Monday, August 27, 2012

Hemphill Bar-B-Q

HEMPHILL: Hemphill Bar-B-Q
3285 South Bayou Rd.
Hemphill, TX 75948
Open M 11-3, Tues-Thur 11-8, F-Sat 11-9

Boudin, for the uninitiated, is a product of Louisiana Cajun cooking that takes hog casings and fills them with pork, rice, green onion and other seasonings. The links can be boiled or grilled, but when they cross the border into Texas they sometimes find their way onto a smoker. When boiled, the casings usually toughen up and aren't cooked long enough to make them comfortably edible, so the links are usually cut open or the fillings squeezed out to be eaten directly from the source making it a great road food. Here at Hemphill Bar-B-Q they smoke the boudin rendering the casings crisp. The addition of jalapeno for a clean kick made this some of the best smoked boudin to be had in East Texas.

Crispy slaw and spicy beans were great accompaniments to the boudin as well as the smoky brisket. At least the brisket crust was smoky. The slices dried out almost immediately after being sliced, but it was decent as beef goes in East Texas. Ribs were well smoked, with just a bit of chew remaining. The interior fat was rendered adequately, but the whole thing was marred by a thick rub replete with white sugar and cumin which together overpowered the meat and smoke. Thankfully, I saved a few slices of boudin to finish off the meal and get the overwhelming burnt cumin flavor out of my mouth. Stop for the boudin and get some brisket if you must, but steer clear of the ribs.

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.