Since Nashville is near Memphis, TN, I felt that I may have a chance at some incredible barbecue. Bar-B-Cutie was recommended and the long lunch line showed promise. We waited thirty minutes to be served, which set me up with empty hopes.
The baby back ribs looked promising, but all hope was lost as my teeth discovered that they were overly cooked. They tasted okay, but the meat pratically fell off the bone and I could taste that they were definitely finished off in the oven.
The barbecue chicken looked institutional, like the middle school lunch lady would award as a penalty for cutting in line. It definitely basked in the warm glow of an oven.
The best part was the pulled pork. It was average and predictable. If you want authentic barbecue, try another joint.
It’s been a few months since I have been able to hunt for some good Texas BBQ. It is a bit of a tradition that I enjoy with my oldest daughter, Alli. I’m not a hunter, so we aren’t likely to go kill deer as we spend time together, but we have our own game we like to track down. We decided to have lunch at the Hitch-N-Post in Livingston, TX. It’s 3 1/2 hours from home so we had time to work up an appetite.
We both ordered untrimmed fatty brisket which in my estimation, is the best tasting meat. I usually try the sausage as well, but we are planning an early supper at another BBQ place and I don’t want to gorge myself.
The brisket, though cooked, could probably have used another four hours in the smoker to completely render the fat and make the meat fork tender. I actually had to use a knife to cut the meat. There was a beautiful smoke ring and a decent crust, but I was hoping for a denser crust. Then again, this ain’t Lockhart.
The beans were good, but they were punched up canned beans. The potato salad probably came from Brookshire Brothers, but I came for the meat. The sides are just a bonus.
Apparently, the proprietor has a policy to give free cake to first time customers. He was a really nice BBQ enthusiast as he asked if I had tried Snow’s in Lexington. Then he started showing me pictures of BBQ joints on his phone.
The ambience was a schlockfest with old tricycles dangling from the ceiling and tiki umbrellas reminiscent of Gilligan’s Island. It was enjoyable soaking it in while I soaked up sauce with my bread.
The food was good. I would rate it a 3.0/5.0, but with the outstanding service and friendly atmosphere, I rate it a solid 3.5. Hitch-N-Post is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.
It’s been six months since I have been to Texas for BBQ. Granted, the Texas State Line is only a few miles from Shreveport, but in order to obtain the good stuff, you usually have to drive awhile.
I can’t explain why I love good BBQ, but I use Texas Monthly’s Top 50 as my roadmap. I’m only at number seven. I have forty-three more joints to visit before the new list is released. The list just came out last spring and it is released every five years. It’s going to be tight, but I like a good challenge.
Today’s journey was relatively short. Bob’s Bar-B-Que is in Henderson, TX. It’s only a ninety minute drive to get there.
Let’s start with the potato salad. I don’t know if it is produced in house or not, but I’m betting it’s store bought. It’s nice and tangy, but so is Kroger’s. Besides, I didn’t drag Alli, my oldest daughter, to eat potato salad.
I expect a good smokehouse to have some good beans. I happen to love Ranch Style Beans, so I was in luck. However, I can get beans from a can at home. Punching it up with a little meat and barbecue sauce does not constitute homemade. Points lost for the attempted canned bean fake out.
Enough of the sides. Let’s talk turkey. Or brisket in this case. I like to research my restaurants so I know what to expect. TMBBQ has solid advise for this joint. If you don’t want to lose the crust, you have to specifically request the fatty brisket with the crust. If you don’t, the flavor will get chopped away and sent to BBQ limbo. Seriously. I don’t know where they put the flavor after they chop it off the meat. There certainly aren’t any burnt ends in the beans. If you think it’s weird to discard the culinary meaning of life, you’re not alone. It appears that northeast Texas (and north Louisiana for that manner) fear flavor. The food in this area is a bit bland. Not Minnesota bland, but food around here is usually only a notch above truck stop fare.
Anyway, the crust had a nice flavor and the fatty brisket was plenty juicy. I had a slice of regular brisket and it was like swallowing sawdust. You know, good food. If you travel, you know that good food in one place is synonymous with yucky food elsewhere.
The hot link wasn’t fire engine red like I’m used to. It looked and had the consistency of a normal sausage. And it wasn’t hot. My guess is Bob heated up some Earl Campbell (I hope he’s not using that microwave) from Piggly Wiggly. It was good, but I’ve had better.
I’m not sorry I forgot to take a picture of the peach cobbler. Cobbler is never very photogenic. I have read that this is homemade. I enjoyed it, but somebody went crazy with the cloves. I go by this rule of thumb: spices are flavor enhancers, not main ingredients.
All in all, I had a great time with my daughter. It was a very nice lunch. Texas Monthly was generous by awarding a 4/5. It topped out at 3.0/5.0, but it is good enough for a lunchtime jaunt.
Every five years, Texas Monthly publishes their Top 50 BBQ joints in Texas. The last list was released about a year ago and I decided that I needed to visit all 50 joints before the new list is released. Good thing I don’t live in Delaware. That would be a lot of miles.
I think the search for the best BBQ feeds an innate need for accomplishment. I hate sports. Bass fishing has too much action. All that casting tires me out.
I like fishing, but I enjoy the type where you go to the lake, cast out without a hook, and take a nap. If you make the mistake by putting a hook on your line, some fish may interrupt your slumber. I also have a short attention span and thinking about fishing can interrupt blissful thoughts of eating tender barbecue.
I’ve been to seven or eight joints on the list, and most have proven to be solid BBQ joints. Among my favorites (so far) happens to be only about ninety minutes from home.
Now, before we discuss some serious BBQ, I should let you know that I’m not a shill for this restaurant or any other establishment I may have discussed. I’m a hack. Big time hack. I’m so hackneyed that a college professor called me a hack. That professor was the Dean of the a humanities department. That makes me hack du jour. As far as I can tell, hacks do not receive promotional consideration. If I’m wrong about that, I need to get some free andouille and alligator meat.
Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue in Tyler, TX is well worth the drive. I haven’t been to any joint in Texas in the past few months because Dave Ramsey says we can’t afford it. If I don’t get any ‘cue soon I’m gonna have to tell Dave to shove it.
Stanley’s had some incredible ribs even though the meat pulled away from the bone a little to readily. The fatty brisket was a treat. I had only recently learned that fatty brisket was a delicacy when I stopped by Black’s in Lockhart, TX. Now, if you are looking for beef ribs with a two pound clod of meat hanging from the end of it…oh, did I mention the beans? Stanley’s beans had a distinct black pepper flavor that set them apart from other establishments’ beans. They were certainly travel worthy.
I also really enjoyed the mustard potato salad. The tanginess helped transition the palate much like ginger does when you eat sushi. I think it has similar health benefits as well.
There you have it. If you’re within three hours, I would say it is worth the drive much like Hutchins BBQ in McKinney, TX is worth a four four drive. I have considered that I am biased, but I decided that I am not.