Tag Archives: TMBBQ

BBQ Chronicles:  Ten 50 BBQ–Plano, TX

I found myself in Dallas yesterday car shopping with my we teen year old.  She and I share a love for good barbecue and when I told her were going to Dallas, she said, “For barbecue?”  I said, “Yes, and we have to shop for a car.”  I could have told her we were going to do anything I wanted, just so long as barbecue was in the plan.

I opened up my trusty Yelp app and saw that 372 people reviewed this new addition to the barbecue world (the cashier told me that they opened a year and a half ago), and I figured that 372 people can’t be wrong about Ten 50 BBQ.  Wrong they weren’t, but they weren’t quite right, either.

I made sure to order the fatty brisket, untrimmed.  I also ordered the sausage, ribs, and turkey.  I rarely order turkey, but we had my daughter’s friend with us and I think she can get a bit finicky.  I also had to sample their pinto beans and potato salad.

The meats were all prepared perfectly.  The brisket was incredibly tender and the fat was rendered so perfectly that it dissolved the moment it hit your tongue.  The St. Louis spare ribs had a beautiful smoke ring and pulled cleanly from the bone as you hit into them.  The sausage with its vivid black pepper note was incredibly juicy.  The turkey was decent and was moderately juicy.  If you want smoked turkey that’ll impress, you want to take a jaunt to Jefferson, TX for Joseph’s Riverport Barbecue.  I haven’t found any smoked turkey that compares. 

    
    
    
 As I said, all of the meats were beautiful and prepared perfectly.  It’s just that someone forgot to add flavor.  (The sausage was the exception.  I doubt the sausage is made in house.  It reminded me of the sausage I had at Pecan Lodge.  The brisket, though it looks as if it tastes otherworldly, is good but looks are deceptive.  The crust looked great but had little flavor.  I’d say the run needs work.  Same for the ribs.  They look great, but I only tasted an occasional hint of sweetness.  Overall, they were pretty bland.

As for the sides, the beans had a nice kick, but they weren’t terrific.  As a matter of fact, they were so underwhelming, I’ll pass on them my next visit.  I love beans, but they lacked something.  The jalapeños were nice, but they weren’t a patch compared to the jalapeño beans at Hutchins BBQ in McKinney, TX.  The potato salad was another story.  It arrested my attention so much so that it completely eclipsed the meat.  It had just the right tanginess–it was perfect with the red potatoes and green onions.  I should have gotten two servings.

As I looked at the clientele, my overall impression was that this restaurant was geared for old people and tourists.  It seems that flavored are toned down for both types of customer.  I had no idea how right I was until I read TMBBQ‘s review.  Apparently, the restauranteur’s claim to fame is his creation of the Chili’s chain and that the plan is to do the same thing with brisket.  I’m sure locations will spread like wildfire with its average flavors that are sure not to offend the palate of the uninitiated.

BBQ Chronicles:  Pecan Lodge–Dallas, TX

It’s been a month and a half since I last noshed on barbecue.  Last time I was in Nashville, TN, and in Rooster Cogburn fashion, it didn’t hold a patch to Texas BBQ.

I was inspired by the Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ joints some time ago, and I always enjoy the adventure, though there are times when Texas Monthly boogers up their ranking–they apparently like Cousin’s BBQ.  I’ve had it and I’ve had better BBQ at Dickey’s, and they serve crap. 

A nice variety of meat to gauge Pecan Lodge’s deliciousness.

Let’s start with the brisket.  I ordered both fatty brisket and some from the flat for my less enthusiastic family members.  The fat was perfectly rendered and the meat was incredibly tender.  I was immensely happy with the flavor, but it’s not as good as Lockhart in Dallas or Black’s BBQ in Lockhart.  I also have to say that Bartley’s BBQ in Grapevine, TX produces superior brisket.  Regardless, their brisket was noteworthy.

The sausage was also nice.  We tried both the regular smoked sausage and the jalapeño/cheddar sausage.  Both were enjoyable.  The skin had a beautiful snap when you buy into it and the meat had a coarser grind than typical.  This sausage was definitely better than average.
While the spare ribs were tender, they didn’t have a lot of flavor.  Stanley’s in Tyler, TX is far superior. 

These links weren’t magical, but they were good.
 The beans were adequate.  They didn’t taste as if they came straight from a can, but they weren’t stellar, either.  Normally, I would gorge on beans, but these weren’t gorge-worthy.  Again, Stanley’s beats Pecan Lodge.  But if it’s beans you’re after, try Hutchins in McKinney, TX. 
These beans look fantastic, but it’s the unassuming slices of brisket in the background that are the winners here.
 Texas Monthly gives Pecan Lodge high marks with a 4.0/5.0.  Because of the shortcomings, I think I’ll have to award a 3.4/5.0.  

BBQ Chronicles: Bob’s Bar-B-Que–Henderson, TX

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.

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BBQ Turnoff: using a microwave on smoked meat. Bob loses points. I don’t even care using a microwave at home. It tends to sadden meat.
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.

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Nice bark. Definitely not crustolicious like Black’s in Lockhart, but this ain’t Lockhart. It’s Henderson.
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.

BBQ Chronicles: Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q–Tyler, TX

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.