Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lum's Country Store

JUNCTION: Lum’s Country Store
2031 Main St
Junction, TX 76849
Open Sun-Thur 7-11, F 7-12am, Sat 7-1am

Update: It's been four years since my last visit to Lum's out on the far west side of the Hill Country. On this return visit I was hoping to affirm what I'd found on the previous trip, which was that Lum's serves some of the state's best BBQ. My suspicions arose immediately when I pulled up to ind their new sign proclaiming "Best BBQ in the World." Really? What I normally find out on the BBQ trail is that humility is usually a big part of great barbecue. Those that crow themselves the best tend to get complacent having already reached their mental mountain top.

It all looked promising as it was being cut. The ribs and brisket both had a black crust, and they yielded easily to the knife. The sausage had a casing that was darkened and had some good snap. A couple of deviled eggs could be subbed for a side item. As I strolled out to the picnic tables, things were looking up.

As we reached the table I noticed that the brisket's surface had already dried out considerably. The ribs hadn’t dried to that degree, but the edges were showing some age. The sausage link was sliced, but the knife hadn’t gone clean through. As I pulled them apart I could now see why. While sitting on the steam table the bottom edge of the link had dried to a crisp. The knife couldn’t slice through it easily because it was so stiff. It simply should not have ended up on the plate. The flavor of both the brisket and ribs was adequately smoky. They both could have used more seasoning. I could easily chalk this visit up to a bad day or bad time of day (late afternoon) to visit, but all three of the meats had issues. Either way we left a bit dejected after sincerely looking forward to this visit. At least the deviled eggs were good

Rating ****  

2008: On a drive from Del Rio to Mason we passed through Junction, Texas were the famous Junction Boys from Texas A&M spent 10 grueling days under the hot sun. The giant metal contraption belching smoke and all the bikers out front of this joint forced me to make an unscheduled stop with a friend. We didn't expect much from a gas station trying to serve 'cue on the side, but we soon learned that the gas station was the side business. We ordered brisket ribs and sausage. Their sausage supplier is in San Angelo. The links had a great snap and a medium grind with lots of visible spices. They had a bit of heat which married well with the sauce. The brisket had the thickest deep red smoke line that I've seen. The crust was incredible, and the meat was deeply smoky throughout. The tenderness was perfect as was the overall flavor. I haven't had a brisket that's any better. The ribs here were also great. They had a deep red crust, excellent flavor throughout, and the fat below the crust was perfectly rendered. The meat was smoky right down to the bone, but the meat could have come of the bone a little easier. This is the only negative I could find in the meat here. It may just be the best find of all the joints in my road tripping due to the fact that it is unmentioned in any BBQ publication that I've read. Based on this trip, it belongs in some of the future ones.


Anonymous said...

This is a must stop for me! The turkey breast is to die for (although it usually sells out very fast), and the brisket ranks up with the very best of Texas! 5 Stars all the way across the board.

Anonymous said...

We stopped by here at 1:00pm recently and they were out of brisket, such a disappointment. But the ribs were good enough to convince me to come back for the brisket ;)

Anonymous said...

You must have caught them on a bad day. This place sometimes suffers from not enough traffic. They are at their best during deer hunting season when they know crowds are coming. It is one of my favorites in the state.

Anonymous said...

why would you give them a 4 star rating. poorly seasoned and dry bbq on all meats deserves a lower rating.

BBQ Snob said...

I agree that this one visit shouldn't garner four stars, but I have to weight a few other items into the review. One is the first visit that was great. Another factor is that I went late in the afternoon when meats tend to get dry anywhere. The third is it's location which is about an hour from most any population center. Given my first experience and other positive feedback I've gotten, I think it's still worth a visit.

Unknown said...

Stopped here about two months ago on my way back from Big Bend. The brisket was so dry it was literally difficult to swallow, and it had been suffused with a bitter, acrid tasting smoky flavor. The pits on the side of the restaurant were billowing out heavy clouds of thick, white smoke--not a good sign. I had to coat every inch of that brisket with sauce to even swallow it. The sausage was better, but it was still dry and overcooked, leaving that numbing bitter taste in my mouth. I asked for a to-go plate and tried to rush out because I was honestly embarrassed at how much was left. They asked if it was good and I said, "yeah, but I'm in a rush." I should have told them it was awful, because it truly was.

DRchick said...

Went a bit out of the way for this place on our way home but shouldn't have bothered. Friendly service but NASTY brisket. It tasted strange, a bit off. And they were out of peach cobbler which I always buy when it's on any BBQ joint's menu.


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.