Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Big Texan

7701 W Interstate 40
Amarillo, TX 79121
Open Daily 7-10:30 (BBQ after 10:30)

No, I did not get the 72 oz. steak or attempt the ridiculous eating challenge that The Big Texan is most well known for. I didn't even get a steak. A large table surrounded by high-backed chairs on raised platform sits just below the timer that would be counting down had some poor soul been attempting the famous challenge. The only challenge I had on this day was waiting until 10:00 am when the lunch menu was finally available. I know this place isn't a BBQ joint, but brisket, ribs and sausage are featured on their menu, it was open on a Sunday, and I happened to be staying at the adjoining motel the evening before. I was even berated on Twitter because this place is only for tourist. I was 500 miles from home, so I guess I fit the tourist definition.

What I quickly realized when the combo plate arrived was that many tourists assume this is real Texas barbecue. Unfortunately, none of these meats had even been licked by smoke. The ribs were tender with plenty of sauce flavor, but they had surely been baked. The same for the brisket that wasn't even a good representation of roast beef. From the salty flavor and overly moist texture, it may have been presliced and stored in broth. Sausage was large and mushy with odd flavors of aromatic spices. Again, any smoke flavor was missing. Sides of fried okra and mashed potatoes were also forgettable, but were at least more indicative of Texas cuisine than the barbecue. For the sake of this state's barbecue reputation, I hope the tourists stick with the steaks here.

Rating *
The Big Texan Steak Ranch on Urbanspoon

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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.