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Best BBQ

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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Once again, Low Budget Review Guy is out and about in Texas

On a recent business trip my spouse and I headed to east Texas, the city of Nacogdoches.  Having never been there before I was looking forward to this visit.  A beautiful day greeted us as we headed out HWY 79 to Centerville where I-45 crosses it path.  We were not headed towards Dallasnor Galveston this trip but picked up Hwy 7 through the Davy Crocket Natl Forest.  As we headed continuously east, the changing soils became apparent with the appearance of towering pines trees mixed in with the stately Oaks, and Sycamores lining the road.  The National Forest’s myriadhiking trails and lakes beckoned but must wait for another time, perhaps on the way home.  Through the hilly town of Crocket, and finally, after just under 4 hours we arrived in Nacogdoches.   This city of 29,000+ is a hub for east Texas.  It bills itself as “the Oldest City in Texas”.    Archeological evidence seems to indicate human presence older than 9000 years.   The Spanish were in Nacogdoches before 1542 when DeSoto explored the area. However,  descriptions of the town date from Frenchman LaSalle  in 1685.  DeLeon, in 1690, made an effort to colonize.  When the French mapped out El Camino Real from the Rio Grande to Nacogdoches in 1713 and 1716, the Spanish decided to set up settlements in the area.   Don Antonio Gil Y’Barbo built the Old Stone House in 1779, and laid out what would become the city streets.  It became a center for timber, cotton, and later oil.  In 1861 the first oil well in Texas was here.

The city was a hotbed of Texas Independence and hosted such famous luminaries as Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, Thomas Rusk, William Travis.  The New Orleans Grays stopped on their way to the Alamo and legend.  The city actually had 9 different flags hoisted overhead at one time or another: France, Spain, Mexico, the Magee-Gutierrez Republic, The Long Republic, The FredoniaRepublic, The Lone Star, The Stars-and Bars of the Confederacy, and The US Flag.

Entering the city, we headed for our night’s lodging, to check in before exploring.  Our stay this visit was at the beautiful Fredonia Hotel, built in 1955.  The lobby was spacious and inviting, the light coming through the windows accented the grand piano in the corner.  Our corner room was very comfortable and relaxing.  The sports bar, at the opposite end of the lobby from the wine bar,  was a perfect place to either root on your favorite team, or enjoy a quiet glass of wine with friends.  The restaurant, J McKinneys, is well known as a delicious place for meals with an enticing menu for all tastes.  They advertize the best breakfast in town.  Just steps from the lobby, the pool area was surrounded by trees with a patio for outside relaxing.  A wide variety of live music is frequently heard on the patio, lit by Tiki torches and soft lighting.

But now it was time to explore lunch.  Always interested in BBQ, we got recommendations for several places, but settled on The Barbecue House.  (see my earlier posting for that separate review)  After lunch, we headed to the campus of Stephen F Austin University.  The beautiful campus of approx 12,000 students, was well-laid out, with lots of huge trees framing the buildings in green.  A visit to the recreated Old Stone Fort museum was worth the short time spent.  From there, it was out about 20+ miles on Hwy 21 to Caddo Mounds State Historical Site.  This site, while perhaps not appearing to be much more than some small distinct grassy hills, was fascinating once we learned the history behind the mounds from the visitors center.  The mounds all had different functions and were well over 1000 years old.  Some were burial mounds, others ceremonial mounds.  The area had been abandoned by the time “civilization” found them.  After a brisk walk around the area, we noticed the weather was turning colder, it was January after all.  Heading back the warmth of The Fredonia Hotel, we relaxed before our business meeting.

The next morning brought winter to Texas.  It was cold, raining, dark.  The forecast called for ice and snow later in the day.  Given the conditions, we packed the car and headed out.  Home-bound? Well, not yet. We still had things to see in town.  We drove around the historic city cemetery, whose oldest grave dates to 1837. We drove around the downtown square, with numerous historical markers.  We promised ourselves next visit we would take a walking tour of the area.  Many beautiful old homes lines the city streets, quiet for now, being early Sunday morning and the city hunkering down for the oncoming storm.  We drove to the Sterne-Hoya house, still closed, but felt history’s pull from the outside.  Also saw several ancient Caddo Mounds that were in the city proper, and drove past the Zion Hill Baptist Church, built approx 1879 and a state historic site.  Impressive.

However, time and Texas Winter storms wait for no one, so we headed west towards home.  The Davy Crocket Natl Forest would also have to wait for another day.  We stopped in Crockett for a break and some maintenance on our car tires, and stopped in Centerville, when I couldn’t resist “Country Cousins BBQ” (see earlier review).

Overall—a very nice first visit. Cool small town vibe, energetic but not hurried, with very friendly people.  The hotel was fabulous and we are looking forward to a schedule return trip in April.

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One again from our very own Low Budget Review Guy….eating his way across Texas once again.  He always comes up with interesting places that are easy on your billfold.

A recent trip to East Texas brought the opportunity to try some new BBQ places, always a treat.  The first stop was The Barbecue House inNacogdoches .  This large, stone building with a bright red facing, looked encouraging from a food standpoint.  Inside, we were directed to the traditional serving line where we ordered our meats, placed on paper plates on plastic cafeteria trays, then slid further down the gleaming line to the sides, where we could serve ourselves two choices  from the many options.  There was an interesting assortment of additions as well as the complementary white bread loaf.  There were individual packages of cheese, freshly made jalapenos stuffed with pimento cheese and several types of cobbler for desert.  We were a good sized group so we were able to try many sides and meats.  Upon ordering your meat choices, they were cut and placed on the plate.  A dry rub was then massaged into the order and then BBQ sauce was ladled on.  We were not given an option of rub or no rub, sauce or no sauce, but perhaps locals know what to expect so they can advise the servers beforehand.  The rub was quite good, the sauce a thin, vinegar based sauce, pale orange-almost yellow color, as most vinegar sauces are.  The overall mixture of the rub and sauce gave the flavor a spicy kick.  There was an ongoing debate as to which of the two was more responsible.

BBQ House

Barbecue House, Nacadoches Texas

The brisket was tender had a nice smoke ring, but not much charred edge.   The pork ribs were less tender but meaty and flavorful.  The sausage was bland, but not overly full of fat, like many are.  The sides were a mixed bag.  The mustard potato salad was just OK, mostly pureed potatoes.  It could use more mustard and seasoning.  And I prefer my “tater salad” to be chunky.  Perhaps they make it blander to offset the spiciness of the BBQ.  The beans were not traditional Texas Pinto beans, but more like the beans from Campbell’s Pork and Beans.  These were quite good, tasted as if slow cooked with molasses and brown sugar.  The best side dish was the coleslaw.  It was mayo based, but tasted as if it had just been made (and maybe it had been), fresh, crisp, delicious.  The best coleslaw we had tasted on the BBQ Road (so far).   The blackberry cobbler was warm, filling, a good choice.  The tea was a disappointment, commercial  and tasting as if it had been in the container for a while.

Overall, I give the BBQ House a “B”.   Meats were good, not great, earning points for the unusual flavors, losing points for not giving us the options of wanting the rub or sauce, and the sides ranged from OK to very good.  I would go back again.

Country Cousins BBQ in Centerville Texas

On our way back to central Texas, my companion spotted, “Country Cousins”  a small red building on the side of the road, just off I-45 and Hwy 7 in Centerville. On a cold, wet, raw winter’s day the place seemed to offer a warm inviting embrace of comfort food—BBQ.

Even though it was mid-morning and not even lunch time, there was already a line at the walk up counter on the wooden porch. A good sign.  While waiting,  I realized that this was a food trailer, like those that are popping up all over Texas, although this was wood not metal.  This trailer had been there long enough the owners had added the porch, some ground facing, and on the far side of the large parking area, a screened-in building that I realized had a large smoker and stacks of oak wood, getting seasoned and ready for cooking.  The aroma was enticing.  When my turn finally came, I ordered a sliced brisket sandwich and a small side order of potato salad.  The brisket was extremely tender, the tomato-based sauce warm and delicious, a perfect accompanist to the meat.  The potato salad was mostly pureed, with a few small chunks.  It was OK.   While we did not get the opportunity to sample their other options, so the grade is incomplete,  I rate Country Cousins an “A”.  It was the best sliced beef BBQ sandwich we have tried in years.  I look forward to my next trip, so I can try other items on the menu.

Now Thats A Brisket Sandwich

ED Note: This is part of a continuing feature on reddgranite.com on best BBQ joints in Texas. Each trip our Low Budget Review Guy, who normally writes about travel in Texas and other interesting items to do on a low cost basis, stops at BBQ joints rating them to standards we have set in our very own reviews. While there is a lot of debate on the best state that you can find the best BBQ, few can argue with Texas Best BBQ. Many of these are served in interesting locations throughout Texas.  In most cases, the small towns across the face of Texas offer consistently the Best Texas BBQ

Peace – ed.

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Low Budget Review Guy Eats BBQ?

On December 9, 2010, in Low Budget Review, by admin

Now here is a new one from the Low Budget Review Guy.  Many of you know on this web site that our LBR guy is an expert on travel reviews, rums of the worlds or regions, and a few other low cost items. But here, he offers us a review of the Texas Best BBQ….a link that I had embarked on earlier in my drives back from Central to North Texas. This review comes from his Low Budget Review on his trip to historic Texas.  All you Russians and Polish folk spamming this site, read carefully, you may learn something.  With out further ado, the Low Budget Review Guy on Texas Best BBQ

This lunch review took place last month in Cuero,Tx.  We were just passing through and stopped for a late lunch.  I love trying new places to eat, from the occasional high-dollar, to the dives, to the mom-and-pops’ places, especially BBQ.  Some of you may know that I have a few things in my life that I obsess over. Rum, football, and BBQ are three of my top 5. The other two are best discussed around a fire after a football game, eating BBQ and with a Rum-and-Something in my hand….While passing through Cuero on the main street of town, next to the railroad tracks was, “Barbecue Station”.  The building it was housed it looked as if it was 100 years old, and may have been.  The Texas memorabilia and bric-a-brac on the steps as we climbed them was not necessarily encouraging.  Some places use ambiance as the main course instead of the food.  The restaurant was bigger on the inside than it appeared.  It had long wood fence railings directing the incoming traffic to the ordering/serving line.  The menu was encouraging, written on some grease board were the daily specials and a brief non-nonsense description of the sandwiches, and plates.  Like many BBQ places you could order separately or order a two or three-meat plate that came with two sides and bread. My companion ordered the pulled pork sandwich (which is relatively unusual in beef-oriented Texas) and I ordered the 2-meat plate.  They offered a number of sides, including a rarity in BBQ spots, real baked potatoes.  However, as a somewhat traditionalist (more on that later) I asked for Potato Salad and Coleslaw.  My spouse ordered the beans.  I was offered (free) pickles and onions (yes to the pickles, no to the onions) and then was asked about BBQ sauce. (Ed Note: Good choice for this one on skipping the onions, if you know what I mean)

Now at this point I am going to digress a bit, and discuss one of my pet peeves about BBQ and some BBQ enthusiasts.    Over the many years I have lived in Texas, I have run across what I consider “BBQ Snobs”.  These folks are of the strictly “No BBQ Sauce” allowed cultists.  While I understand that the smoking of the meat, so the brisket is juicy, yet has that beautiful red smoke ring on the outside, with the crunchy char edges is damn near heaven on earth.  I understand that some folks think people should ” eat the meat, not the sauce”, and I applaud your choice, if that’s what you want to do.  Me? I like sauce, lots of it. All different kinds, from the Carolina-style vinager based, to the more tomato/molasses based.  But it ticks me off, when BBQ places/people state, “No sauce here—don’t even ask”.  I will generally not do business with them more than once.  Give me a choice.  And that’s what I applaud Barbecue Station for.  They asked, “you want sauce or not?” Imagines, actually asking the customer what he wants!  That way, both sides of the sauce/no sauce argument can get what they want.

Now I am off my small soapbox, back to the sides.  The brisket was tender but firm, great texture and flavor. Not the most tender I have ever found but very good.  The sausage had an interesting spice added that kept us guessing.  Good, but not great.  The pulled pork overflowed the warm bun and was covered with a vinegar-based sauce that was flavorful and very tender.  The mustard potato salad was fresh, crunchy, delicious.  The coleslaw was vinegar-based, and a little too stout for me. Not their strong suit.  The beans were wonderful, full of flavor (and sauce!), cooked just right.  Add a couple of slices of white bread right out of the bakery loaf, home-made Texas Sweet Tea, and friends, you’ve got some good eatin’.  Hard to get much more traditional Texas than that.

And that brings up another thought.  Like most people (Certainly Texans), I order iced tea just about every time I am out to eat. But as my spouse put it so accurately, the best sweet tea in the world is found in Texas BBQ places.  I don’t know why or how, but it is true.  If you set out 10 glasses of sweet tea, with 5 from BBQ joints and 5 from restaurants up and down the spectrum, I bet I could name 4 of the 5 from the BBQ places.  And those would be the ones I would drink.  They do it well, people.  No brag, just fact.

In summary,  Barbecue Station gets a very good grade—an A.    I would go back again next time we are in the area, and try some of their other sides.

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Low Budget Review – More Best Texas BBQ

On September 25, 2010, in Low Budget Review, by admin

The Friday lunch quests continues of reviewing Texas best BBQ joints through out North Texas.  Today’s stop takes us to the tiny town of Abbott, Texas. The population sign says 300….some around here would better know this place as the birth place of old and wacky weed singer, Willie Nelson. (He know resides in Briarcliff, Texas). This little town is on Interstate 35, and overcrowded line connecting San Antonio, Austin, Waco and DFW. To this effect, there is a lot of traffic passing by.

Another of Texas Best BBQ

Up In Smoke, Abbott Texas

Up In Smoke is another of these joints with countless billboards leading to the location. This location took over a long time standing favorite on I-35, the Turkey Shop…which had been in business since I first came to Texas in the mid 70’s.  Up In Smoke has been at this location for a few years now. They did a fine job of decorating the restaurant in a Texas theme, that is not overdone. The joint is a BBQ restaurant, with a separately branded desert place inside called Sugar Babies.  You can see separate billboards for this, so not sure if they sublease space or part of the BBQ ownership.  Despite the name confusing that with a strip joint, Sugar Babies serves pies and other sweets to finish your BBQ dinner. Up In Smoke has a serving line, like most BBQ joints where you place your order and get your sides cafeteria style. Today I ordered brisket and ribs. Now it always pisses me off when the BBQ joints feel the need to weigh the meat in front of the customer. Up In Smoke does this, so my attitude started out rough about this joint. Maybe one or two less billboards, and you will not feel the need to weigh the meat (which smacks of cost control).  There were plenty of sides to choose. Cold salads included slaw, potato, and an interesting pea salad. Warm sides included several fried options: okra and something I got which I did not know what it was, but it was really good. Nice reviewer, eh? I also had the green pea salad, which was good as well.

The star of the meat was the ribs.  Fall of the bone meat with a decent smokey taste.  Not much else to say but that this was one of the better ribs I have tasted. Brisket? Not so much. For a BBQ  joint named Up In Smoke, it was ironic that the smoke flavor was largely missing. The ring was weak. I could barely detect the smoke of Mesquite wood. Now the cut was nice, and reasonably cooked to tenderness. So this part was good. As many of you know from prior reviews, this has been an issue at some of the joints. The total cost for this outing was $11.73. This included a medium drink. The pricing is fairly standard for BBQ joints.

Overall, I liked this place.  I give it 8 out of 10 boots. I may not be back, however, since most of the time, I drive the back roads home on Fridays…and it was all I could do to take I-35 home today just to review this BBQ joint.

Eat on.


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Low Budget Review BBQ Tour Continues

On September 23, 2010, in Low Budget Review, by admin

Texas Best BBQ Ride Continues

Dixie's Little Stop in Little Mt Calm Texas

Our Texas best BBQ trail continues.  Today, it brings us to the small little hamlet of Mt. Calm, Texas.  Population is less than 400. Along the rather busy state highwy that runs through this village is Dixie’s Little Stop. Now, I know what your thinking. What does the “Fried Pies” have to do with Texas best BBQ?  Turns out, very little.  But being a Damn Yankee, I had to stop to learn. What the hell is a “fried pie” and why is Dixie famous for them?  Oh yeah, I had BBQ as well. More on that later. Well my northern and Russian spamming friends, (I have taught you Russians a shit load about Texas, USA so far…so stay with me….I can stand the spamming, I just wipe you out) a fried pie is little more than a dough covered fruit pie. Think McDonald’s, Whataburger (local chain for you Russians), etc.  These are much better however, and I had to get one for desert.  People were coming into the joint purchasing these things by the dozen.  With a calorie count no less than 500, that is easily a 6000 calorie purchase. No wonder we have so many Texas in electric chairs who need them not…they all go to Dixie’s and order a dozen pies. Now they had interesting flavors.  All the fruits you can imagine, plus, pecan pie, chocolate, date, you name it.  So there is your other big challenge, go in there and order up one of everything.  There was at least 8 different flavors. Yes, they were 500 Calorie plus good.

Now the BBQ, well, remember, this is not a BBQ place really. They are more of a home cooking type restaurant offering a menu of just about everything from Mexican food to grits. Probably a little too much offering to excel at anything, really. My attempt at BBQ, to rate the best BBQ as I try to do in these posts, was met with BBQ my mother used to make in the crock pot.  OK. Literally. That is where they served the chopped BBQ from.  Bottom line, this is a chopped beef sandwich, doused in likely store bought BBQ sauce, and slow cooked in a crock pot.  So there is no smoking here.  This really is not BBQ. It was pleasant tasting enough, but not what I am on a mission from God to find.

So for the Texas Best BBQ review, I give it a boot count of, well, N/A.  I cannot rate BBQ that is not meant to be BBQ. On the pies, I give it 7 boots. These are worth trying. Oh yeah, in the 30 minutes I sat there, about 15 customers came in. I was the only one sitting and eating, the others, came in to buy pies.

The quest continues….

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Best BBQ: More Central Texas Travels

On September 13, 2010, in Travel, Uncategorized, by admin

Continuing our series on Texas Best BBQ, last Friday’s lunch stop in Central Texas took us to Corsicana, Texas.  Corsicana is a city of about 25,000 in Central/North Texas.  Along I-45, 2/3 the way from Houston to Dallas, Corsicana is a stop for many travelers making the 245 mile trip. Our stop ended at Clyde’s BBQ:

Clydes BBQ, Corsicana, Texas

When it comes to Texas best BBQ, many times a minimalist attitude is king.  Many of the best joints are holes-in-the-wall. Clyde’s BBQ in Corsicana, Texas fits the bill. As you can see from the pic above, it almost looks as if it was converted from a double wide.  Inside, a sparse, but functional interior compliments this minimalist approach to best BBQ. There are about 6 tables to enjoy your lunch for those who wish to eat in.  Plates are not served here.  It is all to go containers, even if you eat in.  The menu is limited. Again, very minimalist. Ribs, Brisket, and links are the only offerings.  Same for the sides.  Baked and Ranch Style Beans, Slaw, and Potato Salad.  I stuck with my review menu (for this site at least) and had sliced Brisket with Ranch Style Beans and Potato Salad.

The Brisket was prepared wonderfully. Very, very tender, which tells me they take the time to slow cook as Brisket should.  The smoke ring was not real defined: interesting, with the fact that it tasted great and Mesquite smokey.  But the ring was not nearly as defined as it should be. The sauce was another interesting point. There really was not a BBQ sauce to speak of.  It seems as if it was marinaded or cooked in this sauce-type au jois. I personally loved the approach.  It was superbly tastey, without drowning the brisket in ancillary sauce. There are those hard cores which would tell you this is closer to what BBQ should be.  Too many confuse BBQ with sauce….but it really is the Brisket and the process of cooking/smoking the meat. The serving of Brisket was overly healthy in portions. Good thing, I may have had to purchase seconds if it was not as large of a serving.

The sides were mixed.  The Ranch Style Beans were OK. Not sure if they were store bought or not, they could have been. The potato salad, however, was a different story. Clearly home it was home made. A different tasting mustard style potato salad which was nearly the consistency of mashed potatoes. Very tasty. As I devoured my late lunch, one of the family brought in two huge buckets of the potato salad, confirming that it was home made, likely by a family member.  This is no corporate resturaunt operation, but a true minimalist BBQ operation that can stand with most.  Again, if you want the sauce, go elsewhere. But for more true BBQ lovers, this does qualify as one of Texas Best BBQ.

There were not many guest on this Friday. This is unfortunate.  They are just 1/10 of a mile beyond all of the fast food joints on HWY 31 off of I-45. With just a little knowledge of this place (read hwy billboard), I am certain many would bypass the fast food hell and end up at Clyde’s.  And the price, oh yeah, about 20% less than most BBQ joints (which are all over priced).

So try them out if you are ever in this area. I give Clyde’s bBQ, Corsicana, Texas a total of 8 out of 10 boots…..(I really need to find a boot icon for this portion of the post)

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Update: Gene’s BBQ Pit Stop

On August 14, 2010, in Travel, Uncategorized, by admin

So a quick update as promised to follow up our post two weeks ago about this family fun BBQ joint in Hubbard, Texas.  Recall that I really liked the place….but felt I needed to do a follow up since I only ordered a sandwich there. This time we order the two meat plate with two sides, called the Big Boy.  The price of this is $8.75 and includes your drink…so a very good deal as far as Texas BBQ pricing goes. Recall that I spoke that the sandwich was near perfection, but that they need to slow the smoking a little to make the meat more cut with fork tender.

This past stop was consistent with the first.  The brisket was a bit more tender, and getting close to the  acceptable range.  Again, great smoking and taste.  A perfect ring on the meat.  So this was a good step in the right direction in improving what was a great experience the first time. The ribs were needing a bit of the same slowing of the smoking process.  Do not get me wrong, very tasty, but just a bit too rushed in the smoking process leaving a bit more tough of a rib than I would like to see.

The sides are the laggers here.  There is a limited choice of  beans, slaw, fries, and potato salad.  I chose the potato salad and beans.  Both seemed to be store bought retreads and not very tasty. Generally a waist of calories.  So next time I will stick to the sandwich.

This weeks visit dropped the overall boot total to 7 out of 10. Stick to the meats and you will be happy.

Of course, I now need to find another to try in my back road Texas travels. I have a few on the radar and we will give them a whirl in a few weeks.


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Now Thats What I’m Talking About

On August 7, 2010, in Travel, by admin

In our second installment of Friday lunches where I stop at a BBQ joint somewhere on my way back from a week of work. Again, this is not necessarily about the best BBQ, or Texas best BBQ, but, rather, about stopping at a few off the beaten path joints and reviewing them. Fridays took us to a place in Hubbard, Texas called Gene’s Pit BBQ. I had seen this place on my travels on the back roads to Dallas. More appropriately, I have smelled it.  True best BBQ aroma resonates well beyond the establishment, and this one did.  So I had to stop.  Today, however, I just ordered a brisket sandwich instead of the plate with sides.  They offered them, mind you, but the menu is on a white board, and unlike other best bbq joints, they do not have the sides sitting in bins under heat lights.

The brisket was smoked to perfection. A beautiful ring around the outside.  Great Mesquite smoke flavor.  Now when you order a sandwich from Gene’s, it comes one way.  All the fixins on it. So pickles, onions and sauce are just put on.  They do not ask you for your choice.  The onions, I swear, were sautéed before putting on the sandwich.  Normally, the onions are place on there raw, creating a good pungent onion flavor that sticks with you for three days afterword.  But to sauté them?  Man. The sauce, onion, and pickles just melted into the bun as one big taste orgasm. The sandwich was stuffed so full, really, you need a fork to eat it. The brisket was of superior quality. Now for you health nuts, be aware, Gene’s does not trim the brisket to slice it onto the sandwich, so it had the requisite 1/4 inch of fat on one side of many of the slices.  Most joints trim this away, but not Gene’s.

The one area of issue was once again the amount of cooking time.  The brisket was a bit tough overall. With such a good cut of meat, the issue here is cooking it long enough at a an extremely controlled temperature. Tough for a bbq resturaunt to do. So Gene, again, like the last review, leave that brisket on for another hour or so, and you will have struck perfection.

This place warrants another stop.  This time, I will order a plate with the two sides. Not sure what my choices are, but I will figure it out. The eating area is very, well, cute, as most girls will offer. It was decorated with old time artifacts. I was the only person in there at this time. Most of their traffic during the day comes from people driving hwy 31 and stopping like I did. The total for the sandwich and a Diet Dr Pepper was $4.60. The one meat plate went for $7.75.  These are extremely reasonable prices for BBQ joints.

I will be back for follow up.  I give them 7 out of 10 total boots. The  only issue was meat tenderness.  I expect a lot in this catagory. If they get up a bit earlier next time I come through on a Friday, and they have cooked longer, look for the above score to greatly improve.  Assuming their sides are as good as the best BBQ


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