Monday, March 8, 2010

Bill Miller Bar-B-Q

SAN ANTONIO: Bill Miller Bar-B-Q
10939 W Fm-471

San Antonio, TX 78253


Open Sun-W 10:30-8, Thur-Sat 10:30-9

You won't smell smoke when arriving at a Bill Miller location. All 67 locations are supplied by meat smoked in a central commissary in downtown San Antonio. Their popularity in San Antonio is evidenced by the how many stores are supported, and the commissary location explains the franchise's geographical limits. According to their website, all meat is smoked in brick pits (no gas or electric) using only post oak. Briskets are smoked for 18-20 hours, then shipped to each location where everything is assembled like any other fast food assembly line. Most everything about Bill Miller reminds you of a well run fast food chain from the brightly lit menu advertising combo meals, to the cashier yelling orders through a microphone back to the herd of worker bees assembling the meal.

Standard sides are beans and fried potatoes, the latter of which were addictive with their crunch and black pepper. The brisket was also good. The lean slices were very moist with good flavor. A nice crust supplied a bit of smoke flavor, but there was little other evidence that meat had been smoked for upwards of 18 hours. Ribs were not as successful in the flavor department. The meat was in short supply on the bone and the bark wasn't well formed. A rub heavy on the black pepper was about the only flavor that stood out, while smoke was lacking. A dip in the thin acidic sauce didn't help.

The chain is also know for their fried chicken, so I ordered a thigh. For less than $2, I got a decent variation of a freshly fried chicken thigh with a crisp flavorful crust along with hearty steak fries and fresh tasting cole slaw.

I admire Bill Miller because they don't claim to be Texas's best BBQ, they just put out a consistent product for a good price that is imminently predictable. While it might not be the best in the state, there are definitely worse places to go to ease your smoked meat cravings.

Rating **

Bill Miller Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon


Don O. said...

Glad you had better luck than we did. We had absolutely the worst Q we have ever eaten at one of their joints.

BBQ Snob said...

I think with the commissary style of
smoking, I hit them at the best possible time which is right when they began serving lunch @ 10:30.

Unknown said...

I used to work 2 blocks from the central commissary downtown and it was intoxicating! They baked the fresh rolls right around 5pm each day, and the yeasty deliciousness wafting through the air was the highlight of workday.

While it's not the best BBQ in town, it is nice to have it as an alternative to other fast-food options. I like their lean brisket and I'm a complete sucker for their fries.

Great meeting you at the Gettin Sauced event last weekend!

Bears said...

Bill Miller did to barbecue what McDonalds did to hambugers. Nuf said.

Anonymous said...

Bill Miller is likely the worst BBQ in Texas.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, this isn't the best BBQ around, however, BMBBQ long ago found their niche in the marketplace by offering good, decent Q at an affordable price. Look around when you're in one of their locations at lunch time. It's filled with the hard, working class of San Antonio. Thanks BMBBQ!!

Anonymous said...

Why can't BM fix their checkout system? I don't need an ad at register. Covers 75% of screen. What I bought is so small you can't read it. Total located elsewhere, black on gray. Telling store manager no help.


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.