Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Smokehouse Bar-B-Que

SAN ANGELO: Smokehouse Bar-B-Que
2302 West Beauregard Ave.
San Angelo, TX 76901
Open M-Sat 11-7

The signage and building made it obvious that this place had been around a while. The interior is divided into a lower portion for the dining and you've got to take a few steps up to the cafeteria-style ordering line. An older man started to trim the fat from the whole brisket for my order and I quickly asked him to leave it. It took a few more reminders before I got some good crusty slices, but the fat was long gone in the trash.

The menu featured "German" sausage which turned out to be a warmed-over commercial kielbasa. The pork ribs were well cooked, but needed more smoke. This was surprising given that they smoke with mesquite which usually provides a good punch, but the meat tasted more like a well seasoned roast pork. The rack of ribs got a bath in the thin sauce before slicing which didn't help with saving the bark which was missing. The brisket got all the smoke that was missing from the ribs. The crust was well formed, but the meat had dried out a bit and I didn't get any of that good looking fat.

Out back they had a smoker of their own design. I've seen plenty of commercially made rotisserie smokers in my travels, but there aren't many homemade ones. This one was definitely homemade, and didn't use a bit of gas to keep the mesquite fire going. If they'd only let the mesquite work its magic instead of over-trimming the beef and letting the pork braise in sauce, they'd have some great barbecue.

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.