Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wood Pit Bar-B-Q

MESQUITE: Wood Pit Bar-B-Q
2632 W. Scyene Rd.
Mesquite, TX 75149
Open M-Thur 10:30-9, F-Sat 10:30-10

The Nikolopoulos Family has been serving up 'cue in this tiny yellow building for 32 years (their four year old website says it's been 28 years, but it also still lists the Davis St. location which is closed). Inside is a bar big enough for just four stools with a dining room just large enough for four small tables. You can tell by the banter between owner and customer that this is a neighborhood place, not to mention the sign on the wall that solidifies the notion as it reads "You can now purchase a 5 gallon bucket of scraps for $5 or a bag for $2. It's great to mix with your dogs food". Neighborhood place for sure.

I ordered up a two meat plate with sliced beef and ribs. Huge meaty spare ribs came piled on top of brisket slices, and everything was covered in a thin brown sauce. Crisp garlic cole slaw and addictive chunks of fried okra came on the side.

The ribs were meaty but had strands of fat tucked between layers of dry tough meat. Maybe it had smoked a bit too long, but the sauce didn't provide enough moisture to save my jaw. One thing that was good in these ribs was the flavor. They had a good smokiness to them, and the atypical sauce provided even more smokiness.

I ordered the brisket specifically with some crust still on it. On their website they state proudly "We specialize in trimming off as much of the fat and brown as possible, unless you specify otherwise." I specified otherwise, and what I got were the thickest, toughest, blackest burnt ends imaginable. They were flavorful, but I couldn't really get at the essence of the meat, so I grabbed a dry sandwich to go. Dry it was, I mean looking like shag carpet dry. Each slice fell apart from being too dry, and despite the honest smoke ring, the smokiness was really lacking outside of the crust.

While I did enjoy the sauce, the moisture in this meat had been chased away so effectively, it really depended on the sauce to be any good. Those sides were damn good though.

Rating **

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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.