Texas BBQ Road Continues

On August 5, 2013, in Texas Best BBQ Review, by admin

Another addition from our portly purveyor of Texas BBQ:

Today’s journey takes us to Chappell Hill, about 8 miles east on Highway 290 from Brenham ,TX.    We have passed the Chappell Hill Bakery and Smokehouse numerous times over the years and kept saying, “one of these days….”.  As we were in the area for the Chappell Hill Bluebonnet Festival, we left the festival tired and hungry and decided, this was going to be that day.  Walking in, you are faced with two entry doors.  The first, on the right, leads to the Bakery side and the left leads to the restaurant side.  There is only one large room inside , filled with tables and a few booths, with very little decoration outside of some old photos of the area from many years past.   Heading over to the restaurant side we were immediately dismayed at the long line we found ourselves in.  The line snaked past the cafeteria style servers carving BBQ meats and placing side orders on plates.  But the line moved steadily, and the wait gave us the chance to read the chalk menu board with the options and daily specials.  It also gave us time to look at the orders of folks walking past the cashier’s area, plates filled with food.

As usual at a new BBQ place, we ordered the two-meat special, with brisket, sausage, and two sides.  Then came our first big decision-what kind of sausage?  They offer 3 types, regular, jalapeno, and garlic.  We chose the garlic as it was not as spicy, and very unusual option on the BBQ Road.  The sides offered were plentiful, from Mac-n-cheese, to mustard greens, and several types of beans, but we chose the traditional potato salad and Cole slaw.  We got pickles on the side, no onions.  Sauce came on the side as well, which is a great choice for most people, who are usually on one side or the other on the great BBQ Sauce or non-BBQ-Sauce debate.  We were asked if we wanted bread, and said yes.  We received two large thick-sliced made-in-the-store slabs of warm bread, fresh from the oven.  Wonderful!

The sides were good, not great.  The mustard potato salad had a large dill pickle contribution, which made the salad tangy and crunchy.  The Cole slaw was fresh, but a little soupy.   The BBQ sauce was thin, molasses/ketchup based, with not much else going for it.   How was the meat?   The brisket had a very pronounced smoke ring, but little smoke flavor.  It was not particularly tender.  The sausage was outstanding, sliced thin and piled high, the garlic flavor very present but not overpowering.

For desert, we wandered over to the bakery side, and first passed on Blue Bell Ice Cream (No Blue Bell, from right down the road in Brenham?-Sometimes sacrifices must be made.  We did buy a loaf of bread, still very warm from the oven, and fogging up the bread bag.  We added a dozen Kolaches and off we went for more adventures down the road.

The grade?  Chappell Hill gets a “B”.  Good sides, great sausage, so-so brisket, and BBQ sides best summed up as “meh”.  The grade would have been closer to a “C”, but the Bakery raises the overall grade.  The prices and serving sizes were about average.

The BBQ Road goes ever on…….

 

Joe Bob BBQ gives this a thumbs up for two meats, 3000 calories, and followed, I am sure, by a nap

Another Texas BBQ Review

On April 10, 2012, in Texas Best BBQ Review, by admin

From the BBQ Guy of Low Budget Reviews…..

While reviewing BBQ places far and wide along the BBQ Road, it is always interesting to hit a local spot to see if they have changed over the years.  So I was looking forward to the recent visit to “Pok-E-Jo’s BBQ” in Round Rock. This 5-store local chain has been serving the Austin area since 1979, when several guys, after an evening of beer and not-so-good BBQ at a local joint decided they could do better.   The Round Rock location is their second-oldest, opened in 1992 and is the hub of their catering business.  They have the sign from the original store.

 

Walking through the heavy wooden doors, the smell of smoking meats washes over you like high tide on the beach.  There are 3 actual BBQ pits in the restaurant and they are going 24-7.  The décor is standard Texas BBQ with mounted deer heads, license plates, old metal logos from gas stations and soda pop.  Even an post office sign from somewhere in New Mexico.  The serving line is close to the carving stations where a large, but difficult to read sign posts the offerings, and specials of the day.  The staff is young, competent, very friendly and quick.  Instead of the usual 2-meat plate, I opt for the 3-meat plate instead, adding ribs to the brisket and sausage and 2 sides with Texas Toast on my plate.  The sides offered are extensive, unusual for a BBQ place, including baked spuds, jalapeno corn bread casserole, fried okra, and others along with the usual suspects.  My companion opted for the coleslaw and green bean casserole while I stayed with coleslaw and potato salad.

So how was it?  Well the sides had a mixed response.  The coleslaw was obviously freshly prepared, unusual in that the cabbage was sliced in large strips.  It made for an appealing dish, but was very bland.  The potato salad had a little kick, extra dill pickle perhaps, and was very chunky, but could have used additional mustard.  I won’t say bland, but perhaps just OK-not-quite great.  The green bean casserole was delicious, hot, smooth, crispy.  Very well done.

The sweet tea tasted commercial brand and was a disappointment.

 

The brisket was thoroughly cooked, but was not particularly tender. There was no evidence of a smoke ring.  The sausage was cut into thin slices and looked prepared on-site.  It was very coarse ground, not greasy at all, with what appeared to be black pepper and some other seasonings not often tasted elsewhere.  The ribs were small, not tender, average in meat content, but good smoky taste.  You are given the option of sauce or no sauce and there is a table in the middle of the place for more sauce if’n ya need it.   There are two types of sauce, once is spicier than the other.

 

Grade?  The sides get a solid “B” for wide selection, but need some work.  The Brisket gets a “C”, just average.  The sausage gets an “A” and the ribs a “C”.  Overall, I give a “B-“ (B-minus).  I believe that when restaurants get into the catering business, they learn to deal with economies of scale, finding ways of preparing foods economically, quickly, and intentionally bland food tastes downward so they can be all things to all customers.  While this may make for good restaurant business, it doesn’t make for great BBQ.    Pok-E-Jo’s—you could do better!  The portions are large, especially the sides.  The prices are average-to-above-average. The 3-meat plate and sides were $10.79.

 

We will see you down the Barbecue Road!

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Chisholm Trail BBQ Lockhart Texas. So everyone boasts to have the best BBQ, especially here in Texas where everyone brags about anything and everything. So when our roaming correspondent and local BBQ expert hit the road once again to ingest some serious calories, they ended up in this central Texas town of Lockhart, about 30 miles southeast of Austin, Texas. Here, they claim the best BBQ in the state.  Truly, some of the joynts he mentions go back to the early 1900’s, and Chisholm Trail BBQ to the 70’s, the ‘new kid’ in town. So are they the best?  Well, read on……

Last holiday weekend brought a quick lunch trip down to Lockhart, TX, proclaimed “The BBQ Capital of Texas”.  Pretty strong words, there pardner, but can they back it up?  The answer is…Hell yes!

This small town of approximately 14,000 people, the county seat of Caldwell County has one of the most picturesque County Courthouses in Texas, completed in 1894.  This town was on one of the main trails of the Chisholm Trail, with Cowboys riding herd to drive beef to the railheads in Kansas.  That history of handling beef has taken hold with four BBQ places (and counting) that would be considered among the best in Texas.

After previously trying the better-known BBQ “joints” in town, like Blacks, Smitty’s, and  Kruez, we were determined to try “Chisholm Trail BBQ” right on Hwy  183 in town, but well past the other places mentioned above.  The low-slung, but long building is unimpressive outside, with signs advising of a wide variety of foods including chicken-fried steaks and fajita plates. We found one parking spot available out front—the place was packed. Walking in , there is initial confusion, no real directions to the service line—indeed there were two lines.  After watching a minute and then asking a local, we learned that the left hand line is for “to Go” orders and the right line was for either eat-in or to go.  The floor was commercial tile, the tables, old worn Formica, scattered about several divided rooms.  Old pictures and the occasional stuffed bobcat/coyote were the decorations.  A wide variety of choices then presented themselves—what to eat.  You can order a plate with 1 or more meats and sides, or just order various meats by the pound.  You can get a Styrofoam container to eat in or go, or just have them put it on butcher paper like other places in town.  We quickly decided on the plate lunch, either the 1 or two meat plate came with 3 sides (most places offer two sides) along with bread and onions (which I think must be offered by law in Texas).  In order to compare “apples to apples” when reviewing BBQ,  I usually get the brisket and sausage as I did here.  The sides had over a dozen choices, cottage fries, green beans, pinto beans, potato salad, coleslaw, fried okra, mac and cheese, black eyed peas, green salad, were among those offered.  My companion got green beans and black-eyed peas, and I got the ‘tater salad and coleslaw. (again, pretty standard for comparison sakes).

The green beans tasted like home-grown picked and slow-cooked with ham bits-very good.  The black-eyed peas were met with approval.  The potato salad was delicious, crunchy, firm, with celery and pimento bits included.  The only disappointment was the coleslaw.  While the presentation was good, with carrots chopped and added to the mix for good color, the slaw was bland, almost warm, vinegar-based.  The sweet tea was especially refreshing after a  busy morning.

But let’s talk about the reason for the visit—the slow-cooked meats.  The brisket was very tender, with a beautiful pink smoke ring.  Juicy but lean, it almost melts in your mouth.  The flavor both with and without sauce was close to the best we have had on the BBQ road. (Country Cousins in Centerville—watch out!)  The sausage was very good, the casing was tough to cut, but the meat inside was smoked, with interesting spices.  Not the best sausage we have had, but certainly in top 3 territory.   The brisket could be cut with a small plastic knife with little effort.  BBQ sauce was available on the side(Bonus Points!).  We bought two pounds of sliced brisket to take home with us, something we seldom do.

We found that having three sides with the BBQ plates to be a great value as well as delicious. The prices were the best we have seen on The Barbecue Road.    Great food, great prices, great value—no wonder the locals pack the place! Overall, The Chisholm Trail BBQ gets an “A”, better grades than most of the more famous BBQ brethren in town.  The food is better, the attitude is better, the place was packed with locals—all the visitors hit the other places…but the food—mmmm…..great job, folks, great job.  We will be back!

The Barbecue Road beckons…..

PS: A trip to their website indicates they will ship you meat across the county. Several of the better BBQ joints in Texas have begun to do this.  This is a way, although not the best like being there, to try some of the meats written about regularly on our bohemian site.

 


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When Will The BBQ Monsoon Stop?

On April 21, 2011, in Low Budget Review, by admin

 

We truly hope never. Wow, our man about Texas continues with the BBQ….he is literally giving you his waistline so you may enjoy these great reviews.  OK.  First a note to Google:  Dear Google, please do not cancel my adsense account. Some of the recipes in adds that you have posted as a result of your excellent search engine has literally made me click on my own ads.  Please forgive me, if you search engine was not so great, I would not have pulled off several cool recipes for one of my favorite foods…….on the BBQ Road.

Now to the review.  This place had no photo I could find, so it better be good, but read on……

My last experience on this trip was the next afternoon for a late lunch.  Mike’s Barbecue House in Nacogdoches.   Opened in 1986, the family had worked in another BBQ place across town before going out on their own.  The small parking lot was actually encouraging, but the electric sign out front worried me.  Once we walked in, though, the smell of BBQ and a little smoke was very promising.  The décor was standard Texas BBQ—wooden tables, pictures of country landscapes.  The semi-antique items hung on the walls were at a minimum, thankfully.  Really, people.  We know we are in the country, at a BBQ joint/place.  We don’t need washboards, and old rusty plows and farm implements and pictures of a Marketing Major’s version of Ma and Pa and Uncle Ernie nailed to the walls to remind us.  We know.  Now the food?  Our party ordered several different items, Pork Ribs, tasty and smoky even if not falling-off-the-bone.  The brisket had a very nice smoke ring, tender, the sausage was perhaps underdone.  The sauce was added without asking and it appeared and tasted as if a rub was placed on the meats before the sauce was added. This was similar to another BBQ place we had tried in the same city.  The result was a medium-spicy mixture, quite tasty but unusual.  We had seen that only in this town.   Some in our party did not care for the mixture, I found it different and quite good, even though I am not a spicy-foods person.  The potato salad was outstanding, in the top 3 of what we had tried in all our travels, the Cole slaw was unfortunate. Soggy, vinegar based, not encouraging.  The stuffed jalapeno’s were very spicy. The baked-bean style beans were good with chunks of beef and sauce cooked in.   The staff was pleasant and focused.  The tea was sweet and refreshing.  The blackberry cobbler was also very good.  Mike’s gets a solid B from me, although the rest of the party may not have graded so generously.  But after all, I am writing this, not them, so my grade goes….

 

The Barbecue Road goes ever on….

 

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We do not normally review chains here.  However, if you are part of the Texas landscape, you cannot avoid Dickey’s BBQ.  Hell, if you are paying attention to the Google ads that appear to the right of this post, you will likely see an ad to buy a Dickey’s franchise. Now anyone who sells franchises starting at $59K, well, one wonders about the BBQ quality. Read on.

I am happy that our BBQ expert, (and Rum expert, and Low Budget Review, everything cheap expert) was willing to try Dickeys BBQ Pit.  But make no bones about it, this is not a “BBQ Pit”  OK. With that, we let the true expert lead on with his review.

In Nacogdoches that night, we tried a BBQ place that semi-broke the rules for The Barbecue Road—a chain BBQ restaurant.  Historically, the chains do not match up with the joints, shacks, mom-n-pop, and family-run places we love to try.  But, it was close to our hotel, so, we gave it a try—Dickey’s Barbecue.  Dickey’s is a chain with approx 120 outlets, mostly in the Great Plaines states. With a number of them in Texas.  I believe it may have started in Dallas.  Many years ago, “Back in the day”, a local Dickey’s in Plano was one of our favorite dinner spots.  It had been over 20 years since our last visit.  This Dickey’s was similar to a lot of BBQ places, wood tables, checkerboard plastic tablecloths, bric-a-brac on the walls.  The young staff seemed more interested in quickly getting us served than making sure the order was correct.  Perhaps paying more attention to the customer may be in order, not just paying attention to the plate that is being filled.  Smoke hung heavy in the air—too heavy, they need better ventilation.  We literally had to shower that night to get the smoke smell out of our hair and clothes.  But the food—not bad.  The brisket was good, had a small smoke ring, the sauce was tomato-molasses based, sweet but rich, and melded with the meat very well.  The sauce was poured on the meat entre without asking if we even wanted sauce.  The traditional pickles, onion, and white bread accompanied.  The sausage was OK, smoky with a mild aftertaste of something I couldn’t quite put my finger on, jalapeno, maybe, or red pepper.  The potato salad was bland, pureed to a texture like vanilla ice cream.  Potato Salad should be chunky and funky with mustard.  I want to taste that I am eating actual potatoes, not rehydrated potato flakes.  The Cole Slaw was OK, vinegar based, and chopped very fine.  The tea was commercial brand bland.  Dickey’s gets some extra points for having some unusual items on the menu—pulled pork, not that frequent in the Beef-Universe that is Texas, loaded Baked Potatoes that looked awesome, Virginia-Style Ham, Polish Sausages… They also had a Smokehouse Salad that was the best bargain on the menu. The plate was very  large, with lots of chopped brisket, fresh greens, cheese and fixins.  Very impressive and a great price.  So here is the dilemma, I give them bonus points for some unusual sides (okra) and the salad and taters, for being a great bargain and well presented and prepared. Delicious.  But then I have to penalize them points—for offering a salad in a BBQ place.  Really, a salad?  In a BBQ place?  No matter how good it is… there’s a saying in Texas, “That boy just ain’t right”……Dickey’s gets a C+.

 

 

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In our travels over the great state of Texas seldom do we get a chance to revisit some of our previous BBQ joints and restaurants.  Sometimes, you look at that with trepidation.  Will it be as good as you remember? Did you catch the cooks on a good day or a bad one? Did the cook hate his wife that day or did he get some? All of this counts in Texas, land of the big, best BBQ and triple wide mobile homes. Yes,  consistency is extremely important with good ‘Cue, but there are so many places to try, and so little time….and with the lack of time, it is sometimes difficult to return and check on consistency

Last week, however, we were traveling to East Texas for business and made a point to stop in Centerville, a town of about 900 at the intersection of State Hwy 7 and I-45.  Back in late January we had stopped mid-morning on a cold, rainy day on the way home and shared a sliced beef brisket sandwich, from a semi-permanent trailer/shack called “Country Cousins”.  The sandwich was wonderful and we had promised ourselves that if we ever came back that way we would try more of the menu.  So now the pressure was on.  It was after lunchtime and we were hungry travelers hoping our previous stop was not a mirage.  The place was busy when we pulled up, always a good sign.  We tried the two meat plate, with sliced brisket and sausage, with two sides and tea.  The first mouthful soothed our anxiety. The brisket was melting in our mouth, the sauce, dark, thick and smoky.  It was tomato based with some molasses perhaps, with a touch of kick.  The meat had a good smoke ring and was outstanding.  The sausage was thin sliced and mild, just OK.  The sides were very good, tasty, crunchy potato salad with good texture and flavor, not bland at all.  The beans were pork n beans style with some beef and thick with a sweet cooking sauce, hot, just off the stove delicious.   My companion declared “Country Cousins” the best BBQ found so far on The Barbecue Road.  It was very close to that.  It rates an “A”.  The only reason it didn’t get an A+ was the sausage needs more character, something to make it stand out and not just seem it was Elgin Sausage thrown on the grill for a few minutes.  We may be going back that way in June and will make a point to stop again.  Well Done, “Cousins”, well done!

 

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Bone Daddy's Is Smoking Something

The BBQ road takes us to a different destination than the usual. Usually our reviewers seek out the true BBQ joints in Texas, those who smoke up a brisket unique to this region’s great BBQ. On this trip, we review Bone Daddy’s House of Smoke.  This is a limited chain in the Texas area with four total locations throughout the state.  It is owned by a  group that also owns a cajun themed eatery called Razzos. Bone Daddy’s comes with a twist, in that it has a ‘Hooters’ approach to serving BBQ. And like Hooters, it is immensely successful with this concept. You cannot help but wonder if the food is any good or is it simply the female influence?

A stop to this eatery will answer this question. The menu, for a BBQ joint is quite exhaustive.  It ranges in plates that come with all kinds of meats with a limited choices of sides. The thing is, the BBQ is really good.  Not sure how they achieve this.  As you drive up there is no smell of mesquite wood wafting through the air.

Yes, they really do look like this

There is not the run down shack with the old geezer sitting in front inquiring how your day has been.  This is a slick operation. There are also a healthy dose of sandwich offerings, highlighted by the “Flying Pig”.  This thing, with a combination of ham, pulled pork and bacon will light up your taste buds and stop your heart. Top it with some of the BBQ sauce served warm in bottles brought to the tables, and you have a great sandwich which includes fries and a small dish of baked beans, all for $10. The meat plates come with a choice of sides from a limited menu.  The sides are good, but nothing to jump up and down for. The brisket here is done very well.  It is a hight quality brisket prepared slowly to produce a beautifully tender, and tasty plate.  The smoke ring is a bit scant, and the taste is not quite as smoky as one would hope. So the inclusion of their good BBQ sauce is helpful to to top off the experience. Pork ribs are also specifically good here.  Although they are drowned in BBQ sauce before charring in the oven, they are quite tender and tasty.  Once again, the smoky taste here is a bit distant, and of course, further masked by the bath in BBQ sauce before serving.  So this does not make it the true Texas BBQ we are used to, but still, a very tasty, and overall enjoyable plate. There are some specialty menu items as well.  There is the “Beer Can Chicken”  This is a marinated whole chicken with a beer can shoved up its posterior. Please cut around the beer can before jumping into your entree.

No, They Don't Look Like That, I Threw That in For You Perve Puppies

The prices are a bit on the steep side, no doubt due in part, to its branding with babes image. As is the case with most of these establishments, the bar scene is important.  A full, but limited bar is offered, but most of the mainly male population are sucking beers from appears to be about a 32oz. glass. Weaklings will have an issue hoisting a full glass of this, so when you get it to your lips for the first time, cannon ball about half of the glass so you can lift it a second time.

Service is friendly and efficient.  Of course, like all of these female based eateries, the girls go out of the way to be of good service, and tips in excess of 20% are expected and the norm.  Silly males.  We are such dumb shits, but there you go, it is what it is.

Overall, I give this place (for the food) a 6.5 out of 10. Add the chicks in, and well, go there for yourself for those of you local to Dallas area, Austin, and Houston, and judge for yourself

The BBQ Road continues, hopefully back to a true joint next time.

Barbecue, vodka, barbecue, vodka, rum, barbecue, we are like a broken record here at redd…..but we love our passions that keep us altered and fat, and we love bringing you our reviews.  Another for LBR Guy and his Barbecue Road travels:

Recently, we heard about a great BBQ place, so ever in search of outstanding BBQ places, we took  a short trip down HWY 79 to Taylor.  Having tried Louis Mueller’s BBQ years ago we were searching for another spot—The Taylor Café.  Housed in the oldest building in Taylor, in the shadow of the highway overpass, and literally within a horseshoe throw of the railroad tracks, lies Taylor Café.  Don’t look for a sign giving directions, hell, don’t even look for anything that says Taylor Café, just look for the worn wooden door that states “BBQ—We’re open”.

Entering the building, you are met with a low ceiling and décor that reminds you of what the place really is, an old-style Texas beer joint that serves BBQ.  The Formica counter is long on an old wooden trestle.  Old tractor seats are the stools with a few tables lining the wall.  There is a pool table in the back and next to that a juke boxbigger than the pool table.   Behind the counter are some large ancient ice chests full of ice and beer.

Placing your order to the friendly staff, they bring you your tea, sweet or otherwise on request.  Most of the people coming in were getting their BBQ to go, but we are here for the whole experience—the whole hog as it were.  My companion ordered the chopped beef sandwich and I ordered the three meat platter.  While we waited for our order, a large plastic tray appeared with sliced white bread, pickles, onions, and saltine crackers (unusual) for my platter.  When my platter arrived it was overflowing with a large pork rib, sausage and brisket, covered with sauce. The Pork rib was very tender, meat falling off the bone, juicy and flavorful, a good choice.  The sausage was mildly disappointing.  Nothing special, a little spicy, but tasted mostly like Elgin sausage thrown on the grill for a few minutes.  But the brisket was masterful.   The char ring was very present, flavorful and very tender.  I cut it with my fork.  It was the best brisket I have found so far on the BBQ Road.  The sauce was tomato based, with a little kick and was outstanding as well.  The potato salad as a side was a little under cooked, and the beans were nothing special.  We found out later that their Turkey sausage is one of their featured items.  We will try that next time.   The owner, Vencil Mares, is 87, a WW II vet who has acquired a reputation praised by entities such as Texas Monthly and USA today.  Vencil was there, supervising everything and greeting everyone who came in, most by name.

Overall, I give Taylor Café an “ A”.  The sides and sausage were an “C”, the Pork Rib a B+, and the brisket an A+.   One thing I seldom mention in these reviews is price.  Prices can vary a great deal from venue to venue.  Also the amount of food received can vary.  Taylor Café had great process for the amount of food—a bargain for your hard-earned dollars.   We will be back.  Evidently Taylor has 3 well-known BBQ places in town.  We will have to compare them all, the sooner the better!

The Road goes ever on…

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Low Budget Review: BBQ Road Revisited

On February 16, 2011, in Low Budget Review, by admin

At times I find it necessary to revisit BBQ joints that I have tried and reviewed in these fine pages.  I am looking for consistency, bad or good, in the product.  If an establishment improves, I feel it most be noted.  If it has fallen, the readers here need to know since we have a lot of local Texas readers in this blog. In this spirit, I returned to Tom’s Smokehouse, Bellmead Texas.  Bellmead is a burb of Waco, Texas.  I had previously been here for lunch and a brisket sandwich.  This time I thought I would try my normal order when reviewing BBQ. First off, this place is obscure.  it is in a non-discript building on HWY 84. This is OK, because as we Texan’s all know, Texas best BBQ often comes from holes in the wall. You walk in and it looks like someones kitchen and dining room, plush with the large screen TV on playing some fight show where they cage themselves in and beat eachother until someone bleeds.  I later found out that most of the clientele here thought this was “supercool”.  So now we know who we are dealing with here. I ordered, as usual for reviews, two meat plate consisting of brisket and ribs.  The plate came with two sides from a rather limited choice.  Now, hats off to old Tom and his pricing.  He is less expensive than most BBQ joints. I have always thought BBQ is over priced.  His prices are not only fair, but I appreciate the fact that everything is priced in whole dollars, tax included.  No more pain in the ass change.  My plate with a drink set me back $8. Very nice.

The plate is served rather quickly on paper plates. The portions are reasonable, not overwhelming. The sides I chose were Mac and Cheese and BBQ Beans. The Mac and Cheese was as bland as I had ever tasted. A total waste of calories. The BBQ Beans were reasonable, and served nice to dip the single piece of “Wonder Bread” into.  Both the ribs and brisket had a charred edge, a nice start.  Now remember, this is called a “Smokehouse” I expected a great smoke ring and taste.  Nothing. No ring beneath the charred edges and certainly not much of a smoke flavor. The meat was pleasantly tender making for ease of consumption.  But the base taste was missing somehow.  I am not certain how it is prepared:  I certainly did not have the normal mesquite or other wood aroma when I walked in, so I guess I should have known. The sauce was vinegar based. Again, very bland. All told, it made for just a boring and less than optimum dining experience. I am not certain how this work, locals around here like this place and the lunch crowd  confirmed this.  For a Wednesday, they were very busy including a group of local High School students who 1) loved the beat the shit out of each other programming, and 2) quite expectedly launched one of their drinks all over three seats.  Oh well, I guess they pay as well.

The owner Tom runs around assuring you have everything needed and frequently attempts to up sell you as you eat. The counter help was this side of rude. Not what ole Tom had in mind.  Sadly, I give Tom’s Smokehouse of Bellmead Texas a 4 out 10.  Don’t bother if you find your self in the neighborhood.

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Low Budget Review Guy Has Gone BBQ Crazy!

On December 12, 2010, in Uncategorized, by admin

Peach Pit BBQ in Fredricksburg Texas

Peach Pit BBQ in Fredricksburg Texas

Editors Note:  Fredricksburg Texas is in the hill country of Texas.  It is a popular tourist destination stop for those familiar with Texas.  Fredricksburg is known for fresh peaches, German food, and bueatiful Texas Hill Country surroundings

Now from the Low Budget Review Guy:

Today’s review focuses on The Peach Pit BBQ in Fredericksburg, TX.  This first time visit marked a change of pace for eating choices in Fredericksburg, as usually we dine in one of the many German restaurants in this beautiful Texas Hill Country town.  The Peach Pit BBQ inhabits what appears to be an old stone building, like most of the businesses in town.  The décor is sparse, with a large flat screen on one wall, a giant stainless cooler in the middle of the floor and Formica tables and chairs.  The friendly young counter staff helped us with questions on the basic menu.  I ordered the two-meat plate with brisket, sausage and two sides, and my companion ordered the chopped brisket sandwich.  We were directed to the cooler to serve ourselves from the variety of sides, potato salad, coleslaw and next to that a hot-sides table with pinto beans, and a green-bean concoction.  We decided on the potato salad, beans and for something different, the green bean dish.  The food came out promptly.  The brisket was lean and tender, but the smoke ring that you expect from good BBQ was barely visible and only on the edges, where the char ring usually is.  This could have been from the particular part of the brisket it was cut from, but can also mean that the meat was not smoked long enough, or slow enough.   I expect more than that from a Texas BBQ place.  The sausage was lean, unusual in Texas BBQ and had an interesting spice that we couldn’t quite place.  However, the result was mostly bland.  The chopped beef was tender, the portion size large. The optional BBQ sauce, on the side, was tomato-based, and while serviceable, needed some work.  It  got some extra credit for being kept in a warming dish, so was kept very warm, which I found to be a good idea.  The sides were very good.  The potato salad, while not a yellow mustard based, like I prefer, was milder than that, but still good.  It was crunchy and flavorful.  The pinto beans were well seasoned.  The star of the day, however, was the green-bean dish.  It came in a yellow-brown sauce, almost like a stew or thick soup. There were onions and celery mixed in as well and had a tang that resonated. Unusual and quite good.

Overall score:  C+

The brisket was merely average, the sausage slightly below . The potato salad, and especially the green-been dish brought the score up from a “C”, but was not enough to bring the overall score up further.  While sides are important to the overall picture, the meat is what we are there for, and that was not the star.

The Barbecue Road leads onward….

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