Monday, February 28, 2011

Luckie's Smokehouse

DALLAS: Luckie's Smokehouse
1300 W. Davis St.

Dallas, TX 75208


Open ?

Update: This joint is CLOSED, and will reopen as OC Smokehouse.

2011: After a very disappointing trip to their original location, I was interested to see what these guys could do in a new Oak Cliff location. They gave out some pretty impressive samples at this past summer's Oak Cliff BBQ competition, and I'd been keeping an eye on their progress over the past few months. The place now looks great with a huge covered patio, a large bar area and a big dining room complete with mural. The menu is much wider than BBQ, and includes burgers, salads and the like. One curious menu limitation is that you cannot get ribs on a combo plate. They are only offered as a full or half rack plate. When I asked if they could charge me a few bucks more to add ribs to a combo plate with brisket, I was told they'd make an exception but they didn't want anyone to overhear because "Everyone is asking for it". Hey guys, if all of your customers are asking for something you can easily provide, put it on the menu.

The plate comes with a crunchy, lightly dressed slaw and two sides of your choosing. My server suggested the soupy and overly rich creamed spinach, and I chose a bowl of the too-sweet baked beans. There was a healthy portion of sliced beef and two very large spare ribs on the plate. Three sauce options were provided on the side, and the ribs needed the additional flavor. The meat was mushy from being overcooked, and any crust that may have formed was eliminated in the warmer. The meat had decent seasoning, but lacked smokiness. They weren't really worth the menu hassles. Brisket was a pretty good version of roast beef. They had a nice mix of lean and fatty beef, but most of the bark had been trimmed away on all of them. The meat that remained needed more seasoning and more smoke. Sadly, none of the three sauces (sweet, spicy and vinegary) complimented the brisket slices very well. At least they all went nicely with the buttery Texas toast.

Rating **
Luckie's Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oak Cliff Barbeque

DALLAS: Oak Cliff Barbeque
842 East Jefferson Blvd.

Dallas, TX 75203

Open Daily 10-10

Update: This joint is CLOSED. I heard from the owner of Oak Cliff Barbecue that the owner of Bair's did not renew the lease for OCB and are now smoking their own meat. OCB is now looking for a new location.

2011: A few years ago when driving by the corner of Eighth and Jefferson in Oak Cliff there was a tiny burger joint with a sign proclaiming "Best Burgers on Eighth and Jefferson". With so many places claiming to have the best this or that in Texas or even the world, it was refreshing to see the humble humor in that sign. Unfortunately, they went out of business and were replaced by Bair's Diner serving pizza, burgers and nachos. I no longer took note of that location until a reader told me they were selling BBQ at that same corner. Driving again by Bair's Diner I saw no mention of BBQ, so I confirmed the location with the reader, and made my way back to Oak Cliff for lunch where I found an offset smoker in the parking lot puffing away. Once inside, you can choose a table or head straight for the BBQ counter on the left to see the day's offerings on display.

I chose a combo plate of brisket and ribs which came in at an even $10. Back in the car I could smell the smoke as I opened the box. Glistening thick slices of tender brisket were well seasoned and flavorful. The meat had been kept on the warmer making it a bit too tender, but the nicely rendered lines of fat held those slices together well. Nothing was going to keep the rib meat on those bones. I couldn't even pick up the overcooked ribs by the bones, and had to resort to pinching and stuffing morsels of the meat into my pie-hole. The meat was still moist and well seasoned, but could have used some of the pecan smoke that made its way into the brisket. A dunk in the sauce brightened the rib meat right up, and together they would have made a great sandwich. Sides that were literally scooped right out of the half gallon supermarket tubs could use some work, but they have something going with the smoked meat. Now if they could just get up a sign that says BBQ, folks might believe me when I tell them they can get some decent brisket from this joint. They have the best you can find at Eighth and Jefferson.

Rating ***
Bair's In and Out Diner on Urbanspoon

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Meat Juice Drippage

About a month ago I sat down with Rachel Stone of Advocate Magazine at Mac's BBQ to talk, well, barbecue. She wrote a quick account for the meal shortly after, and I knew a full story would be coming out soon in the print version. Today that new story went up on the Advocate website along with a video of me eating at the new Lockhart Smokehouse in Dallas. I was as uncomfortable having it filmed, as my wife is watching it. Enjoy.

The review of that trip will be up tomorrow.

- BBQ Snob

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wilson's Bar-B-Q

FORT WORTH: Wilson's Bar-B-Q
6513 Brentwood Stair Rd

Fort Worth, TX 76112


Open M-Thur 11-10, F-Sat 11-Midnight

Wilson's has traded their meager digs on the west side of Fort Worth for another humble location at the 820/30 interchange on the east side of town. Driving around back to access the drive-thru, I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the smoker, but nothing was in sight. Pulling around to the window I was almost embarrassed for them to ask if they smoked off site, but the man working the window stepped back and pointed to a J&R Manufacturing Little Red Smokehouse sitting in the tiny kitchen. He also mentioned they smoke with pure mesquite, a rarity in the DFW area. I was now too excited to ride all the way without sampling a few bites.

Both meats were intensely smoky. Luckily, they lacked the creosote flavor that can find its way into the surface of the meat when mesquite is being used, so the smokiness didn't overwhelm, but it was certainly unmistakable that this meat had been smoked with all wood. Ribs had a great bark and plenty of bold seasoning, but the meat was bit tough with some unrendered fat. The pork didn't really shine beneath the heavy sauce, but the smoke made itself apparent. Better were the flat cuts of brisket that had a heavy bark and a very thick smokering. The meat was plenty tender and moist, and had a pleasing overall flavor. I'm now curious what they can do with a the fatty end of that brisket.

Rating ***
Wilson’s Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Meat Soap

Update: If the Meat Soap project is to survive, we need some pledges. Please go to our Kickstarter page and pledge so you can receive some porcine bars of meat fat goodness. We have only two days to raise the remaining half of our goal before we can produce some of those sweet smelling bars. Help.

1/26/10: What is Meat Soap? We'll get into that in more detail below, but for now I want to beg a bit. A group of friends and I are involved in a side project only peripherally related to BBQ. We've been spending hours in the kitchen melting various fats to make natural soaps with an alluring natural scent (yeah, it smells like meat fat). Now that we know we can make this stuff, we need help raising money to complete the project. We've started a page on Kickstarter so you can make a pledge, and receive some meat soap (among other items) in return. If you like the project, and want to be a part of it, we'd love to get your financial assistance.

I received the first bar of Meat Soap (above) as a Christmas gift, and the idea to expand the product line was in the works about fifteen minutes later. The initial bar was made of bacon grease (and yes, that's a hunk of cooked bacon in there), but there are so many other fats we want to work with.

When you wash your hands with the soap, your hands actually smell like soap no matter how potent the smell from that bar of meat fat.

We cooked up a mess of meats, including the beef bacon above, and mixed it with a glycerin soap base. Six types of fat and several hours later, we had ourselves a product line.

Now we need to take it to the next level and create some molds and get a bunch more fat. I hope you can help.

If you want to keep up with our progress, then check out @meat_soap on twitter, or join our Facebook page.

- BBQ Snob

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Sausage Shoppe

FORT WORTH: The Sausage Shoppe
1302 E Seminary Dr

Fort Worth, TX 76115

Open M-Sat 10-8

Great service; cash only; questionable neighborhood; East Texas style. Many phrases can be used to describe the Sausage Shoppe, but the one that matters is sausage emporium. Alright, maybe emporium is going a bit far, but they normally have three versions of their homemade sausage on the menu, and sometimes have 2 or more other versions for sale. All beef, all pork and a 50/50 mix are the standard offerings, and they come in one pound links (no half links available). They were also nice enough to wait until I was through with my meal before packing up the to-go sausage order.

My daughter and I shared a rib sandwich and a brisket sandwich. Both came between two slices of white bread and were covered in sauce. They both needed some extra time on the smoker to gain tenderness and render out the chewy fat. The smoky flavor was there, and the meats had a pleasing flavor, but they relied on that saucy flavor boost.

I didn't get a bite of the sausage until I got home. It was worth the wait. The meat had a medium grind with great snap to the casing. These links were moist, smokey and had just enough spice. While I ordered one all pork and one 50/50 link, I'm pretty certain that I got two 50/50 links. Two other friends couldn't tell the difference either. That'll just give me an excuse to get back there to try the other options.

While they seem to pay less attention to the ribs and brisket, it is called the Sausage Shoppe after all. The reason for the high rating is simply because their specialty is so good. I would certainly go out of my way to get a few more links.

Rating ***
The Sausage Shoppe on Urbanspoon

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Eva's House of BBQ

DALLAS: Eva's House of BBQ
2320 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Dallas, TX 75215
Open M-Sat 6:30-9, Sun 11-7

Update: After dropping by Rap's BBQ for lunch and finding them closed for good, I made my way over to MLK and 175 to grab some lunch at Eva's. While the menu is full of BBQ sandwiches, I also noticed the "ET links" written in sloppy marker. These are East Texas links, and I was shocked at how cheap they were at $2 for a half dozen, that is until I opened the container to find six little loosely packed sausage nuggets. The meat was very finely ground and mushy with off flavors from gobs of filler, and the casing was downright chewy. Luckily, I ordered a couple of sandwiches. I learned from the cashier that those links came from 'The Packing House'. There's a small store at MLK and Malcolm X just down the street called the Packing House Market.

The sandwich photo didn't come out well, but they were much more enjoyable than the links. In true East Texas style, big spare ribs are chopped and covered in a spicy sauce, and beef is chopped, piled high and also covered. In this case the sauce works perfectly with the meat. Ribs had tender meat which allowed me to gnaw the bones clean. Chopped beef was a bit smokier thanks to the generous amounts of crust mixed in with the perfectly moist meat. This would be my order on my return visit. I'll just make sure to spend at least $6 to meet the credit card minimum, which is strictly enforced. There'd be nothing better to put me over the limit than another thick slice of the excellent homemade lemon cake.

Rating **

2009: I headed over to Eva's at 175 and MLK for lunch to meet with Scott from and talk BBQ. Business was mostly take-out, but several booths and tables are available if you want to enjoy the smoky air. We ordered ribs, brisket and hot links. Everything arrived in styrofoam containers covered in their tangy and smoky sauce.

The brisket slices could not be separated from the sauce, but the tender meat worked well with the sauce even if the smokiness was lacking. Alongside came an appropriately sweetened side of yams and a great version of greens that included large chunks of brisket.

The medium grind of the tame hot links also melded with the generous sauce. The casing had good snap, but the smokiness here was also lacking.

The best option here are the ribs. Rib tips and whole ribs were mixed together with another healthy helping of sauce, but this meat was tender, moist and smoky with well rendered fat. It was the only meat of the three that we finished there at the table. Keep in mind that most orders will provide you with more than a meal's worth unless you arrive famished. The staff here is more than generous with their food, their hospitality, and of course, their sauce.

Rating **
Eva's House of BBQ on Urbanspoon

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Brother Man's BBQ

DALLAS: Brother Man's BBQ
3121 S Loop 12

Dallas, TX 75216

Open Daily 10-8

The only thing that remains from the original location of Brother Man's is the sign hanging on their new building along Loop 12 just west of I-45. The original building was demolished for an unknown development probably related to the new DART line. I was happy to see that they found new digs, so I dropped in a for a meaty combo.

The interior was much brighter, and the service was more welcoming than my previous visit. I love a place that has a combo plates on their menu that don't include sides. It allows me to focus on the meat. What hinders that focus is the sauce. When I heard the pitmaster ask the guy behind me if he wanted sauce or not on his plate, I assumed it was commonplace for them to put sauce on the side for a to-go order. Wrong. I opened the foil to find drowned meat, but luckily the sauce was pretty good. Brisket was tender, but light on smoke. The meat went well with the sauce, but used it more as a crutch than a compliment. Ribs were meaty with well rendered fat. They had more smoke than the beef, and were more enjoyable overall. These would be my choice on a return visit, with some sauce on the side to dip them in.

Rating **
Brother Man's BBQ on Urbanspoon

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Woody B's BBQ‏


1980 Nantucket Dr

Richardson, TX 75080


Open T-Sat 11-7

Woody B's is a new venture in Richardson from Woody Berry, an experienced caterer. Rather than abandon a successful business to try and lure diners to a sit-down place, with all the risk and debt that entails, Mr. Berry has tried to find a middle-ground between caterer and restauranteur. Woody B's is take-out only, but that doesn't quite tell the tale. I walked in just after noon on a Saturday to find a front room that consists of a register and two glass-fronted reach ins. One a cooler, one a freezer. I may be the minor hand here at FCG-BBQ, but I'm willing to bet the BBQ Snob hasn't needed a colander in the quest for 'que. Everything is pre-packaged and the meats come shrink wrapped in boil-in bags. I'm not sure if this is a novel approach, but it is my first encounter.

Mr. Berry was tending the register, introduced himself immediately and ran me through the available options. He uses an Oyler pit nicknamed "The Beast". It is enshrined on one wall by way of a mural. The setup uses the small storefront to maximum efficiency and allows catering to continue without conflicting with the more fickle demands of a regular dining location. One drawback to the customer is that portion sizes are decided for you. This was a meal for two, so almost two pounds of brisket was all I could handle home without knowing how successful the boiling process might turn out. I did take some cole slaw for roughage. Fresh made cookies from the misses are also on offer. Meat came home, pot went on cooktop and 20 minutes later, dinner had arrived. It was certainly simple. The additional time at home does appear to do a better job of retaining true BBQ flavor than the ubiquitous warmed foil tray.

I got a distinct smoke bouquet when cutting the bag open. No sauce was applied and the meat was fairly dry, so removing it from the bag just took a couple brisk tugs. Once plated, it looked the part. Deep dark crust, solid smoke line. There were pieces from two parts of the cut, upper thick flat (?) and narrower mid-point perhaps. The point slices were losing integrity but had excellent flavor. The crustiest parts of the flat were terrific. The broadest pieces took a little more aggressive tug to get through than is ideal and, predictably, had the least concentrated flavor. All was cooked to a reassuring standard. The accompanying sauce was thick and sweet with a modestly tangy finish. I would have to imagine blackstrap mollasses is one of the sweeteners. The slaw was a broad cut, lightly dressed and refreshing.

Overall, the brisket is a three star effort. I'll have to hold off on a rating for the whole operation until I've had a chance to sample the babybacks. If the boil-in-bag process looks good to you, I think their product can easily outshine the take-out options of the area's old standbys.

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Fat Cow BBQ

850 Valley Ridge Boulevard
Lewisville, TX 75077
Open M-Sat 11-8

Shredded meats piled high on a steam table inside a generic strip center isn't what I hope to find when seeking out a new BBQ joint, but the Fat Cow taught me to keep my mind open. Sliced brisket wasn't an option, and ribs were not available that day, so I went for a three meat plate of pulled pork, pulled chicken and chopped beef. I added a stuffed jalapeno called a 'fat jap' (their words, not mine) to my order for $2.

Sides of bacon flecked green beans and creamy mac & cheese were a good start, but the bacon wrapped smoked jalapeno filled with creamy cheese was a perfect appetizer. Dipped in the house made ranch, it was even better. While the pulled, mostly white meat chicken was dry with little flavor, the pulled pork was great by the forkful. Smokey, moist and well seasoned pork was truly 'pulled' into shreds that had just enough crispy edges. Chopped beef was also very nicely seasoned with a great smoky flavor. The tasty meat was moistened with just enough fat and had good crusty bits mixed in. Maybe I was just lucky and got fresh meat that hadn't been steamed to oblivion, but Fat Cow definitely put out some good smoked meat on this day.

Rating ***
Fat Cow BBQ on Urbanspoon

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tollie's Barbecue

ARLINGTON: Tollie's Barbecue
6407 S Cooper St Ste 101

Arlington, TX 76001


Open M-Sat 11-9, Sun 11-7

Update: This joint is CLOSED.

2011: Much has changed at Tollie's since my previous visit. Servers now take your order at the tables, they're open at 11:00 everyday, and they offer ribs on their combo plates. What hasn't changed are the tasty sides and the mediocre quality of their BBQ.

The smokey sweet beans and house made potato chips got things off to a good start, but a few bites of the tough, dry brisket made me forget how good those chips were. While not as comically rubbery as my first visit, this beef was chewy with white flecks of poorly rendered fat. The dry rubbed 'Memphis' ribs were now available in addition to the glazed baby back 'Kansas City' ribs. I previously enjoyed the KC ribs, but these Memphis style ribs weren't as pleasing. They were thick with meat and well seasoned, but these bones needed more time on the smoker to tenderize and render out some of those thick lines of fat. I enjoyed the meat that I was able to peel away from the fat, but good ribs don't require so much work.

Rating **

2010: It was Sunday morning, and I was planning to meet Bud Kennedy to chew some fat, and eat some BBQ. Tollie's had just opened to some not-so-glowing reviews, and he suggested we meet at 1:00. I arrived a little early thinking I could peruse the menu and design our feast. Walking up to the door at 12:45, I yanked on the glass door, and it didn't budge. I later learned that Bud suggested that time because he knew they didn't open until 1:00 on Sunday. So I sat in my car watching car load after car load of families walk up, try the door, and leave for other options. They've since changed the opening hour to noon, so the Catholics will still have to grab a pre-lunch drink at Habanero's next door, but the Protestants will be right on time.

When they finally opened the doors we filed into line which forms right next to an opening in the wall that highlights a custom smoker. The menu is a confusing mish-mash of clever names with little to do with the item being served. Combo plates are mind-numbing. Instead of the simple action of choosing two meats, you must choose from their four set options. Brisket and ribs is your thing? Too bad. How about chicken and sausage? You'll have to pair that sausage with another poultry as turkey is the only combo choice. One item that did catch my eye was beef ribs as well as two kinds of pork ribs. Beef ribs weren't ready yet, so we ordered both kinds of pork ribs. One was a Memphis style dry rub baby-back, while the other was a glazed St. Louis rib called Kansas City style. When glazed St. Louis ribs showed up on both orders, we asked which was which, and the hapless help tried to convince us that one was dry rub until the owner came by to say that baby-backs weren't out of the smoker yet. Tollie, you've had all morning and then some to get those ribs done.

At least the ribs were good. They had great texture that required a little tug to get off the bone. The rub and glaze worked in harmony, and were not overpowering. They even had decent smoke and nicely rendered fat. Hopes were ascending, then taken down a notch by average sausage with ho-hum spices. Pulled pork kept things on an even keel with good flavor, but little smoke. It was best dipped in the sauce which was thankfully on the side.

Maybe the brisket could atone for the previous sins? Not a chance. I had to let out a chuckle as I attempted to pull a slice in half with my fingers. It wasn't budging. I needed more leverage, so with both hands on one end, and the other end in my clenched jaw, I finally released a bite's worth of meat that I could chew on for a while. Bud didn't even bother going that far. The sad part was that I could really taste the smoke and rub, but this would be the first time I've found a brisket that isn't just figuratively inedible.

If they can overcome their atrocious excuse for sliced brisket, their poorly trained staff, and their propensity for not having their whole menu ready at opening, then they might just be a decent option for 'cue, but I'll to give them another shot before I tell y'all to make a special trip to middle of nowhere southwest Arlington.

Tollie's Barbecue on Urbanspoon

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Kreuz Market

LOCKHART: Kreuz Market
619 N. Colorado St. (Hwy 183)
Lockhart, TX 78644
Open M-Sat 10:30-8

Update: Two years ago, I took a road trip with two friends and stopped at 10 joints in a single day. Our final stop was Kreuz, and it did not disappoint. I was hoping to strike gold on this trip where Kreuz was again the tenth stop on a epic day of BBQ'ing. Roy Perez is the pitmaster here, and he was tending a tasty pit on this day.

We opted for a link, an end cut pork chop, and a thick slice of clod. The all beef link was juicy and robust. It had a great snap and plenty of spice. I prefer a link with a little pork in it, but this was great example of the all beef variety. The clod was rich and smoky. The perfectly tender meat was surrounded by a thick black crust and a great smokering just beneath it. It very well may be the best slice of clod I've ever eaten. The thick pork chop wasn't far down the ladder. Intensely flavorful and supple meat was enveloped by a thin line of perfectly rendered fat which gushed with salty flavor. I don't think there could have been a better ending to such a long day of eating, and I sat amazed as we finished every speck of meat despite our very full stomachs. It was a real testament to the quality of the meat, and to Roy's skill as the quintessential pitmaster.

Rating *****

2009: On two previous trips to Lockhart, Kreuz was solid, but it has never been other-worldly. I assumed this trip would be no different, but it turned out to be one of my best BBQ experiences. I've eaten mounds of BBQ in my time, but this day was different. Two companions and I had eaten at nine joints on a Saturday. We started early, so by 4:30 we were in our hotel room in Lockhart discussing the following day's line-up of Smitty's and Black's. A friend lamented that he wouldn't be able to try Kreuz, so it hit me that I'd never done 10 BBQ joints in one day, and Kreuz would make it an even 10. As we walked through the front doors, I couldn't imagine that another bite of meat would taste good, but that seductive smell began to change my mind as I gazed into the firelight of the smokers.

I bellied up to the counter to order. Just like Smitty's down the street, this joint offers both fatty brisket and shoulder clod which they refer to as "lean beef". Both were included in my pile 'o protein along with a spare rib and a pork chop.

We then commenced gorging with grease running down to our elbows. The lean brisket was phenomenal. It was moist, perfectly tender with a deep smokiness and robust flavor from the salty rub. The fatty brisket didn't fare as well. The flavor was fine, but it was simply too fatty for me to order it again. Spare ribs were a bit tough, but the deep smoke line and salt and pepper rub melded together to create some fine tasting pork. The pork chop was the biggest surprise. This lean meat can sometimes get dried out, but this slice was perfectly moist, tender and smoky. The salty rub was evident in nearly every delicious bite, and I picked the bone clean.

As I was leaving, I noticed that most of the customers had been taken care of, and Roy Perez, the semi-famous pit boss, was sharpening his knives. I walked over to ask for a picture, and he gladly obliged.

I was surprised when he handed me his newly sharpened knife to try some carving on my own. It was the perfect ending to a great eating experience, and a ground-breaking day.

2008: This is new building, but it comes with much history. You can read about this incredible family feud here. Walking into the smoke house, you'd guess this place has been around for ages. Between the well blackened tall ceiling and the smoke, you'd guess there was just a black hole above you. Ordering here is much like at a butcher shop. Decsribe the meat, and how much you want of it, and it's loaded onto a scale for pricing. They've starting selling some classic BBQ side items in the attached dining room, but the best accompaniments are the traditional crackers, cheese and pickles. No sauce is available here.

They are generous with their cuts here, but then you pay by the pound. We sampled both the fatty and lean briskets. The lean brisket was still heavy on the fat, but it was well rendered and smoky while the fatty brisket was simply carrying too much extra blubber to be enjoyable without a trim. A nice black crust held far too much salt on both cuts. The ribs were large, meaty and well cooked with nicely rendered fat. The crust was also salty, and the smoke could have permeated more of the meat.

In addition to the usual, we also sampled a pork chop which was dry, but the most evenly seasoned piece of meat of the day. They are known for their prime rib, but at $17.90/lb. this salty, slightly dry meat was not vastly superior to the cuts running sub $10/lb. The sausage here was fatty but with a good snap and a coarse grind...quite good.

Another note about the eating style in this portion of Central Texas is that your plate is a sheet of butcher paper, and your only utensil is a plastic knife. Eating with our bare hands became second nature after a few bites, and I'll have to admit that it's hard going back to a fork once I go back into proper Dallas BBQ joints. It garners a few looks, but it's worth it.

Kreuz Market on Urbanspoon

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chisholm Trail Bar-B-Q

LOCKHART: Chisholm Trail Bar-B-Q
1323 S. Colorado St. (Hwy 183)
Lockhart, TX 78644
Open Daily 8-8

Update: After a long day, this was our ninth and penultimate stop. I took a quick trip inside to grab one of the links that I liked so well from my last trip, and a rib that wasn't available on my previous visit.

On the hood of the truck I unwrapped the package. The glistening paper let me know I was in for a juicy treat, and that was confirmed as I bit into the tasty link. It snapped nicely between my teeth, and some juice ran down my arms. This beef and pork link was perfectly smoked with great peppery flavor. The rib could have been a bit more tender, but it was well seasoned with plenty of salt and black pepper. The meat had great smoke and was plenty moist. After trying the Texas BBQ holy trinity at this joint in two different visits, I've got to say that it holds its own with the best in town. It would be the best in many cities across the state, and certainly deserves a visit if you're in town for one of the more popular destinations.

Rating ****

10/2010: I've heard it proclaimed before that Chisholm Trail would be the best BBQ joint in most other Texas towns, but in Lockhart it's hard to match the hype of the three other storied joints serving world class 'cue. These folks aren't afraid of some competition. They opened up about the time I was birthed in 1978, and by that time this town of just over 12,000 already had two joints with state-wide acclaim, and both had been open for 50+ years. Today Chisholm Trail is said to be a favorite among locals because of high quality at lower prices than the competitors. I decided to give it another shot, and to give it a fair shake we started our morning off there rather than stopping as an afterthought with a full stomach.

Making this our first start caused an issue with meat availability since ribs aren't ready until 10:30 and we arrived at 8:30. Brisket and sausage was piping hot so I brought a butcher paper package full of meat over to the anticipatory gaze of my dining companions. It certainly passed the Homer Simpson clear paper test with plenty of grease to give that butcher paper some sheen, mainly from the sausage. Links are 87% beef and 13% pork, and were the best of the day in Lockhart, ahead of Black's and Smitty's. The snappy casings held coarsely ground and well seasoned meat that had just enough spice. The brisket that emerged was incredible. The meat was deeply smoky, and that fat clinging to eat slice was silky smooth. The meat could have been a touch more tender, but this could easily be the best brisket in Dallas, and could even take first or second in Lockhart on any given day. After this trip I won't view this joint as an afterthought again, and I'm looking forward to a return stop to try those ribs at lunch.

2006: This place generally plays fourth fiddle in this legendary BBQ town, but measured against other joints statewide, it holds its own. The ribs were an excellent version of large, meaty spare ribs with a slightly sweet and peppery rub. The fat was well rendered, and the smoke flavor permeated the meat. On the other hand, the brisket was dry with little smoke flavor despite the nicely formed crust. The fat was not well rendered, but the flavor was still good overall. I wouldn't choose it over others in town, but it's worth a stop for a good comparison.

Chisholm Trail Barbq on Urbanspoon

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dickey's Spicy Cheddar Sausage

If you read this blog, you may know that Dickey's is not my favorite option for brisket and ribs, but I do enjoy their polish sausage, so when they introduced their new spicy cheddar sausage, I had to go try it. Their positively cheesy video advertisement is pretty awful, but I was hoping the sausage might be worth the trip.

I braved the ice last week to try it on their first day of the full release. They say it will be for a limited time, but surely its staying power will have everything to do with its sales. Samples were given to all of the customers in front of me, but I went ahead and ordered a full sandwich.

Cheesiness in every bite is their goal, and they did not disappoint. There's almost too much cheese, but the meat, jalapeno and cayenne spices still find a way to shine through. The meat was piled high on the bun, and I enjoyed it both plain and as a sandwich filling. I don't think it will turn me into a Dickey's regular, but I'll now have a decent option if I'm forced to visit, as long as the sausage is still around.

- BBQ Snob

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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.