Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cripple Creek B-B-Q

ATHENS: Cripple Creek B-B-Q
500 S. Palestine

Athens, TX 75751


Open M-Thur 11-8, F-Sat 11-9

This little joint in Athens is known for "Hog Wings", and they are incredible. Petite pork shanks cut to resemble chicken legs are rubbed and smoked to a perfect tenderness and served with a sweet and spicy asian mae poy dipping sauce. The smoky meat didn't need the additional sauce, but they did work well together.

Other meats are offered including the standard brisket and ribs. The gray ribs failed to impress. A hint of smoke could be found in these tender ribs, but a well formed crust was lacking as was any complex flavor. The tender brisket was better with a nice smoke line, and a good smoky flavor. The crust had been nearly removed, so the robust flavor was lacking, but these were solidly good slices. Besides the standards, a great version of hot links that are available. These links have no resemblance to the hot dog like versions found so often elsewhere. The coarsely ground meat had a deep red line below the casing, and a good black pepper kick contributed well to the flavor of these great links.

The sides here all seemed to start right out of the can, but they had all been doctored up a bit to make them Cripple Creek's own. The baked beans had flecks of dried onions, and the potato salad had a good mustardy kick. Service at the tables was also friendly. I was offered a free hog wing as a starter just for asking what they were.

While the brisket and ribs didn't exactly wow us, the hog wings and the hot links were so good we just had to bump up the rating.

Rating ****

And here is the rest of it.
Cripple Creek BBQ on Urbanspoon


PM Summer said...

While the brisket and ribs didn't exactly wow us, the hog wings and the hot links were so good we just had to bump up the rating.Sounds dangerously close to "mission creep", if you ask me (and you didn't).

Sorta like how I enjoy Sammy's BBQ next to Federal Reserve in Up/Downtown because the spinach salad, onion rings, and potato casserole are sooooodaaarn good. Meat? Well, the sauce is great!

BBQ Snob said...

Mission creep indeed. It was still technically smoked pork, but maybe I'm getting a litte too soft on the ratings.

Don said...

The "Hog Wings" are a commercial product and not available for retail sale in stores the last time I checked.

At Wursfest in New Braunfels they are known as "Pork Wings". I'm not sure how they cook them there but I think they are fried without a coating. They are the best food as Wurstfest in my opinion. Very tender and juicy.

Columbaire said...

East Texas!!

There's no barbecue in East Texas!

That doesn't mean there isn't really good stuff to eat there that comes off a pit, but give us a break! They can call it barbecue, but you know better.

Anonymous said...

I think you are pretty much genius but this place is horrible. This joint above Coopers Llano for brisket and ribs? You might want to try cripple and Bubbas in Ennis again, you might have hit them on the best day they have ever had. Keep up the great work but seriously!

Anonymous said...

Have you tried Danny's BBQ in Athens? I prefer it over anything else.

runDMC said...

A recent 11am opening visit to CCBBQ proved to be promising but unsatisfactory.
At that hour, we were defintely eating Fridays left overs. Everything was barely warm and a bit dry. The hog wings were tender and flavorful and the sausage was way above average. They just needed to be fresh off the smoker to be special. The brisket was a no go for me. Overly trimmed, no bark, no ring, dry and a bit chewy. Slices were about 3/4 of an inch wide. Weird. I'd go back for the wings and sausage but at maybe 1:30pm.

Anonymous said...

I finally got around to checking this place out, and all i can say is "Yes, Thank You".

Whether or not it's legit Q (or even legit pig), those hog wings are a revelation. I had tastes of the sausage and brisket (under-whelming, as reported). But those wing thingamajigs are dynamite. Good smoke, good crust, incredibly tender. I will find my way back there, for more.

Plus they have a nice mustard-based Alabama style sauce which pairs perfectly. That's hard to find.

After much debate on exactly what part of the pig the wings are, we finally decided on "the knee".

Get you some knee.


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.