Friday, August 5, 2011

BBQ in the News

It's a long one folks. There's just so much going on in the world of BBQ these days. First off is some controversy in Austin where stolen meat was being sold to a few joints, one of which is the historic Sam's Bar-B-Cue in East Austin. All of the businesses have been shut down by the Health Department since a sting operation called "Operation Meat Locker" made it seem like these joints may have known more about the source of their cheap meat. Brian Douglas Mays was arrested from Sam's, and they only have a few days to appeal their permit revocation before the permit is gone for good. Stay tuned.

A completely different set of circumstances has brought about the closure of a true Texas original. Harold's Pit Bar-B-Q in Abilene has closed after Harold suffered a stroke, and the family just couldn't do enough to prop up the business. The closing is technically 'temporary', but hope that it reopens is slim.

In no danger of closing is the new Meat Market Barbecue in downtown San Antonio. A local food critic calls it the best BBQ in San Antonio, and suggests that it rivals the smoked meats found in Luling or Lockhart. Are there any BBQ fiends out there in SA that can back this guy up?

The Texas BBQ Posse also put out their list of BBQ favorites all over the state. I can't say I disagree with their choices.

Some of my favorites can be found in this mouth watering slideshow of the 101 best urban BBQ joints in the US as complied by Grub Street.

CNN also has a new favorite. City Meat Market in Giddings is now getting some national exposure. Maybe this will ease some of the lines at Snow's and Franklin BBQ.

The Chicago Tribune does an admirable job covering the city's BBQ culture in this multi-part series. While Zagat shows itself to be a pitiful resource for the subject of BBQ.

Finally, Tim Love talks with 360 West magazine, and we learn that his new Woodshed restaurant will be "a nod to Fort Worth barbecue", and will feature smoked wild boar.

- BBQ Snob


kindofabigdeal said...

I'm up to the SA challenge. Will report back later.

Kevin (BBQ Smoker Site) said...

Man... crazy stuff going on with that meat theft business. Prayers going out to Harold and his family. This is a great article, and I'll steer folks its way for sure. Keep going.. and thanks for all you do for the BBQ Community!

kindofabigdeal said...

Across the street from a Bill Miller in a nondescript building is the Meat Market Barbecue. I ordered some fatty, some lean, and ribs. First thing you notice is that there was absolutely no bark on the fatty cue, just a hint on the lean and a solid bark on the ribs. Both brisket iterations were full of smoke flavor, the lean moreso than the fatty. The lean was just a little bit crumbly, though moist. The fatty had large tails of unrendered fat, though the intramuscular fat was just right. I'd say about 1/3 of the fatty order was fat not worthy of being eaten. The meat was very moist, bordering on mushy. The closest comparison is Gonzalez, without the crust of course. The ribs were very smoky, toothsome, and perhaps just a bit overdone. The bark on the ribs was good, though their rub is heavy on the salt. All three meats lacked a flavor to define them as beef or pork. They came through as smoke and salt, with a little heat to follow on the ribs. I'm gonna guess they'd get an underperforming *** from Daniel with hopes up jumping to **** if the brisket came out with some bark. As I was walking out I spied a burger and some chicken. The burger looked deliciously crusty and the chicken carried the same patina as my ribs. My total, for 1/2 lb brisket and three st. louis style ribs was $14. Too much for what it was, but considering that it is essentially on the riverwalk it is probably an OK deal. The Meat Market will be a welcome addition to a Bill Miller dominated town. Considering the location and hours it will be great place to recommend to tourists looking to escape the traps.

BBQ Snob said...

Thanks for the quick report. Would you call it the best in SA?

kindofabigdeal said...

no, my go to is fatty brisket at Two Brothers, though the rest of the menu has been spotty for me. The most consistent over a wide range of meats would have to be Smokehouse on Roland.

That said, in my time living in SA I've eaten at Franklin more than any of those others combined.


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.