Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Need Tickets to Texas Monthly BBQ Festival?

Then send me your best BBQ review.

- It must be a joint I have not reviewed within the past year (pre 08/31/09).
- It must be a joint in Texas.
- It cannot be a chain.
- It must include meat close-up photos.
- Remote location is a positive.
- It must be send to Prophetsofsmokedmeat at gmail dot com by 9/10.
- Transportation to Austin will not be furnished, nor will accommodations.

The winner, as judged by me alone, will receive two tickets to the 2010 Texas Monthly BBQ Festival in Austin, Texas.

Eating commences now!

Also, if you're looking for more details on the event (which is SOLD OUT), Texas Monthly has answered most any questions you might be able to come up with here and here.
While you're at the festival, be sure to visit with Brad of Man Up Texas BBQ, and pick up your Q Card. They paid and arm and a rib to be there, so be sure to make it worth their while.
If you miss the 2010 version, then be sure to sign up here to get info on the 2011 festival.

- BBQ Snob

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Woody's Smokehouse (Southbound)

CENTERVILLE: Woody's Smokehouse (Southbound)
1021 W. St. Mary's

Centerville, TX 75833


Open M-Thur 10:30-8, F-Sun 10-9


There are many miles along I-45 where the only interesting sight is the dueling billboards of Woody's and Buc-ee's. By the time you make it to Centerville, the hunger is too great to ignore, and for those averse to bridges that cross over the highway, there is a Woody's location on either side of the highway. On a recent trip down to College Station, I stopped in at the southbound side. After seeing large steam table bins full of presliced brisket and ribs, I almost walked away. In the end, who are we kidding? I wasn't going back to the car without a sampling.

They offer meat by the quarter pound, so I got that portion of brisket and ribs along with their 'famous' czech sausage on a stick. While the brisket was understandably dry from being previously sliced, but it had its positives. The meat had plenty of smokiness and great flavor from an overly salty rub. The smoke came from the wood fired unit which is not shared by the other Woody's across the highway. Curiously, they each smoke their own meat on either site. This smoke found its way into the ribs which had the same salty rub, and were similarly dry. The meat was tender enough, but the fat needed more time in the smoker to render out. The best item was really the sausage. It wasn't remarkable, but it had good snap and a good kick from cracked black pepper. Best of all, it came with a handle (did I mention it's on a stick?) which made it perfect eating on the go.

Sure, my expectations were certainly exceeded, but the main point here is that there aren't many BBQ options over the hundred or so miles that Centerville sits in the middle of, and this option will certainly ease a craving.

Rating ***
Woody's Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Green Mesquite Chicken Wings

Green Mesquite
serves some hot wings that are some of the most incredible wings I've eaten. You may have seen them on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and they're worth the accolades. My wife and I had just had a burger and fries across the street, but I convinced her that these wings were dessert worthy. We bellied up to the bar, and ordered the smallest portion - 8 wings. They arrived minutes later with a side of creamy homemade ranch.

They were gone in seconds.

These wings are both smoked and fried, and the sauce has heat and sweet making for a great blend of flavors not normally found in the usual single note hot wings. The thin ranch seemed to be made for dipping rather than dressing, and the coolness was a good compliment. My mouth is literally getting moist as I write. Luckily, I can make a return trip in just a few weeks when I'm back in town.

On a trip to the bathroom, I noticed a familiar sign from the cover of Follow the Smoke. Green Mesquite is just full of surprises.

- BBQ Snob

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New Blogs

This week brings us two new Texas BBQ websites. I love seeing other folks out there enjoying our state's greatest culinary achievement, so I wanted to share them with you.

The first is a group of documentarians (word?) who are traveling all over Central Texas with their camera in hand trying some of the finest 'cue around. They're in the middle of day 2 of the journey with another 6 to go. Please follow them at For the Love of Meat.

The second belongs to native Texan Graham McFarland, and he's own his own Texas BBQ Journey. It's an upstart blog with just 5 reviews, but he's sure to keep them coming.

I hope you enjoy these bites from the ever-expanding world of BBQ blogging.

- BBQ Snob

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Old Mining Camp Smokehouse

DENISON: Old Mining Camp Smokehouse
3003 S. Woodlawn

Denison, TX 75020


Open Tues-Sat 10:30-6

Just up the road from the little shack that is Randy's sits The Old Mining Camp Smokehouse. I missed it on a previous trip to the area because the owners had closed for a few days to watch their daughter graduate from college. They were open this trip, but my order was again delayed by a lack of greenbacks. The owners Darrell and Rebecca Harris take cash only at this modified food trailer. I returned to place my order, and waited for my number to be called as I sat alongside other hungry folks at one of the covered picnic tables outside. Then I waited a little longer, and waited some more. I guess good smoked meats take time.

A plate of brisket and ribs came with okra and a side of their brown gravy sauce. In another bag were a couple of the sausage stuffed jalapenos that are popular in the area. The Texoma area has a niche BBQ style with items unlike anywhere else in Texas. The brown gravy sauce is one of those traditions, but it was actually developed just across the border in Oklahoma at a place called PO Sam's which is long since gone. Jalapenos stuffed with ground sausage then breaded and deep fried are also only found in numbers in this area of Texas. I learned about all of this in a great series of articles by Edward Southerland of Texoma Living that describes the region's best BBQ.

I may never have heard about this joint, except that it's been on the list of Texoma's best BBQ in 2009 and again this year, so I was excited when my number was finally called. My brother-in-law and I hopped in the car and opened the box quickly to reveal some huge spare ribs and beautifully sliced brisket. The first bite came from the brisket. Just a tad on the dry side, this brisket had an otherwise erfect texture with a small line of fat clinging to each slice from the flat. As evidenced by a thick smokering and the black crust that provided a bit of a crunch as I bit through it, these were some smoky slices of beef. The meat had incredible flavor overall, so I was really looking forward to the ribs, but first I had to try this sauce. While it's called a brown gravy sauce, it's really a shade of burnt yellow. The recipe is really that of a traditional flour thickened gravy, but the base is brisket drippings and plenty of spices are added. The result isn't something meant for savoring alone because the flavors and the smokiness are ultra intense. Just a bit of it will deepen the flavor of any meat, while too much may leave your tongue numb from all that smokiness. Now, back to those ribs. These suckers were large and meaty, but were perfectly cooked and had well rendered fat throughout. Each bite through the thick meat pulled easily from the bone, and had plenty of smoke. All that was lacking in these ribs was a little seasoning to really bring out the flavors that were too subtle.

Not subtle were the stuffed jalapenos that really packed a flavor and heat whallop. Luckily the nicely crisp okra was there to help stave off some of the heat. Even while I was stuffed from several BBQ stops just before this one, I found myself opening the box again and again just to get one more bite of that brisket.

Rating ****
Old Mining Camp Smokehoue on Urbanspoon

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Taylor International Barbeque Cook Off

Last Saturday brought the Taylor International Barbeque Cook-Off to Taylor, Texas. It was a hot one in Central Texas, but the crowds were still out to sample and chat with their favorite cookers. The event is in Murphy Park on the north side of Taylor, and fortunately was mostly in shade. We almost didn't get the shade at this event because Taylor's mayor, Rod Hortenstine doesn't want the event in Murphy Park. Luckily he was only one of two votes against the Jaycee's using the park in a council vote back in June, otherwise attendees would have been subjected to the shade-free Taylor Regional Park in the 105 degree heat.

In addition to the 83 teams competing in 7 different meat categories, there were a few vendors including our buddy Drew with Man Up Texas BBQ.

Drew from Man-Up Texas BBQ manning the Q Card table

After turn-in, teams place samples of their 'cue out for public sampling. Many of these teams are vying for the "People's Choice" award which is a popularity contest based on how hospitable the team is, or how well their free samples are liked. This Aggie fan with Show Us Your Pits was one of those friendly cookers, but the rest of her tent seemed annoyed at our presence.

A sampling of brisket.

It's honestly a bit odd to go around from rig to rig looking for hand outs, but the Dirty Bar-B-Que team from Granger was more than accommodating. Unlike many of the teams, all of the members were engaging and happy to talk about their methods, as well as let us sample some of the best goat I've ever eaten.

"Dirty Bar-B-Que" Team from Granger, Texas

Goat from Dirty Bar-B-Que

There were a plethora of smoker designs, some were fancy while others were a bit more functional.

I has planned to judge the event, so I filled out the requisite forms months in advance. After sending them in, I got no response either way about being included, so I assumed they had enough judges. The responses I did get gave the impression that the Taylor Jaycee's were a group with transitioning leadership, so maybe I'll try next year.

In my research, I did learn that BBQ authors Paris Parmenter and John Bigley were able to judge, and this was the first research trip for them in their effort to update their Texas BBQ guidebook from 1992.

You can read a few other accounts of the competition from the Texas BBQ Posse and from Don O. If you're interested in the results, here are the 2010 winners:

Master Cook: Bevo Burners

Reserve Master: Bad Boys BBQ

Seafood: Nazarene BBQ Team

Wild game: Patin Construction 2

Poultry: Hell, I Don’t Know Either

Beef: D&K Cookers 1

Pork: Texas Pit Crew BBQ

Lamb: Bevo Burners

Goat: Aggie Cookers

Beans: Gnaw on This

Elaborate rig: S&S Pit Crew

Showmanship: Best Light Cookers

People’s Choice: Pappy and the Boys

- BBQ Snob

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Bone on the Grill

SHERMAN: Bone on the Grill
4933 Gibbons Road

Sherman, TX 75092


Open M-Sat 11-7

Maybe it's a good thing for a proprietor to have in inferiority complex, but Lemontt just couldn't get over what he saw as a slight from a recent visit by the Texas BBQ Posse. In the first post about their trip, the posse did not show a picture of his joint, but did of the other three on the itinerary. I assured him that good publicity is hard to come by, especially when you're alongside a limited access highway six miles outside of Sherman, Texas. It's not like I would have found the place without the tip from the posse, and maybe now Lemontt has seen the two subsequent posts, the story in the Dallas Morning News and the associated video. He's probably still miffed because they didn't include a picture of him. Well, here you go Lemontt.


Among other things, I learned from Lemontt that he built this joint quite literally by hand, starting with a few mobile trucks as a base. It is admittedly a work in progress, but the the work can only be done in between the cooking. While a conversation with the owner is a pleasing addition to any visit to this joint, the food is the highlight. After placing and order through the sliding screen window to Lemontt's business partner (not his wife, and camera shy), we learned that the brisket wasn't ready. We instead ordered a combo of hot wings, ribs and hot links. This generous $11 combo also came with cornbread, a side, a drink, and an ice cream pie.

Order your meat, then be sure to contemplate your next decision carefully. Hot or mild sauce? We went with hot without giving it much thought. I and my brother-in-law are fans of spicy food, so we weren't worried. Then we opened the box and a soft orange glow emanated. Actual chunks of habaneros could be seen swimming around this viscous mixture of heat and sweet. As a coating for fried chicken wings, this sauce has no peer. Liberally applied to the hot and still crispy meat, the flavors were irresistable even after we finished our drinks. Ribs and hot links were also coated in the sauce. This isn't traditional Texas BBQ meant to be served with a dipping cup for the sauce. The sauce here is key to the overall flavors, and the ribs highlighted this. Each rib had little crust and not much smokiness, and tasted as if they may have been stewing in that sauce mixture soaking up the heat. These were falling of the bone texture, but I couldn't put them down. Hot links had been sliced a while before, and also tasted like they'd been soaking in this spicy elixir for some time. The edges were chewy in a good way, but who knows if the link alone was hot.

To beat the heat in our mouths, we split the days flavor of ice cream pie. A small sweet crust was filled with ice cream, pineapples and bananas and was then topped with whipped cream, coconut, and crushed nuts. As an extinguisher it worked wonders, and as a dessert, it was perfect for any summer day. Be sure to get one if you stop, and if you stop because of this article, please tell Lemontt that publicity in any form can be good for business.

Rating ***
Bone on the Grill on Urbanspoon

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Big Ronnie's Pit BBQ

WHITESBORO: Big Ronnie's Pit BBQ
25646 US Hwy 377

Whitesboro, TX 76273


Open Thur-Sat 11-7

Update: This joint is CLOSED.

2010: I learned about this joint from a recent post by Texas BBQ Posse, and be warned before making the trip up to Whitesboro, that I've also been told by the posse that this joint might already be closed down. The posse is a Dallas based gang of 'cue heads, many of which work for the Dallas Morning News. This would explain why they get so many of their road trips documented in print. Big Ronnie's was just a few miles north on 377 from my stops in at the BBQ Joint and Clark's, so I pulled in late on Friday evening to learn that they had just closed up shop and were out of meat for the evening. The next day up at Lake Texoma it was pouring, so my brother-in-law decided to join me on my trek back to Ronnie's. He would later learn that there are very few trips with me that feature just one BBQ joint.

Big Ronnie isn't around much anymore. There was a comment about the combination of strokes and alcohol, but it was a group of ladies working the place on a Saturday morning. They offer meat by the quarter pound, so we went with that amount of sliced beef and two pork ribs. They came with a deeply flavored sauce that was on the sweet side, but was definitely unique. Ribs were well seasoned and had some good smoke, but they needed more time on the smoker to tenderize. They were just too chewy. Brisket was better but needed more smoke. The slices were moist and also a bit chewy. The bites with crust were good, but the interior meat tasted like little more than roast beef. They needed the sauce, which luckily was up to the task.

Rating **

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Clark's Outpost

TIOGA: Clark's Outpost
101 Highway 377
Tioga, TX 76271
Open M-Thur 11-9, F-Sat 11-9:30, Sun 11-8:30

Update: On a recent trip to Lake Texoma, it was my job to pick up some BBQ for Saturday's lunch. I chose Clark's for the job because I knew they specialized in packaging meat to travel. After a quick phone conversation, I had an order in for a whole brisket, a few racks of ribs, some sausage and a half chicken. When I arrived it was all ready to go in individual cryovac sacks, and the cashier brought them all out on a tray and displayed them almost like a fine wine bottle for my inspection and approval. I approved. I also couldn't make it out the door without grabbing a brisket sandwich to go.

I can't explain what my Iphone did to capture this brisket so poorly, but I hesitate to include the photo because it looks so bad. The photo couldn't be further from the truth. The meat had a beautiful black crust that crunched under my teeth. A deep smokiness ran deep into this perfectly tender meat, and the fat was nicely rendered. It's no wonder after you learn the process that Clark's goes through for their smoked briskets. Instead of 10 or 12 hours, their briskets are smoked for up to three days without a bit of seasoning. The pitmaster refers to the process more as smoke curing than simple smoking. The process makes it nearly impossible not to have tender silky meat with a great crust and smokiness. Not a bit of their excellent sauce is required.

The next day, I warmed the meat in a low oven wrapped in foil. When it was ready, the whole house had a great smokey aroma, and we devoured it so quickly I didn't have a chance to take photos. The whole brisket was even better than the sandwich from the day earlier. The ribs were also good, but had a heavy rub that didn't allow a good crust. These were also not as smoky as the brisket, but still had great flavor, tenderness and moisture. Sausage and chicken were both good, but nothing memorable. All I can remember now is how great that brisket was hot out of the oven.

Rating ****

2008: This joint is sited along Ray Roberts Lake in a tiny town who's visitors are most commonly stopping to get a generous plate of BBQ from Clark's. Legend tells of Dallas and Ft. Worth big-wigs landing at a nearby helipad in order to avert the hour drive. The crowds can get large on weekend evenings, but the wait is worth it. The ribs here have a dry spice rub, and are smoked until perfectly tender. The rub locks in the moisture, but it also discourages the crust from forming. I expected more flavor from the substantial rub as well. The brisket here was a good surprise. Generally ribs are easier to master than brisket, so the slightly above-average ribs didn't leave me much hope for the brisket. Wow, was I wrong. The brisket had a perfect black crust and a thick rosy smoke line. The slice had the right amount of moisture and tenderness. The flavor was excellent, but could have had more smoke outside the crust. The only thing that could have put the brisket into the perfect category would have been some nicely rendered fat along the edges which had all been trimmed away. Either way, this was some good brisket, and alone is worth the drive...or flight, whichever you can arrange.

Clark's Outpost Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Texas BBQ Round Table

I'd planned to take a trip down to Taylor, Texas for the Taylor International Barbeque Cook Off, which was held over the past weekend, and I started hearing about more and more folks who might also be making the trip. We decided that Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor would be the place to host the first Texas BBQ Bloggers Round Table. Arriving at 10:30 helped to skirt most of the line that quickly formed by 11:00. Wayne Mueller efficiently runs the register, and was happy to see some friendly faces. I was happy to see that meat rubbed in loads of cracked black pepper.

Wayne running the register

The EatsBBQ group

We sat down and took stock of the bounty of food and friends before us. Some friends old and some new.

Brisket, beef and pork ribs, smoked ribeye and chipotle sausage.

Of course the BBQ was top notch, but the company was even better. To cap things off, Scott brought some of his special recipe ice cream made with Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce. Everyone agreed it was 'interesting', but we were all happy to try it. Some even offered some tasting notes and ways to improve it. I'm sure Steve is working on the refined recipe as I write.

Fulmer offering ice cream opinions

Budding BBQ addict

Don O. and his buddy in 'cue, Scott

Scott savoring some savory ice cream

All agreed that this must be just the first of many round tables. I can't wait for the next one. Here was the impressive line-up for this first attempt:

- Chris Wilkins and Gary Jacobson with Texas BBQ Posse. They spent the weekend in town and this was their second trip to Louie Mueller's in two days.
- Chris Reid, Michael Fulmer and Brad Barber traveled from Houston, and stopped at Snow's on the way up to Taylor. They seem to be on a BBQ trip every weekend.
- The Eats BBQ group led by Ray Pierce made the short trip from Austin.
- Don O. and his buddy Scott made Louie Mueller's one of their six stops on the day.

- BBQ Snob

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The BBQ Joint

AUBREY: The Bbq Joint
101 N Highway 377
Aubrey, TX, 76227
Open M-W 11-3, Thur-F 11-8

Update: After two years, I finally made it back to this little joint along the highway. I included a mention of the BBQ Joint in my D Magazine article from a few months back, and they thanked me electronically. This would by no means be a disguised critic visit. We were welcomed by the owners Christina and Jesse upon arrival, and they assured us that they had made sure sliced brisket and ribs were still available for our somewhat late arrival on a Friday evening.

The sides were standard BBQ fare, and the burger was still good and juicy. My daughter was partial to the grilled cheese, and this was the first time this 15 month old had polished a whole one off on her own. The plate of BBQ was picture perfect. It's as if they knew I was going to write about it. Slices of lean brisket were a tad dry but had good flavor overall. Each slice was nicely tender with a hint of smokiness. A request for some moist brisket later in the meal would prove to remedy the moisture issue, but the meat still lacked a smoky punch. The ribs were excellent in every way except it needed a bit more smokiness. The meat was moist from well rendered fat. A nice crust had developed with the black pepper rub, and the flavor of the meat was great. Each bite required just a tug to release from the bone, but there was no mushy texture.

Also memorable was watching the owners go to every table to pass out their tres leches cake. It was closing time on a Friday, and they wouldn't reopen until Monday, so this cake wasn't going to keep. The moist cake, with the fresh whipped cream and sweetened strawberry slices was a perfect ending to a good meal.

Rating ***

2008: This joint is located on a stretch of highway usually passed by Dallasites on their way to a more storied joint up the road in Tioga. Those folks might want to save few miles, and make a stop in Aubrey to try this place. It's is a family run joint with a young couple sharing all counter and kitchen duties with their toddler running around entertaining diners. A customer at the counter guaranteed this family served the best burgers around. Placards on the table from a local meat market explain cuts of beef and pork and described where they are located on the respective steer and hog. I opted for the rib and brisket region. The ribs had a dark brown crust with no smoke line. The meat still had a nice smoky flavor, was tender and moist with well rendered fat. A pepper rub added nice flavor. The brisket looked as if it would fall flat, but turned out to be the better meat. With no crust or smoke line, there was still a good smoke flavor throughout. Although it was near closing time, the meat was still moist and tender, and it had great flavor. I also tried a hot link not made in-house. It had good spice, but tasted a little like bologna. My next time up 377, I'll make an early stop to try the rest of the menu.

BBQ Joint on Urbanspoon

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ye Ole Butcher Shop

PLANO: Ye Ole Butcher Shop
926 East 15th Street
Plano, TX 75074-5800
Open M 9-3, Tues-F 9-6, Sat 9-5

I'll admit that this little butcher shop in Plano does not advertise BBQ as their forte. They specialize in specialty game meats, and highlight one in burger form as a lunch special nearly every day of the week. My stomach got the best of me when I saw that they also offered BBQ, and I thought that a butcher shop might be able to smoke some correct meat. Besides, the people of Plano need some decent 'cue in an otherwise BBQ devoid area of DFW.

I observed some plates of 'cue at the counter as I was about to order. They resembled a BBQ stew that was positively swimming an a dark, sweet sauce. I asked for sauce on the side. When ordering here, don't be confused by the nomenclature. For some reason a 'BBQ' plate is brisket with other items being called their more common names likes ribs and sausage. I went with a rib and BBQ (brisket) combo with beans and macaroni salad. This was against my better judgment as it was buffalo burger day, and the burgers being delivered all around me looked incredibly juicy alongside their homemade onion rings.

I'll start with the positives first. Beans were smoky with a hint of sweetness, and had great texture. The macaroni salad was chocked full of peppers and onions, and had a great smooth mouthfeel. The salad was dense making it seem very filling. That would be important later. Ribs were overcooked and dropping from the bone as I tried to pick them up from the plate. Ironically, the exterior was dried out. This meat had no smoky flavor, and little flavor at all. I felt an apology to the cow was needed for the brisket. The slices were so dry they bordered on brittle. The meat was devoid of flavor, smoke or love. To be so dry, they must have been presliced in the morning and held through lunch (possibly in a dehumidifier?). Or maybe they were buffalo. The butcher shop prominently features buffalo in many forms, so could it be that they've decided on this much leaner cut for their brisket? The answer was no, it's all beef. Then I learned that they're using a Cookshack for their smoking. This began to explain the lack of smoke.

Cookshack manufactures an entry model commercial smoker that is heated by electricity with some wood added for 'flavor'. Their tagline being "We deliver the taste of barbecue to the world." Notice that they don't promise to deliver actual barbecue. That's hard to do in the set-it-and-forget-it world of electric and gas fired commercial smokers. Cookshack says it best on their website "Anyone can do it." But from what I ate at Ye Ole Butcher Shop, maybe not. Sorry Plano, it looks like you're gonna have to wait around a while longer for good BBQ.

Rating *
Ye Ole Butcher Shop on Urbanspoon

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Hutchins BBQ

1301 N Tennessee St
Mckinney, TX 75069

Open M-Sat 11-9, Sun 11-8


Update: This joint has recovered from their fire and are now open for business.

2010: Being able to see your meat being chopped, sliced and portioned can really improve your meal if you know what to ask for. After ordering up a three-meat combo of ribs, sausage and sliced brisket at Hutchins, I noticed the knife man grabbing for a dried out hunk of lean brisket from the flat. I kindly asked for some fatty brisket instead that is normally reserved for portions of chopped beef.

The resulting fatty brisket had a silky texture with perfectly rendered fat throughout the cut. The meat was more chunked than sliced because it had already begun to fall apart. Heavily seasoned with salt, the bites with some of the well formed crust packed a powerful flavor punch, but I could have used a good dose of smoke that was missing. Ribs were on the verge of being overcooked, but were definitely mot mushy. Again, they were well seasoned and needed a bit more smoke, but the texture was luxuriously moist with plenty of good melty fat running through. The sausage was average with a little kick, but had good moisture without being overly fatty.

A side of sweet broccoli salad was a nice change of pace from the BBQ standards, and the green beans had great pork flavor from the bits of bacon mixed in. Skip the free desserts which they couldn't with good conscience charge any amount for. Otherwise, be sure to pay attention when ordering. Why bother with the dry stuff they want to serve you when the good moist meat s right next to it?

Rating ***
Hutchins BBQ and Grill on Urbanspoon

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pederson's Natural Sausage

If you recall, in the great bacon tasting from earlier this year, we named Pederson's bacon the best in the group that was sampled. Pederson's is a small town company in Hamilton, Texas, and offer much more than bacon. They were so happy about the blog post, that they added it to their own blog. Even better, they offered to send me a few of their other products gratis. After searching over the options, I noticed a whole line of bison sausages, then I found the holy grail. Bacon sausage. It's 80% pork sausage and 20% bacon link, and it's awesome.

Bacon Sausage

As I said before, the bacon sausage is obviously made with bacon. This makes it a bit fatty as you can see in the picture, but it doesn't hide the great salty and smoky flavors that come with a bit of a kick. These work very well as a breakfast sausage, but it's no health food. It has more fat and calories than a Johnsonville brat of the same size, so you might want to limit yourself to two or three in the morning.

Bison Bierwurst Smoked Sausage

The bierwurst is a mixture of bison and pork. Bison is a very lean meat, so a little pork was added here for some moisture. After a spot on the grill to warm them (they are packaged fully cooked) I placed them on a roll with mustard. The flavor had more depth than many beef sausages I've had, but there wasn't quite enough fat in these to keep them as moist as I like. Keep in mind that they have only about 2/3 the fat and calories of a Johnsonville bratwurst.

Bison Jalapeno Smoked Sausage

Even more healthy is the straight bison sausage. It's also a bit more dry, but the flavor is great with the addition of spicy jalapeno. I'd say the flavor was more akin to an immature landjaeger than a traditional sausage, but my favorite part about these links is their ingredient list: Bison, Water, Spices, Vinegar, Pork Casing. I guess that's why they call it Pederson's Natural Sausage.

Since I can't expect them to keep sending me free sausage, I went looking for some at nearby grocery stores. I know you can find them at Central Market, but I'm not sure about other locations.

Now I see that they have BBQ Bacon. Whatever that is, it's on my next grocery list.

- BBQ Snob

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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.