Sunday, August 19, 2012

Wagon Wheel Smokehouse

EAGLE PASS: Wagon Wheel Smokehouse
3283 Del Rio Blvd.
Eagle Pass, TX 78852

Sitting right on the Texas/Mexico border about and hour south of Del Rio is the small town of Eagle Pass. There isn't another major stop along the border until Laredo a couple more hours to the southeast. If we were going to get a decent lunch, it was going to have to be here in Eagle Pass. A promising sight on the north side of town was a tall sign advertising the Wagon Wheel Smokehouse and an impressive mobile smoker out front. When we got out of the car there wasn't a wisp of smoke in the air and the smoker was cold.

Despite the three different "open" signs, there wasn't anyone at the ordering window outside. We strolled inside to the empty restaurant lined with mounted animal heads and dollar bills stapled to the plywood walls. A man standing near the abandoned register was waiting around for someone to come pay the beer delivery bill. I stood by the counter trying to make enough noise to stir up some service. In a few minutes a lady came from the back looking flustereded that someone was there so early (11:30) looking for barbecue, which wasn't that surprising since the joint looked like most of its action happened around midnight at the bar. She quickly took our order and went back into the kitchen for a painfully long time. Through the thin metal doors of the kitchen I could hear the hum of an electric knife and the sound of the microwave door opening and closing several times. When she finally brought out the order, it was missing the ribs. At this point the owner arrived through the front door, completed our order, and paid the beer man.

On a picnic table outside we opened  a container of tepid and bone-dry brisket. Any of its other attributes were lost in the cotton-mouth it provided. It was awful.

Just one bite of the ribs showed that they had gotten the full blast of the microwave. They were searingly hot, and there wasn't much to taste beyond the sauce covering the meat. I was hoping the beans flecked with onions, tomato and cilantro would at least provide a little filler for my now hungry stomach, but they were ice cold, straight from the fridge.

Rating: No Stars


DrillerAA said...

Seems a shame to have such a monster rig and produce such an inferior product.

bsnelson said...

Daniel, is this your only "no stars" review? Is there a way to search for "no stars"?

BBQ Snob said...

There is one other "No Stars" review. The tag can be found along the right hand coulmn, it's just buried alphabetically, just below Memphis.


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.