Friday, June 29, 2012

Hardeman's BBQ (Garland)

GARLAND: Hardeman's Bar-B-Que 
4122 Broadway 
Garland, TX 75043 
Open M-Thur 11-10, F-Sat 11-midnight, Sun 11-5

The Hardeman's chain once consisted of four locations in Dallas. Until late last year the only one operating was in Oak Cliff on Westmoreland. In this newer location in Garland an old Sonic was hastily renovated. An Oyler smoker (a good sign) was plunked down beside the building and a few banners were hung. The old Sonic awning is still there, but don't sit out there waiting for the car hop. They ain't coming.

Inside is a small counter with a steam table holding the veggies. I ordered a combo plate to go and it was prepared in the back. The sauced and foiled meat was accompanied by cabbage and greens (I was running low on roughage) and after having such good luck with banana pudding at the Westmoreland location, I grabbed an order here.

There's no seating inside, so I dined on the car trunk once again. Brisket was so overdone that I couldn't grasp a solid slice. The beef was dry even with the sauce bath as were the ribs. Odom's in West Dallas, which used to be a Hardeman's and is still run by the family, has some of my favorite saucy ribs in town, but I doubt these bones in Garland were what Chester Hardeman envisioned when he started the business in 1930. Besides being dry they lacked smoke and were most likely smoked the day prior. On a good note the sides were both excellent in their simplicity and the pudding was as good as I remembered from the other location. I still can't nail down where the unique tanginess comes from, but there's got to be some buttermilk or cream cheese in the recipe. There may be many reasons to visit a particular barbecue joint, but banana pudding alone is not reason enough here.

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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.