Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Garven Store

GARVEN: The Garven Store
27304 N Hwy 83
Mountain Home, TX 78058
Open M-Sat 8-7, Sun 9:30-6

If you look at an aerial photo of the intersection of US Highway 83 and State Highway 41, you'll see just a few scattered houses and The Garven Store. Keith and Jackie Dowdy were running the tiny store when we arrived as the sun was setting. They are in a long line of operators, all in the Dowdy family, that had a hand in operating this place since 1932. The store is chocked full of what you'd expect from a convenience store along with a room full of leather biker wear and an extensive line of jerky. I tried a few varieties and they're all incredible. Don't skip anything labeled as spicy. They're no joke.

They also have brisket and homemade sausage on the menu. Thin slices of brisket were respectable with a bit of smoke and subtle seasoning, but the star here is the German sausage. A 50/50 beef and pork mixture was seasoned with salt, pepper, red pepper and something else that was hard to identify. When I went back inside and guessed ginger, I got a forlorn look as if they weren't too happy that I guessed it. Not only was the flavor top-notch, but the casing had a good snap and the link were just juicy enough without dripping with fat. Keith joked that they'd only been doing BBQ for eighteen years, so they're still trying to figure things out. I'd say they've got the jerky and the sausage figured out, but the brisket needs some perfecting.

Rating ***

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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.