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   THE SEARCH FOR TEXAS BARBECUE
 
 
 
2011 - Volume 2 Issue 2
Comidas Sabrosas
Barbecue
 
Article: Joe Burgess
Photos: Joe Burgess
 
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Texas may not have the patent on barbecue,but it is certainly considered a state tradition. Pinto beans and coleslaw have hung their hats on the same peg, of course, along with a few other choice sides, desserts and drinks... well, beer and iced tea for sure. Texans take their barbecue seriously, and conversations rank right up there with politics and religion as far as who makes the best barbecue and what makes one better than the other.

    Photo Captions

1.) photos courtesy of
     Sonny Bryan's
     Smokehouse

2.) photos courtesy of
     Goode Company
     Texas Bar-B-Q

3.) Kreuz Market

4.) Luling City Market

5.) Texas Pride BBQ
   
  BBQ: SOUTH vs WEST

SOUTH
-------------------------
Favorite Meat:
  Pork
Speciality Dishes:
  Ribs, Pulled Pork,
  Whole Hog
Sauce:
  Thin and spicy with a
  ketchup or vinegar base
Wood of Choice:
  Hickory
Served With:
  Coleslaw, Baked Beans,   Sweet Tea

WEST
-------------------------
Favorite Meat:
  Beef
Speciality Dishes:
  Ribs, Brisket, Sausages
Sauce:
  Sweet and thick with a
  tomato base
Wood of Choice:
  Mesquite
Served With:
  Bread, Pinto Beans, Beer
   
  Resources

Sonny Bryan's
Smokehouse

Dallas, TX
214-350-1800
sonnybryans.com

Goode Company
Texas Bar-B-Q

Houston, TX
713-529-1212
goodecompany.com

Kreuz Market
Lockhart, TX
512-398-2361
kreuzmarket.com

Luling City Market
Houston, TX
877-526-2271
lulingcitymarket.com

Texas Pride Barbecue
Adkins, TX
210-649-3730
texaspridebbq.net

Bodacious BBQ
Mount Pleasant, TX
903-572-7860
mountpleasantbbq.com
   
  When ordering brisket, be sure to get the meat you want. Some locations use only the #119 marbled brisket and some only the #120 lean. I prefer the marbled meat, generally a little more tender and flavorful (less healthy, of course), but the above-mentioned locations will certainly ship you a brisket that will be top quality.


Prying a recipe out of any barbecue establishment is next to impossible, so the bottom line for our at-home enthusiasts is trying your luck at creating your own recipe, going on-line to order some of the sauces and rubs that have made various restaurants famous, or having the finished product shipped right to your front door. Whether you make it yourself or order it at a restaurant, just remember that the key to good barbeque is slow cooking.

No matter where you go in Texas, you are never very far from a local barbecue joint. El Paso, of course, has The State Line restaurant straddling the Texas/New Mexico border, with its courtyard setting, a history of consistently good food and service and an incredible selection of micro-brewed beer. In Austin, you can enjoy the same attention to quality at the original restaurant, called the County Line on the Hill, that opened in 1975. It’s always a great experience.

Needless to say, I have not traveled to all the barbecue establishments in Texas, but if you are on the road, there are some notable locations that will live up to the state’s reputation. Ventanas readers often find themselves in the Dallas/Fort Worth area where Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouses originated. A local family tradition since 1910, Sonny opened his first Smokehouse restaurant in 1958 on Inwood Road near Love Field. Now, with several area locations, Sonny manages a tight grip on the quality of his products and they can be mail ordered.

In Houston, it’s Goode Company Texas Bar-B-Q, making their authentic mesquite-smoked “Texas cuisine” for more than 30 years on Kirby Drive. In addition to outstanding barbecue brisket and ribs, they serve (and ship) a mean Brazos Bottom pecan pie. Across from the original location, Levi Goode opened Goode’s Armadillo Palace with a saloon atmosphere and live Western music most nights.

Between Austin and San Antonio, there are several barbecue locations that always top the Texas reviews. Kreuz Market (pronounced “Krites”) in Lockhart, Texas serves the best barbecue this writer has ever experienced. With a history that dates back to 1900, the smokehouse and restaurant now occupy a huge building. The focus, however, is absolutely on the barbecue – there are not a lot of choices and the setting is simple at best, but owner Rick Schmidt tastes his products daily and keeps close tabs on his lineup of traditional smokers. If you can’t handle butcher-paper plates and using your fingers, you’re in trouble – there are no forks or barbecue sauce on the tables.

City Market in Luling, Texas is another traditional barbecue outfit with the pits located behind glass walls. Manager Joe Capello and his crew place your brisket, ribs or sausage on, you got it, butcher paper, and you’ll need a good supply of paper towels to keep your drool in check. Beans, potato salad, pickles or a hunk of yellow cheese are extra. Mail order is available.

There are certainly unique barbecue experiences scattered throughout Texas and Texas Pride Barbecue on Loop 1604 east of San Antonio probably tops the list. The old Sinclair service station replica wears all the old vintage paraphernalia out front. There is indoor seating (and toilets) and a 5000-square foot covered pavilion and stage. I dropped in on Thursday night, which happened to be a family-friendly biker night, and there were at least 500 bikes in the secure parking area, live music on stage, a playground for the kids and Scott Algueseva sitting on his horse, Rock, out front to entertain the rest of us. There are also Fish Fry Fridays, Daisy Duke Charity Bike Wash Sundays and a host of concerts. Tony Talanco learned the art of mesquite-smoked meat from his father and grandfather, but definitely developed his own marketing techniques. His pecan and peach cobblers are delicious.

Another location is a little farther off the beaten track, but worth mentioning – Bodacious Bar-B-Q in Mount Pleasant, northeast of Dallas. For over 30 years, owner Bob Adams has kept his pits hot and now smokes 2500 pounds of meat weekly. He also ships his meat products, his Seasoned Salt can be used on anything and frankly, his Bean Spice helps create an outstanding pot of pinto beans – I can vouch for that.

Since I wrote about the Big Bend Country in the last issue, I should include Kathy’s Kosmic Kowgirl Kafe in Terlingua. It’s basically a roadside stand and very pink, but hey, if you’re in the area, she makes a good beef brisket. ///
 
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