Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mr. Gary's Bar-B-Q

PRINCETON: Mr. Gary's Bar-B-Q
State Hwy. 380 and S. Bridgefarmer Rd.
Princeton, TX 75407
Open ?

Bridgefarmer Road crosses State Highway 380 between McKinney and Princeton, Texas. This is not the most heavily traveled thoroughfare, but Mr. Gary decided it was a good corner for him to set up shop. I wouldn't have had any reason to travel this route if I hadn't heard about the joint from a 2007 review from Rambling Ranch. After climbing the concrete stoop, I placed my order through the small window. Combo plates are not an option (no sides) so I went for a half lb. of brisket, a half rack of ribs and some hot links. Gary came back to the window to inform me the hot links were not yet ready, so I knew he was a man with BBQ principals. A half chicken it would be. I was a bit taken back by the $27 price tag for the combo, but I was excited to get home and dig in.

Meats are smoked over a revolving mix of hardwoods

The brisket was chopped because Gary had forgot his knife. I'm not sure how he chopped it, but the outcome was great. The moist meat had incredible smokiness, but was a bit oversalted. There was plenty of crispy crust mixed in which made for good eating right off the fork, or more naturally as a great sandwich filler.

The chicken had a disappointingly soggy skin, but the meat below was moist with plenty of smokiness that had penetrated. Both dark and white meat were exceptional. Ribs were well smoked too, but suffered from the same liberal use of salt as the brisket. The flavors were still good, and the meat was nicely moist. The rib meat came off the bone easily enough without being overcooked. These were some good ribs, and I've no doubt that Gary can smoke the rest of his menu quite well too. You can head out to this far away locale as well to try it, or call the number above to place a catering order, and Gary can come to you.

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.