Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snow's BBQ

516 Main St

Lexington, TX 78947


Open Sat 8–12

Update 2010: After driving three hours from Dallas to arrive in Lexington at 9:00 am, it's hard not to suffer some validation bias no matter what you sink your teeth into, but it helps when it's perfectly smoked and silky tender brisket. I invited a friend on a last minute whirlwind trip through the finest that Central Texas had to offer, and Snow's was our obvious first stop. This was his first time trying the Saturday-only gem, and he didn't hesitate to inform me after just two bites that this was the best brisket he'd ever eaten. We had nine more places on the list for the day, so I had to convince him not to lick the butcher paper clean, but I even had a hard time following my own advice on this visit.

We ordered a few brisket slices, then I asked for a chunk off the fatty end. We added a link and a hefty bit of the pork steak and we were ready to feed our growling stomachs. The fatty end of brisket was a perfect morsel of smoked goodness. I can't say much more. The sausage's flavor was deeply smoky, but the meat was still perfectly moist. Heavy black pepper worked well with the beefiness of the link, which worked as a good counterpoint to the richly fatty pork steak. This chunk was cut thicker than my last trip, and turned out better. The fat was perfectly rendered creating a rich and sticky meat experience. Seasoning heavy on the black pepper worked nicely with the salty meat. For this meal, I'd gladly get on the road again at 6:00 am on a Saturday. It was that good, but we had plenty of greatness ahead of us.

Rating *****

2009: A full nine months after Snow's was named top BBQ joint in Texas, there's still a line at 7:58 waiting for the doors to open. Brisket, ribs, sausage, and pork steak was on the menu today.

The brisket was again the stellar offering of the day. The thick black crust and ample smoke line created the deeply smoky brisket I was craving, and made for some excellent meat caramel. The sausage (supplied by City Meat Market in Giddings) had a coarse grind with a solid snap to the casing. The overall flavor was smokier than I'm accustomed to for sausage, and it was no less than delicious. The pork steak could have used more time on the smoker to render the tough strings of fat a little better, but the smokiness coupled with the salt and pepper rub made for an excellent overall flavor. The dry ribs are what kept this joint from reaching to the heights of 6 stars. The red colored meat was flavorful and smoky as expected, but the texture was tough, and the meat had the moisture sucked right out of it.

After we ate, Tootsie took us on a tour out back to see the smokers. Even with the thick smoke, it almost seems to be a local hangout for some of the old farmers in the area.

2008: Waking up at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning in Austin with a hangover from the night before tested my BBQ cravings, especially with an hour drive ahead of me. The drive was great, and after a mundane drive, I turned onto FM 696 for a great drive into Lexington. At 8:05 there was already a line up the ramp into this tiny metal building. Everyone was anxious to get a taste of this newly fabled joint that is recently famous due to its #1 ranking in the latest BBQ review from Texas Monthly. I spoke with Kerry Bexley, the owner afterwards and he said they went from cooking about 300 lbs. of meat, and selling out by 11:30 a.m. to now cooking about 1200 lbs. and selling out by 10:00 a.m.

I was about to order some chicken along with pork ribs, brisket and sausage, but the lady in front of me got the last half chicken at 8:20. The place had only been open for 20 minutes! I got most of the order to go, but I had to sample some brisket and ribs for breakfast. The brisket was astoundingly good, bordering on perfect. The smoke line was thick, the brisket was lean and tender, and the smoke flavor was incredible throughout, not just on the perfectly formed black crust, but even in the most remote bite of beautiful beef. The spare ribs were also good, but not as overwhelmingly flavorful. They had a good crust with only salt and pepper for seasoning, but the fat could have been rendered more thoroughly. A good smoke flavor kept me craving more until I returned home again an hour later.

Another important note...this brisket was also good warmed up on Sunday, on Monday, and again on Tuesday! I have never enjoyed brisket much the day after, so this fact made this fantastic brisket stand out even more. One factor was probably that I kept the brisket whole, and warmed it that way, and only sliced it after warming. This kept the brisket much more moist and flavorful.

Snow's Barbeque on Urbanspoon


Unknown said...

Best BBQ in Texas. Nuff said!

Anonymous said...

Why don't more places slice their brisket that thick? That would be ten to twelve slices at most joints. I like that cut; should be a pencil width and that's what it looks like.


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.