Friday, August 19, 2011

Smokey John's Depot

DALLAS: Smokey John's Depot
1820 W. Mockingbird Lane
Dallas, TX 75209
Open M-Thur 11-4, Fri 11-6, Sat 11-4

Update: Homemade suasage is one of those items that most Dallasites would be better off making at home than expecting to find at a BBQ joint. While a time honored tradition at the meat markets of Central Texas, sausage making has been left to the Eckrichs of the world as far as most local joints are concerned, but Smokey John's is different. They offer four sausages, two of which are homemade, so the only sensible thing to do was order a four-meat plate entirely of sausage.

From left to right in the photo above we have the homemade garlic beef sausage. This is undeniably a garlic sausage with enough punch to remind you of your meal several hours later. A hot link from Smokey Denmark's in Austin is well smoked with that familiar black pepper zing. Proper treatment is given to one of my favorite sausages - Slovacek's from Snook, Texas. The casing has a great snap and the pork is a nice counterpoint to the beef heavy plate of links. Finally, Smokey John's own hearty beef links rounded out the plate. Great seasoning with a little heat, a great smokiness and plenty of snap in the casing made for some very good sausage. I'd pick this one for future visits if forced to choose just one.

Smokey John's also does justice to a real Texas BBQ dessert. Banana pudding lacks fake banana flavoring, and is instead a gray color (good thing) with lots of banana slices and a good mix of mushy and till crisp Nilla wafers.

Man cannot live on sausage alone (possibly incorrect) so I added a plate of ribs and brisket to the order. I had a friend order so I didn't look like a glutton and he made the rookie mistake of not asking for tha sauce on the side. Although I enjoy their thinnish sauce that's not too sweet, I was hoping to try their brisket sauce-free. The slices were very lean, but still nice and moist. Crusty end cuts had plenty of smoke, but those without crust needed more smoke. Ribs are always good here, and even though they oddly cut those spares in half, the meat had great flavor, smoke and bark. They could use a bit more meat, but they never skimp on the servings here. They also, thankfully, don't skimp on the sausage options.

Rating ***

2008: God-fearing, friendly service can always be counted on at Smokey John's, along with some tasty protein. This joint has two locations in Dallas. The original on Mockingbird is run by "Smokey" John's son Juan and his cousin Rent, while the newer Gaston location is overseen by his son Brent. Both locations serve up similar fare, with some items smoked together at the original location. Because of the similarity in quality and taste, I'm reviewing them together.

I ordered a two meat plate at both locations with sliced brisket and ribs. The rib presentation is a bit odd. They slice the ribs off the rack, then cut them in half making a pile of tiny ribs. They're not very meaty, but you get quite a few in a serving. Because they're not very thick, the smoke flavor from the deep red crust is in every bite, and there's very little fat. This small amount of fat also has a downside of creating slightly dry, but still tender ribs. Overall they, are very flavorful. The brisket has a rich, black crust which also contains heaps of smokey goodness. Even with a nice red smoke line, the smoke doesn't quite make it to the center of each slice. The brisket also contained little fat, and was similarly dry, but the flavor was still great. On my last visit, I told Brent how impressed I was at the restaurant's consistently good 'cue and service. His reply? "Praise God you found the best barbecue in Dallas". I'll have to say not quite, but it sure comes close.

Smokey John's Depot on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you think the Gaston location is as good?


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.