Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rix Pit BBQ & Discount Warehouse

FT. STOCKTON: Rix Pit BBQ & Discount Warehouse
1712 N Front St
Fort Stockton, TX 79735
Open M-F 11-8

Guest Contributor: Cousin Ryan was lawyering over in west Texas, and offered up this review of a joint in Ft. Stockton.

As you walk up to Rix Pit BBQ & Discount Warehouse, something won't seem right. On the one hand, the smell of the bar-b-que smoker draws you in, whetting your appetite and making you anticipate the succulent meat inside. Yet the outside entrance made of brick and manufactured walls give the impression you're about to walk into a small-town hardware store.

If you had either thought, you'd be right, which is why this is not just a BBQ restaurant but also a "Discount Warehouse." Inside the front door you are surrounded by the trappings of a small town general store, with hardware and tools on your right and souvenirs and medical scrubs on your left (sadly, the hardware section was closed during our visit). As you pass through the "Discount Warehouse" the glow of neon beer signs lights your way toward the barbeque line where, on this day, the lunch special was chicken fried steak that looked incredible, and could be had with two sides for about $7.

Instead, so as to provide a consistent review with other barbeque joints, I had the brisket, sausage, and ribs, with bread, potatoes and gravy, and corn (aprox $13 for the three meat plate with two sides).

The restaurant offers two types of sauce - sweet and tangy. The brisket was lean and disappointingly lacked the smoky flavor I would have expected given the aroma outside. However, the taste was good although I would have preferred a slightly juicier sampling. The sausage was succulent - not too spicy, not too fatty. It was just about perfect. What the brisket lacked in smoke was made up for by the ribs. With a little tugging the ribs fell nicely off the bone while eating, and had a great smoky flavor that was complemented nicely by the tangy sauce. The corn and potatoes were as expected, neither remarkable nor distracting. Everything was freshly made. The cobbler comes in peach, cherry, or apple, and is worth saving room for. The crust is sweet and the apples in our sample tasted fresh.

Although the restaurant has limited hours and closes at 8PM, it was probably the best restaurant I have visited in my 5 trips to Ft. Stockton, and is worth the visit if you need a place to stop for lunch or dinner as you travel across I-10.

Rating ***
Rix Pit BBQ & Discount Warehouse on Urbanspoon

Read the rest!

BBQ Book Review - Savage Barbecue

Title: Savage Barbecue
Author: Andrew Warnes
Published: 2008 by University of Georgia Press

Most books about barbecue either take the form of a recipe book, a compilation of reviews, or profiles about barbecue personalities. In Andrew Warnes book Savage Barbecue, there is a much deeper investigation of not only the term "barbecue", but its historical and cultural significance as the so-called national food of the good ole USA. The task is daunting, and on most points, the author provides great encyclopedic knowledge of the subject, while using that knowledge to back up sometimes down right outlandish arguments about how racial relationships molded the history of this great food.

The book begins as an enlightening account of ancient bbq history including written accounts of the first barbecue ever mentioned in print "Three Pigs of Peckham" by Edward Ward, as well as an explantion of the origination of the word "barbecue" from the original "barbacoa". Soon the reader realizes that each of these points will soon become ammunition for racial accusations concerning all things barbecue

Through the rest of the book, the author's explanations are at once compelling and ridiculous. Many of his arguments begin with poignant observations about barbecue in a cultural and culinary sense, and then come to a crashing conclusion whose only purpose is fit all historical mentions of barbecue into his big bucket of racism. One section begins promisingly with the observation that the culinary elite because "the great time and effort demanded by this food seem to them betrayed by its unforgiveable appearance among ketchup and soda, plastic cutlery and tabletops, and other paraphernalia alien to their idea of culinary excellence." He then points to the irony that although barbecue is not considered "cuisine" by the gastronomic elite, urban chain bbq joints who use gas fired smokers will place a pile of wood outside of their restaurant merely to fake their authenticity. This fact lends credibility to the argument that barbecue is a true cuisine whose fans have discerning tastes and expectations of proper cooking technique. Well said, but this astute observation soon turns to the almost laughable argument that "these woodpiles spirit attention away from the kitchen, away from the underpaid and overworked descendants of slaves so often to be found therein." So we are to believe that fake stacks of wood are conciously or unconciously placed alongside some cityfied bbq joint because that will somehow camouflage the color of the employees? That's a road I'm not willing to follow the author down.

Another similar observation is that Thomas Jefferson liked to consider himself a common man, but when it came to partaking in activities associated with the actual common population (like barbecues), he was more likely to be found at a grand dinner. He then uses the fact that Jefferson neither attended or wrote about barbecues to argue that "Jefferson's silence on barbecue suggests he finds its barbarity, its stark racial alterity, hard to stomach." Hold on here, is the negative proving the positive here? I thought we threw that out in ninth grade English class.

The most enjoyable part about the book is the sheer amount of intriguing references and quotations compiled. One of my favoriters is from John Shelton in an essay for Cornbread Nation 2. He says, "Barbecue is the closest thing we have in the United States to Europe's wines or cheeses; drive a hundred miles and the barbecue changes." I couldn't agree more. If you can stay awake during the diatribes, and use your own critical thinking to assess the quality of Mr. Warnes' arguments, then this book can be enjoyed. Just don't take it's weak lines of reasoning too seriously.

- BBQ Snob

Read the rest!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Duke's Smokehouse

GEORGETOWN: Duke’s Smokehouse
408 W. Morrow
Georgetown, TX 78626
512- 930-2877
Open Sun-Thur 7-8 (drive-thru ‘til 9), F-Sat 7-9

We arrived at Duke's at 9:05 with what we thought was plenty of time considering their website says they're open until 10:00 on Fridays, but the sign on the door displayed their new hours which end at 9:00. The drive-thru was the only option, and they only had brisket and sausage left, so we got a bit of each. Back at a friend's house we opened the containers to find some good looking brisket, and some grocery store grade sausage. The brisket was a bit tough, but the crust and smokeline were prominent. The meat was smoky all the way through each slice, and the overall flavor was good. The fatty sausage had a fine grind with little flavor at all. Based on the brisket, I'd like to get back here to try a full offering of meats in their prime.

Rating **
Duke's Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

Read the rest!

Schoepf's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que

BELTON: Schoepf’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que
702 E. Central Avenue (Hwy 253)
Belton, TX 76513


Open M-Thur 10-8, F-Sat 10-9, Sun 11-3

Update 2009: A few months ago Schoepf's added on a new room in the back, and a new entry where you can now order your food inside rather than in the out-of-doors. I ordered brisket, ribs, and a pork chop.

The brisket had the same roast-beefiness as it did on my last visit, but this time the slices had no crust, and therefore, no real smoky flavor. The ribs had plenty of flavor from the heavy salt and pepper rub, but the meat had dried out and was a bit tough. The black pepper was also evident on the pork chop. This meat was juicy and tender with so much smokiness throughout the meat, it made me wonder if they were smoked alongside the brisket at all. I would return again if only for these excellent chops.

Rating ***

2008: Off of I-35, there's an exit into the middle of Belton, TX just south of Waco that's really worth investigating. This joint was bustling on a Friday evening, and for good reason. Meat is ordered straight from the pit. I knew I was getting some ribs and brisket, but the pit man also suggested the house-made jalapeno sausage. I then got into a long line to have the meat weighed and sliced and to gather my sides. The slice the meat here with an electric knife, so there is a never-ending purr and sputter as all of the orders were sliced.

Jalapeno sausage had lots of black pepper and a good smoky flavor. The texture was the perfect balance of coarse and fine. It wasn't mushy, nor was it too coarse. It also had a nice snap with little fat. The ribs were thick baby back ribs with about an inch of meat above the bone. This rub had little crust and was monochromatic gray, so I didn't have much hope that all that meat would be adequately tender or flavored. The first bite rocked my taste buds. Flavor bursted from the black pepper rub. This was the most perfectly tender rib I've tasted, and the fat was very well rendered for such a thick rib. The meat needed just a little tug to come off the bone, and I couldn't stop until they were done. The only flavor lacking was smoke. They obviously cooked this protein low and slow, but not much smoke was used. The same went for the brisket. There was no smoke line beneath the slight crust, but it was lean, tender, and perfectly rendered. This was the most excellent slice of roast beef that I've tasted, but it was lacking some of the keys of Texas 'cue. Even with these technicalities, I'll be back, and I'll be sure to order more.

Schoepf's Old Time Pit Bar-B Que on Urbanspoon

Read the rest!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

BBQ Nemesis

Over the weekend, Smokermasterone, BBQ Snob and Smoky D headed to Central Texas to sample some of the best BBQ of our lives. As our trek wound down on Saturday, we pulled up to City Market in Luling and a large group of guys who recognized us from Snow's earlier in the day stopped to talk. We learned they were also on a BBQ trek, and were also from Dallas. We exchanged some of the day's findings and went our separate ways. When I returned home I checked out their website, BBQ Pilgrimage, and found this. The rivalry is officially on! Not really. Based on the dedication to BBQ displayed on their site, I'm thinking we may be BFAM as suggested.

Read the rest!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

BBQ Book Review - Texas BBQ

Title: Texas BBQ : Photographs by Wyatt McSpadden
Author: Wyatt McSpadden
Published: 2009 by University of Texas Press

Wyatt McSpadden
is a native Texan who has spent two decades traveling the back roads of Texas BBQ. He has been a regular contributor to Texas Monthly, most notably in their past "The Top 50 Joints in Texas" editions. This new book is a collection of evocative photos from 30 of the best BBQ joints in the state. The photos are the star here, but the book also includes some great background writing by the likes of Jim Harrison and fellow Texan, John Morthland. Wyatt was kind enough to share some photos, including a few exclusives that didn't make the book.

All photos ©Wyatt McSpadden

The joints profiled here have an aged quality, that Wyatt captures beautifully through the lens. Both the history of these joints, and the advanced age of their proprietors is highlighted in the writings. Jim Harrison must have had the Prophets of Smoked Meat on his mind when he wrote "many of the photos are somber enough to make you re-think food as a sacrament and those who man the barbecue pit as priests of a holy substance". Baptize me, already! In addition, some insightful quotations are gleaned from the curmudgeonly pit masters, including this one from Steve Kapchinskie, pitmaster at Martin's Place in Bryan. "You can't just throw meat in an oven and come back 24 hours later. You gotta sweat...You can't be lazy if you want real Texas barbecue, you gotta do the work".

A short history of Texas BBQ and its hard-working characters is included in an essay by John Morthland at the close of the book. John echoes the sentiments of this blog when he discusses the use of gas-fired pits that produce the same batches of meat every time. He explains "those 'exact same results' lack the deep, smoky, primal flavor of real barbecue - in fact, the stuff tastes suspiciously of roast beef." If you are a fan of well smoked meat for any reason, do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this book (you can see a brief preview here). It's sure to be the genesis of many future road trips for this BBQ fanatic.

- BBQ Snob

Read the rest!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bubba Que BBQ

RED OAK: Bubba Que BBQ
2500 E. Ovilla Road

Red Oak, TX 75154
Open M-Sat 10-9

Update: This joint is CLOSED.

03/2009: At Exit 411 on I-35E South, on the western end of the "Boxcar Willie Memorial Overpass" lies Bubba Que BBQ. This joint is part neighborhood hangout (many customers were recgonized by name) and part rest stop for hungry Texas highway travelers. Bubba runs the show and the register. Everyone is greeted with a smile and possibly a joke from this gregarious owner while munching on complimentary peanuts from the communal barrel. I had heard some good things about the chicken here, so I added it to my standard plate of pork ribs and brisket. This was the fourth stop on a Saturday BBQ binge, but I couldn't resist the fried okra and "award winning" potato salad. I was told by the owner that D Magazine had awarded his potato salad the best in the Metroplex. I couldn't verify that myself, but I'll take his word for it because it was delicious with chunks of potatoes with just the right texture, and a good dose of celery seed to liven it up. The okra was perfectly crisp on the outside without being greasy, and I found myslef eating it like I would a bowl of popcorn.

The meat's not too bad here either. The chicken was perfectly moist and tender without turning to mush, and the smokiness permeated right down to the bone. Each bite of wing and breast were bursting with flavor.

The meaty spare rib was also deeply smoky. A well formed, dark crust provided the initial umph in the flavor, while the rest of the tender meat and well rendered fat created a good smoky finish. A good brisket is available, but it pales a bit on the same plate as its competition. The meat was a bit dry with a well formed crust and smoke line. The flavor was good throughout, but it could have used more smoke, a bit more fat to moisten things up. Since I wasn't full enough, I had to top it all of with some blackberry cobbler and ice cream. The cobbler had a thick gooey crust, and the use of real Blue Bell ice cream was a nice touch when many joints might cheap out on a generic brand. Quality food like this isn't often found on a random stop along a busy highway, but I'll make a point to try this one again on my next road trip.

Rating ***
Bubba Que BBQ on Urbanspoon

Read the rest!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hickory House Barbeque

LANCASTER: Hickory House Barbeque
906 N Dallas Ave

Lancaster, TX 75146


Open M-F 5:30-2:30, Sat 5:30-2

I really wanted to like this one. I passed by here on a Saturday afternoon a few months back, but it was closed. The tiny parking lot, the old painted sign and the not-so-gently aged smoker in the back brought visions of moist, smoky slices of brisket and ribs with a beautiful crust, but it was not to be. I arrived with great anticipation last Saturday at 12:30. The parking lots was full, and police cars were abundant. I waited in a short line, and ordered the usual...brisket and ribs. They were already out of ribs, so I settled for the staff recommended sausage. The meats were piled on a plate and then drenched with a pedestrian sauce. The brisket was tough and dry with little smoke or flavor other than that provided by the far-too-generous serving of sauce. The sausage was better, but it was quite fatty with a fine grind and flavor reminscent of Eckrich. The man I perceived to be the owner made one peculiar comment that may explain the brisket's poor texture and flavor. When I questioned the ribs already being gone for the day, he said that he sometimes runs out because ribs don't warm up well, so he can only sell what he cooks in the morning. That statement and the lack of action in the smoker out back made me wonder if he considers it okay to warm up the rest of the meats from day-to-day.

Rating *
Hickory House on Urbanspoon

Read the rest!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Rudy Mikeska's Bar-B-Q

TAYLOR: Rudy Mikeska's Bar-B-Q
300 W. Second St. (Hwy 79)

Taylor, TX 76574


Open Thur-Sat 11-7


Update 2009 - This joint is CLOSED. Tim Mikeska has decided to close up the shop and pursue his online meat business.

Update 2008 - Tim Mikeska assured me that the quality at this joint would be top notch when he was around. He must have been off-duty on this day. The sausage was the same great version that I had previously, but the brisket had suffered. The slices were luke-warm with unrendered fat throughout which had partially cooled into gelatinous globules making these well flavored slices unappetizing. If this level of quality is tolerated, I have to lower the previously high rating.

Rating ***

2008 - Rudy Mikeska's gets some stiff competition next door from Louie Mueller's, but Tim Mikeska maintains that they're neighbors rather than competitors. He has definitely proven to be a solid competitor. The brisket here had a nice crust, and was fall apart tender with perfectly rendered fat. I noted to Tim that his brisket had been dry in the past, and he noted that everything was a little better on this day because he was there to oversee the process. The sausage was also a standout with a nice snap to the casing and great seasoning, with a little more fat than needed. Unfortunately the ribs were not ready, so we were asked to return.

Upon our return the ribs were ready. Tim Mikeska knew we on a quest for great BBQ, so he charged us for the ribs, then piled on more brisket, some pork tenderloin, and more sausage. These ribs were nearly as good as the brisket. It was slightly reddish rather than having a dark crust. They were nicely tender with good flavor. The rub was salty, but not overly so. What amazed me the most was how the great flavor remained on my fingers long after I was done.

Read the rest!

Stubb Stubblefield

The Kitchen Sisters have recently produced a segment on Stubb Stubblefield of Stubb's fame. Stubb's is a true Texas legend, and the profile is an affectionate look back at this generous man's legacy. You can find a link to the profile here. Enjoy!

- BBQ Snob

Read the rest!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Evans Pit Bar-B-Que

DESOTO: Evans Pit Bar-B-Que
1100 E Pleasant Run Rd

Desoto, TX 75115


Open Tues-Sat 11-9

Evans Pit Bar-B-Que sits in a strip mall near I-35 in DeSoto, Texas, so my mouth wasn't exactly watering as I pulled into the parking lot. One side of their lease space has been turned into an odd display window with "Evans" banners and stacks of authenticating wood. The interior was a jumbled mix of wood paneled dining room dividers, a plethora of fake ferns, a non-functioning gas fireplace, and a tiny salad bar...yes, I said salad bar. My dining partner and I ordered a brisket sandwich and a rib sandwich. Both came with a styrofoam side plate for the salad bar. An employee then retreated to the kitchen to fix our meal. It worries me a bit when joints don't put their meat on display, and I usually enjoy watching my brisket being sliced, but they may have their reasons.

The salad bar was sparse but fresh, and we probably needed some greens anyway, but when the food finally arrived (it took more than 5 minutes to slice some brisket and few ribs) we were hungry for meat. The rib sandwich came with five meaty St. Louis ribs that had a thick brown sugar and black pepper rub.

Sweetness was the initial flavor followed by a hint of smokiness and some black pepper on the finish. The meat was slightly dry, but had a good level of tenderness with well rendered fat. The overall flavor was good, but the rub kept any crust from forming, and therefore the deep smokiness was missing. The brisket was could have used a jolt from the rib rub, as it was lacking bold flavor. Bites from the well crusted ends had a hint of smokiness with decent flavor, but bites not containing crust were roast-beefy. The fat from the meat had been shaved a little close, so the meat was a bit dry, but a dunk in the sauce provided the missing flavor an moisture. We couldn't identify the sauce ingredients, but we mutually agreed that it tasted similar the bean juice one would find in a can of pork 'n beans. Odd, but addictive. If the pitmaster would split the terrific rub between the ribs and brisket, both would benefit.

Rating **
Evans Pit Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

Read the rest!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bee Cave B-B-Q

BEE CAVE: Bee Cave B-B-Q
8414 Bee Cave Rd

Austin, TX 78746


Open M-Thur 11-7, F 11-3

Twelve years ago, the Waldrops started Bee Cave B-B-Q. A trailer sits behind a barbed wire topped chain link fence at the entrance into a fancy new Austin area neighborhood. All of the smoking is done out back behind the trailer, and this lovely older couple runs the pit and the register. I ordered a dry brisket sandwich and a couple of the large spare ribs. The brisket had a decent crust with a slight smoke line. The crust could have used a little more salt, but the smokiness was definitely deep into the meat. The lean slices were a little on the dry side, but also very flavorful. The ribs couldn't help but be flavorful given the amount of garlic in the rub. This wasn't garlic powder, but fresh garlic chunks mixed with salt, black pepper, and what I suspect was mustard powder. The flavor was there, but due to the heavy rub, no crust had formed. These ribs could have also used some more time in the smoker to gain a bit more smokiness and tenderness. The fat could have alse been better rendered. Don't get me wrong, the ribs were good, but I think the rub detracted from the natural rib flavor rather than comlementing it. But hey, I haven't run a successful BBQ businees out of a trailer for dozen years either.

Rating ***
Bee Cave BBQ on Urbanspoon

Read the rest!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tony DeMaria's Bar-B-Q

WACO: Tony DeMaria’s Bar-B-Que 1000 Elm Waco, TX 76704 254-755-8888 Open M-F 9-2, Sat 9-1 http://www.tonysbarbque.com/

On my way down to the BBQ Crash Course in Austin, I decided to stop in Waco for an early lunch (9:15), and try one of Texas Monthly's top 50 BBQ joints. On a previous Waco stop-over, Tony had already ran out of brisket by 12:30, so I thought coming in early would guarantee me the pick of the protein litter. Wrong... ribs are only served on Wednesdays, so I just can't seem to win at this joint. I sampled a small plate of brisket and bologna instead. Plates here are available in small, medium and large, and if you just want a snack (small plate) this place is CHEAP! I paid just $5.50 for two meats, potato salad, beans and a drink. Unfortunately, I got just about what I paid for. Mind you, the bologna and sides were good. Bologna links that resemble sausage are spiced and smoked to perfection, and the mustard based potato salad tastes homemade with black pepper and celery salt. The beans were a bit bland, and the dipping sauce (or gravy) had better kick than the similar gravy just up the street at Jasper's. The big disappointment was the brisket. When I ordered, the man wielding the knife seemed rushed to fill my order, so he grabbed a few left-over scraps from what was once probably a regal brisket, and sliced this stepchild of a chunk into a few fatty slices for my plate. Picking through the fat only left me with meat lacking crust, smoke, or much flavor at all. Next time I'll offer to pay a couple dollars more for a decent sampling of brisket.

Rating **
Tony DE Maria Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

Read the rest!

Monday, March 16, 2009

BBQ Crash Course

The fine BBQ purveyors from Central Texas were the hightlight during the BBQ Crash Course, held at Emo's in Austin during the annual SXSW Conference and Festival.

The cost was $75, but the experince was priceless. Where else do you have the chance to eat so much great 'cue variety in one place and chew the fat with some of legends of Texas BBQ? The line outside told me that other folks thought this might be a good value too.

Here's the line-up:
Snows in Lexington - Brisket and Pork Steaks
Louie Mueller in Taylor - Brisket, Original Sausage and Jalapeno Sausage
Artz Rib House in Austin - Baby Back Ribs
Inman's Ranch House in Marble Falls - Turkey Sausage
County Line in Austin - Beef Ribs, Pork Ribs
and finally peach cobbler and banana pudding from At Home on the Range in Austin.
Yes, Ranch 616 was at the event as well, but cabrito tacos with pineapple salsa do not belong in this discussion or in the category of BBQ.

A large crowd enjoying the weather and food.

Also in attendance was John DeMers, the author of Follow the Smoke which chronicles 8 months of BBQ gluttony. He was selling and signing his books as well as telling great stories about his exploits.

John DeMers and BBQ Snob

Wayne Mueller slicing brisket

Baby back ribs from Artz Rib House

I was pleased to have the opportunity to talk with some Texas BBQ giants, including Wayne Mueller of Louie Mueller Barbecue and Kerry Bexley of Snows BBQ. I was amazed at the similarities between their philosophies. Both smoke with all oak, and have no prescribed cooking temperature or time, using only experience to tell when the meat is ready. Both have also been so successful that they are routinely asked to franchise. Neither man is comfortable putting their name on a joint where they don't control the experience or the quality. Being a BBQ afficionado, I admire their commitment to quality on every plate.

Texas BBQ Legends, Kerry Bexley and Wayne Mueller discussing rising brisket costs

Along with the pit masters, I met some great folks with like minds as it pertains to the enjoyment of good food. Addie Broyles writes for Austin360 as well as the Austin American-Statesman, while Josh Kerr writes for Maggie's Austin. I'm looking forward to perusing their past and future work.

This event was more about BBQ camaraderie than competition, but the BBQ Snob can't help but judge. Snow's Brisket was the "Best in Show", with Louie Mueller's Jalapeno Sausage in a close second. Artz Rib House carved the tastiest ribs, and the banana pudding was phenomenal. I'm looking forward to next year!

-BBQ Snob

Read the rest!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Rudy's Country Store & Bar-B-Q

FRISCO: Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q
9828 Dallas Parkway

Frisco, TX 75034


Open Sun-Thur 6am-10pm, F-Sat 6am-11pm


Rudy's Country Store has 28 locations in 3 states. If you're expecting the Cracker Barrell, the "Country Store" portion is more of a Rudy's gift shop than a store for country folk. Ordering here is done at the counter, and feel free to order any amount of meat, no matter how big or small. I ordered both moist and lean brisket, as well as baby backs and St. Louis ribs. Sauce for to-go orders comes in a small tub you'd expect to find at Wendy's. The lean brisket was a bit dry, but had decent overall flavor with a hint of smoke. The crust was well formed, and a smoke line just peeked out below it. The moist (fatty) brisket was thankfully not as dry, but the flavor, crust and smoke were almost completely missing. I had high hopes for the baby backs given that they are the most expensive menu item, but these ribs were from one skinny pig. The meat that was left lacked smoke flavor and had a stored flavor to them. The edge of my rib was dried out making it chewy and unappetizing. A three star rating may have been warranted if this rib had not been so atrocious. The best of the bunch were the St. Louis ribs that had a good black crust, pleasing texture and good smoky flavor. Fall of the bone tenderness made me suspect baking somewhere in the cooking process, but these were tasty ribs. Many around the state claim that Rudy's is their favorite joint. They need to get out more.

Rudy's BBQ on Urbanspoon

Read the rest!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

BBQ'ing for College Credit

You may have heard of these college boys in Alabama, but from where I stand, they be the smartest kids I've heard about in a long while. They've convinced their univerisity to give them college credit to eat BBQ all over the south and write about. Having done this type of "work" myself for a few years in Texas, and receiving little credit of any kind, I'm a bit jealous. Either way, they've got a great website called Southern BBQ Boys ,

and they've gotten some press lately as well. Enjoy the articles and reminisce about the time you wasted in college not eating BBQ for credit hours.

-BBQ Snob

Read the rest!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spring Creek Barbeque

RICHARDSON: Spring Creek Barbeque
270 N Central Expy.

Richardson, TX 75080

Open Sun-Thur 11-9, F-Sat 11-10


I braved a serious rain shower in Dallas to meet Mr. & Mrs. Smokemasterone over at Spring Creek. I've loosened my standards about eating at chains, allowing the original location of any chain to be judged as the example for all of the chain's locations, and Spring Creek started at this location in Richardson. This joint is generally well known for good sauce, bottomless sides, and freshly baked buttery rolls. While we didn't opt to refill the mediocre sides (cole slaw was the best) it was hard to resist the temptation to get that second roll. It's actually nearly impossible given that we were offered "fresh, hot bread" by the basket-toting bread fairy no less than 7 times during an hour of dining.

One item that did not disappoint was the sauce. It was truly sweet and delicious with a hint of spice. Unfortunately the meat needed the flavor assistance. I think even the servers know this considering I asked for no sauce but it was poured over top my rib plate anyway. I tried to clean one of the St. Louis ribs off well enough to get at the flavor of this moist and tender meat. The underlying pork was red, but lacked smoke, and any bold flavor. The remaining ribs were much more enjoyable eaten with sauce. I stole some brisket and sausage from my companion's plates, and Mrs. SM1 said it best by describing the sausage's flavor as that of a hot dog...a really good hot dog, but she couldn't have been more right based on flavor and texture. The brisket looked promising with a decent smokeline, but not even the crust was smoky, and the rest of the slices from the fatty point cut of the brisket were full of unrendered fat, and nearly devoid of anything but roast beef flavor. Sauce to the rescue!

Rating **
Spring Creek Barbeque on Urbanspoon

Read the rest!

Monday, March 9, 2009

BBQ Crash Course

The official SXSW party will be held in Austin on Monday, March 16, 2009 at Emo's. The party is entitiled BBQ Crash Course, and will include BBQ from some of the greatest joints in the region all in ojne spot along with the pitmasters. I have a job, so I'll probably have to miss this one, but it sounds like a doozy!

- BBQ Snob

Read the rest!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


ALLEN: Bar-B-Cutie
208 North Greenville Ave.
Allen, TX 75002
Open Sun-Thur 10-9, F-Sat 10-10

Bar-B-Cutie is a small chain, currently 16 locations. Although they are located primarily in the Nashville area, there are also franchises in Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Kansas and Texas. It is probably unfair to judge their meats by the standards of Central Texas smoking when they may be completely unaware of the craft. However, they do bill themselves as “The World’s Best Barbecue Since 1950!” With that in mind, I pull no punches The brisket had no crust but a bright smoke line. There was a slightly smokey flavor in the first bite that quickly disappeared. It was well done yet fairly tender but had no character to speak of. It rates right in with the good-quality food service fair that some might call “commercial grade.” This is a very common result we find in places with a more professional background. The ribs were quite tender and moist. Again, there was little smoke flavor. I found myself distracted by the rub. I would bet a nickel two of the main ingredients are seasoned salt and brown sugar. This added a texture I didn’t care for. It probably works better served “wet” with a slathering of sauce in the Memphis style. Then, I’d have nothing to tell you about the ribs themselves. They’ve got a nice spot, good side dishes, friendly staff and I see no reason why they won’t be successful. Still, Bar-B-Cutie misses the mark we’ve set, possibly by design.

Rating **

Bar-B-Cutie on Urbanspoon

Read the rest!

Little Bob's State Fair Bar B-Q

DALLAS: Little Bob's State Fair Bar B-Q
4607 Village Fair Dr Ste 101
Dallas, TX 75224
Open M-Sat 11-6

Texas-style hospitality is the hallmark of this long-standing establishment (est. 1974). Unfortunately, Texas-style smoked meats are not their strong suite. In fact, I would characterize Little Bob’s as southern-style comfort food rather than barbecue. Some of the sides and the tea reminded me strongly of my time in Alabama. The brisket was tender but with little flavor. The ribs were over done before having been wrapped in foil and set on the steam table. Not a pleasing combination. We also sampled the hot-links. I’m not sure of the origin of these, but they were more akin to specialty frank than a real sausage. Fine smoked meats can’t be found. If you are looking for some comfort food that reminds you of your youth in Dixie, this is the place.

Rating **

Little Bob's Bar B-Q on Urbanspoon

Read the rest!

Outlaw’s Texas Style Bar-B-Que & Grill

2334 S. Belt Line Rd.
Grand Prairie, TX 75051
Open M-Thur 6:30-9:30, F-Sat 6:30-10, Sun 7-9:30

I’d prefer a big-ass picture of Lorenzo Lamas to the creepy desperado character on their marquee. Plus, they serve breakfast. This Grand Prairie establishment, in my mind, is trying to be a few too many things to a few too many people. The results in brisket and ribs were both very pedestrian. We suspect they trimmed the brisket of crust and fat, so that is essentially a non-starter for me. The ribs were cooked acceptably but lacked in flavor. The rest of our experience was fine. It’s just that barbecue appears to be more of a component of the restaurant’s theme than a critical part of their dining experience.

Rating **

Outlaws BBQ on Urbanspoon

Read the rest!


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.