Thursday, March 21, 2013

Texas Monthly, Here I Come

Starting next month this barbecue life of mine will no longer be a hobby, a part-time job or a distration from my day job. On April 15th I will become the Barbecue Editor at Texas Monthly magazine. Hell yes!

For the first time since 1996, I will not be immersed in the world of architecture, which saddens me a bit knowing how well I've been treated at Good Fulton & Farrell, but there are some opportunities that cannot be passed up. Goodbye to architecture for a while, and hello to All BBQ, All the Time!

- BBQ Snob

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Black Diamond Smokehouse

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS: Black Diamond Smokehouse
3900 Rufe Snow
North Richland Hills, TX 76180
Open Sun-Thur 10:30-9, F-Sat 10:30-11

Update: This joint is CLOSED.

2013: It was several months ago when I made my first visit to Black Diamond Smokehouse. The smoky smell is strong out in the parking lot and it doesn't dissipate inside. A large array of side items outside the norm of beans and slaw were available like cucumber salad, fried okra and mac & cheese along with the standard cuts of smoked meat. It was early evening and there wasn't another person in the large dining room so I grabbed a two-meat combo to-go and took it outside for a picnic on the trunk.

The ribs were covered in a thick black bark. Each bite was intensely smoky, but the heavy rub of powdery ingredients had a burnt flavor. The meat was tender if a bit dry and it came away from the bone nicely. A jalapeno sausage was well smoked, but it was an overly salty commercial sausage. The brisket was also both smoky and a bit dried out. They had some real potential which brought me back a few months later to try it again.

This time around the parking lot was packed in mid-afternoon. Dining tables had been converted into poker tables and they were packed with customers clad in visors and sunglasses. I thought I might need to ante up if I took a seat, so I took it to-go once again. This time I just went for the brisket and ribs although the fried catfish and fried frog legs looked tempting. Once again the brisket was deeply smoky as well as dried out. The ribs had improved. There was still a heavy smoke flavor that verged on overkill, but a lighter rub had been applied that allowed a crisp bark to form on these moist ribs. As I concluded my meal I could still see the potential. A fattier cut of brisket closer to opening time may be great, but the slices I got were just above acceptable. The ribs seem like a safer bet.

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.