuring standard. The accompanying sauce was thick and sweet with a modestly tangy finish. I would have to imagine blackstrap mollasses is one of the sweeteners. The slaw was a broad cut, lightly dressed and refreshing.
Overall, the brisket is a three star effort. I'll have to hold off on a rating for the whole operation until I've had a chance to sample the babybacks. If the boil-in-bag process looks good to you, I think their product can easily outshine the take-out options of the area's old standbys.
Posted by BBQ Snob at 7:08 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