Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Fancy Smoked Brisket Around Dallas

Brisket is making its way onto menus across Dallas. It's had a place in Tex-Mex joints for a long time now as brisket tacos, but more and more I see the words "smoked brisket" together. I went around to a few of those places around town just to see what exactly they meant by smoked brisket.

Texas Spice in the new Omni offers "Smoked Brisket Sliders" on the lunch menu. In a word, they were soft. A soft bun, soggy slaw, grilled onions and chopped brisket. The brisket layer was so thin it was hard to perceive. The sweet sauce was heavy on the chile powder, and was too heavily mixed into the meat. The bison burger was a much better option, but the fries were great.

Texas Spice Brisket Sliders

Texas Spice Cheese & Sausage Plate

Outside Gilley's you'll find a smoking gun. There's no meat in it, but it's good for show. How else would you notice the Jack Daniel's Saloon?

Jack Daniel's Saloon 'Smoker'

The meat on this sandwich was actually smoked, but it was so dry by the time it arrived that I had to add that sickeningly sweet Jack Daniel's sauce to choke it down. At least the fries were good. What was not good was the service. I sat at the bar near the POS system. Every server had to literally stand next to me to punch in their orders, but after 10 minutes and three clueless servers, I finally just shouted my order to one of them and got a shitty look and some food. One of them even said to herself (except it was to me since I was sitting right next to her) that she was "ready to get the fuck out of here." So was I.

While picking up some sausage at Matador Meat next door, I thought I'd stop in at this Plano pub for a drink.

They had a smoked brisket melt on the menu with caramelized onions, white cheddar and a spicy sauce on grilled sourdough. The sandwich was good, but I didn't detect any smoke. The server confirmed that the briskets are seared on the flat top then braised in beer. They have since updated their menu to say "beer braised" rather than smoked. Smoked or not, it was still a great sandwich. The fries covered in gravy and cheese were even better.

Holy Grail Brisket Melt

I only mention the Torchy's Crossroads Taco for comedy. Their Dallas menu says it has smoked brisket, but what really tops it is grilled ribeye. Not bad, but miles (okay, just a few feet) from brisket.

Torchy's Crossroads Taco

Asador opened recently in the Renaissance Hotel (you know, the lipstick building). They have a smoked brisket sandwich and smoked duck sliders on the lunch menu.

The brisket was thinly sliced. A peppery cheese and some onions topped the slightly smoky beef. This was certainly the best of the bunch that actually ended up being smoked, but the fries were even better.

Asador Smoked Brisket Sandwich

Along with the smoked duck sliders, an appetizer option at Asador are beef fat fries. That's right. Potatoes fried in liquid cow fat. They were some excellent fries. Those duck sliders are pretty good too, but with all the stuff dressing the sandwich, it's hard to tell that they have duck on them, let alone trying to distinguish a smoky flavor from it.

Asador Beef Fat Fries & Smoked Duck Sliders

What I learned here was that I should just go to a BBQ joint for reliably smoked brisket, but any of these places are great for a good french fry fix.

- BBQ Snob


Gipson said...

The brisket sandwich at Holy Grail Pub is DELICIOUS, plus $3 Texas drafts from 4-7. (Of course, my favorite, Shiner Bock, is always $3.)

Like you said, the Democrat at Torchy's Tacos won't be reminding anyone of smoked brisket, but it's really very good. Some of my favorite "barbacoa" anywhere.

Matt said...

Also in agreement on the brisket sandwich at Holy Grail Pub! It may not have been touched my smoke, but my wife and I love it and one of us gets it most times we go. A great all around place for food and drink.

Truman Jensen said...

I think you are confusing two different tacos at Torchy's.

The Democrat is "Barbacoa" which in texmex means sounds Mexican and like Barbacue. IE chipotle's Barbacoa burrito.

The Crossroads is the brisket taco and you have to ask for poblano ranch sauce. Its the bomb.

BBQ Snob said...

Truman - Thanks. You are correct. I fixed it above.


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.