Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Michna's BBQ

WACO: Michna’s BBQ
2803 Franklin Ave.
Waco, TX 76710
Open Tues-W 9:30-3, Thur 9:30-8, F-Sat 9:30-9, Sun 9:30-2:30

Update: A request for some fatty brisket did not fall on deaf ears on this return visit to this Waco institution. Thick slices from the flat had a nice layer of fat still clinging to the meat. Both the meat and the fat had great flavor and good smokiness, but that fat could have been more silky smooth and the beef could have more tender. In addition to the good brisket were some of the best ribs I've had. The meat was smoky down to the bone, and came away from that bone with just a tug. The meat below the perfect crust was juicy and had perfect tenderness. Sausage is made for Michna's from a special recipe. The beef and pork mixture had flecks of black pepper and cayenne to give it just enough heat. The coarse meat had great flavor, plenty of fat and good snap to the casings. I tried a bite dipped in sauce, but the sweet concoction was pretty awful. A much better option is the hot sauce that resides on every table. It's a mix a hot pepper sauce, pickle juice and ground chilis, and works great with the sausage.

I returned to the counter after the meal where the pitmaster, Joe Flores, was happy to show me the pits. He opened the doors to an Ole Hickory smoker to show off a few briskets. While the Ole Hickory is a gas-fired pit, it was obvious from the cloud surrounding Joe that they used plenty of wood to impart that smokiness.

After 23 years of operation, Michna's (pronounced Mick-nuz) really knows how to crank out great smoked meat, and they deserve a stop for anyone heading through Waco, or the few who make the city their destination. I know I won't wait so long to return.

Rating ****

11/2010: Hometown service is taken to heart here. The owner came by our table, and I complemented the sausage. He was back shortly with two more links for our enjoyment. Later, at the end of the meal, he brought two complementary banana puddings that were excellent. The decor is also down home with John Wayne memorabilia and dusty mesh hats lining the walls. The smell of smoke permeated it all.

We ordered brisket, ribs and sausage. The server began by slicing off some beautiful black crust off of the brisket and setting it aside. I asked him to reconsider, and he obliged. The brisket was outstanding with a good smoke line and an intensely smoky flavor throughout the slices. The fat at the edges was well rendered and the crust was black and delicious. The beef wasn't quite pull-apart tender, but overall was a standout. The ribs were small spare ribs, but were meaty. The tender ribs were smoky with a great crust and well rendered fat. It was evident that this protein had been well attended to in the pits. The sausage was not house made, but the owner said it was Michna's recipe that made nearby just for the joint. The links were a bit greasy, but the medium grind, black pepper, and snappy casing made for some tasty links. Drop by here for some friendly service and some excellent smoked meats.

Michna's Bar-B-Que Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Patricia O'Donnell said...

I love this place. I grew up near Waco, and have since moved away - to Kansas. Every time we go back, I HAVE to go there! I went to school with one of Michnas kids, so we always had the bbq at our banquets at school. It ruined me for BBQ :)

Anonymous said...

I stopped here tonight based on this review. It was worth getting off I-35 for as I was passing through town. The ribs, brisket and sausage were all first rate. Sausage was very juicy and flavorful. RIbs were very meaty with a great crust and smokey flavor. Brisket was juicy and smokey with the right amount of fat and delicious crust. None of the meats needed sauce - they were perfect as served. Luckily they serve the sauce on the side and don't bathe their servings like some joints do. Service was friendly and personal. They really make you feel at home and encourage you to try as much food as you care to. Their pride certainly shows! I plan on stopping by again and passing up the more convenient Rudy's instead.


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.