ROBSTOWN: Sam's Bar-B-Q
15801 Northwest Boulevard
Robstown, TX 78380
Open Tues-Sat 11-7
This visit had to happen. I got a recommendation for this joint while dining in a tiny cafe between Del Rio and Eagle Pass and then again once we reached Corpus Christi. Just west of Corpus is the tiny town of Calallen which provides the perfect excuse for a short drive on I-69 (yes, they designated an interstate highway with that number) where you can find Sam's Bar-B-Q. The sign also says 'Lidia's Road Kill', but we stuck with beef and pork.
While waiting for our order we checked out the pit housed in a trailer out back. The pit man proudly showed us the cold briskets that had been smoked on Saturday night that he was warming for service. It was Tuesday. My expectations plummeted. Back at the ordering window I picked up my three-meat combo. The sides were great. A pasta salad had zing and wasn't too heavy while a broccoli salad with raisins, sunflower seeds and red onion reminded me of my childhood. The V&V sausage was fine but the smoker hadn't transformed it into anything special. The huge smoky spare rib was the best item on the plate. A bit of sweetness in the rub gave it a boost, but more time on the smoker would have got it a bit more tender and rendered out some of the chewy fat. That brisket from several days before was as dry and chewy as I'd predicted, and it was hard to tell how word of this joint's quality had traveled so far.