Friday, November 20, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009: Mac's Barbeque (Brady, Texas)

On a Sunday drive from Abilene back to Austin, Amber and I hit the town of Brady right at lunch time. Not knowing what Brady had to offer, we had resigned ourselves to fast food on the main drag, until we saw a little BBQ joint to our left. We knew nothing about Mac’s Barbeque but feeling a little crazy and adventurous on a lazy Sunday in the “Heart of Texas,” we stopped in, undeterred by the fact that this would be my 4th and her 3rd BBQ meal of the weekend.

The ribs weren’t the most tender, but they had a nice, smoky flavor. The turkey wasn’t the most flavorful, but it wasn’t dry. The chicken (particularly the dark meat) was quite nice. Easily my favorite of the three. I liked the sauce, and though I’m not a big potato-salad fan, I really liked theirs. Why? 2 words: French dressing. That’s right: Mac’s mixes French dressing into their potato salad, giving it a unique orange hue. Also, I can count on one hand the number of slices of bread I’ve had on our BBQ outings, but I had one at Mac’s. I loaded that bad boy up with smoked turkey, pickles, jalapenos, beans, (orange) potato salad, and sauce. It was a masterpiece. Amber tried to emulate, to no avail.

Mac’s doesn’t have an atmosphere you write home about, but Amber said she felt like she was on the set of Friday Night Lights, with all of the Brady High homecoming decorations (“If Coach Taylor had been there, I would have told him what I thought of the plays in their last game.”)

The entire staff was friendly, and I enjoyed meeting the owners and checking out the smokers out back. I can’t declare that Mac’s has the best BBQ in Brady (b/c I haven’t checked out the BBQ joint across the highway), but our visit was a nice break from a long drive.

Amber’s scores – Turkey: 8.2; Sides: 7.75; Sauce: 8; Overall experience: 7.9

Drew’s scores – Turkey: 7.8; Pork ribs: 7.4; Chicken: 8.9; Atmosphere: 6; Overall experience: 7.8

Overall Man-Up Score: 7.85

Mac's Barbeque on Urbanspoon


David said...

My parents lived for a time in Brady and we're all real familiar with Mac's. They have fantastic brisket and the sauce is delicious & unique. Always bought extra to put in the cooler & take home. The McBee family who runs the place are extremely generous and welcoming folks.

Fun Fact: Arlen McBee, the current owner's father, had won the annual BBQ Goat cook-off in Brady so many times that the organizers asked him to stop competing ;)

Drew Thornley said...

Thanks for your comment, David! I didn't know that little bit of trivia. However, I just found out about Brady's goat cookout from one of the guys in our group, who's from Brady. Speaking of BBQ goat, I've been asked to be a judge in the BBQ goat cookoff in Goldthwaite in late April. Looking forward to it!

Appleton said...

Ah, memories. I grew up in Brady, and my grandparents would go to Mac's for lunch every day except Sunday (when my grandmother would prepare a post-church feast) and Thursday (closed). They always sat in the same booth and ordered the same thing every time: brisket sandwiches.

Every morning (except Thursday, of course), my grandfather started his day at Mac's for coffee to talk about the weather, the stock (literally-livestock) market, and all the things one finds interesting in a small town.

Drew, you are correct sir: the atmosphere there has changed substantially post-remodel. Plus side: doesn't smell as much like cigarette smoke!

While by no means "fancy" BBQ, it is my ultimate notion of comfort food. I've heard a lot of people say that you can cook 50 different briskets and get 50 variations on taste/quality. Bull-hockey! I don't know how, but it has remained consistent for all of my 30 years. And that makes me smile.

My favorite memory was having lunch there with my grandparents when I was around 7 or 8. They bring out small plates with jalapenos and pickled carrots. My grandmother warned me that the carrots were "hot." I duly tested the temperature of an unassuming carrot and ate it. She laughed to the point of tears. Lesson learned on the duality of the adjective "hot."

Sidenote: spellcheck suggests that "jalapenos" should be replaced by "Galapagos."

Anonymous said...

I worked in Brady doing some core drilling the summer of 1980.. ate at Mac's every day that summer! Loved the food.. the tea was terrific looks like the place has changed a bit..and goat was on the menu but not available all summer!
Wanted to try it but couldn't!