Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jacob & friends: Steven's review

2010 Memorial Weekend BBQ Tour De Forces

2 days, 5 friends, 700 miles, 8 BBQ joints, and 720 ounces of beer. If that does not sound like great Texas Memorial Day I don’t know what does. I feel like I have to start by saying that I live in Dallas and if you haven’t heard there is not an over whelming amount of great BBQ. Outside of town and especially towards Fort Worth we have a handful of good places and on some days great BBQ. But if you live in Central Texas consider yourself very thankful. Each one of these places (Saltlick included, at least for the fun of it) would be considered the best or among the best BBQ in the Metroplex. The sausage situation alone is troubling. I can count on one hand the amount of places that make their own sausage in Dallas. Snap? I don’t think so, not in Dallas. Again, Central Texas I hope you know what you have got.

Franklin BBQ – Austin
Outstanding. It would be unfair to fully review this BBQ because it had been in the refrigerator for around six hours. Without a doubt, even cold, this is better than anything in Dallas City Limits.

Saltlick – Driftwood
We had to try this after hearing every Longhorn in Dallas constantly sing its praises. Not sure if this is BBQ or grilled meats posing as BBQ. The meat was disappointing, the BBQ sauce is pretty fantastic, and the location/ atmosphere is everything it is cracked up to be. Overall great place to spend a Friday night.

Southside Market – Elgin
We had originally planned on stopping at Meyer’s, but after talking it over with Jacob we decided if we were going to make one stop in Elgin it had better be Southside. We were not disappointed. Saving room for Snow’s we only had one link of sausage, it was top notch, and one slice of brisket. If I had only been paying attention I might have realized that they had cut all of the bark off of our brisket before we were back on the road. Regardless of the bark blunder the briskets as very good. Flavor reminded me of what you will get in Lockhart, but just slightly less good.

Snow’s BBQ – Lexington
The big event. Happy to see that they were still drawing a large out of town crowd. Brisket, sausage, and pork. By the time we had order (10:30 AM) all of the ribs were gone or spoken for. So impressed with the brisket. When I dream about good BBQ, my dreams are filled with brisket like this. Pork was dry, but had a great flavor. And the sausage was better than average, solid offering.

City Meat Market – Giddings
Starting to feel a little bit full at this point. Ordered; brisket, sausage, pork, and ribs. I thought I would never say this about a moist piece of brisket, but it was a little too fatty. All of the fat was well rendered, but the brisket was lacking the good meaty flavor. Still so much better that anything I am able to get within Dallas city limits. Sausage was good, if not a little over cooked. Ribs were average and dried out. Pork stole the show, extremely moist and flavorful.

Prause Meat Market – La Grange
Full, some pain. This stop could not have come at a better time for me, because I was beginning to reach the limit of what my stomach could hold. By the time we had arrived at the front of the line they had run out of everything except the sausage. Luckily Barbeque Jesus (Jacob) noticed some scrapes of brisket and pork that meat cutters handed over to us for free. Unfortunately I decided to try the pork first. Remember, this was not meat that they would sell us and only after describing our journey in detail were we able to get this meat. This piece of pork was so tough and had so much un-rendered fat that I almost lost my lunch, all of them. From the painfully memory I could tell that it had a lot of potential in the flavor department and I am going to be back, much earlier, to try everything fresh. Couldn’t even attempt the brisket after the pork (it looked to be in worse shape). The sausage had serious potential. I was just in pretty bad shape so any review beyond this must be taken with a grain of salt.

Austin Barbeque & Catering – Eagle Lake
Uncomfortable. Thankfully we had a long drive between La Grange and Eagle Lake. Unfortunately, it was not long enough. When Jacob opened Styrofoam container that contained BBQ meal (Reminded me of an east Texas BBQ joint) I was fully prepared to be disappointed. What I did not expect was some descent BBQ. Brisket was sliced pretty thin. I think this was to disguise the fact that it could have used more time in the smoker, but there was some good flavor. Not enough bark and the fat had not completely rendered. The star of this meal was the sausage, good flavor smoked just right.

Vincek’s Smokehouse – East Bernard
Meat coma. At this point in our journey I was swearing off red meat. After walking in to Vincek’s I was more interested in the selection of backed goods they had than any of the meat. Only after a little peer pressure and 2 chocolate chip cookies (very good) did I try some brisket and sausage. As everywhere we went the sausage was great (the one exception is the store about stuff at Saltlick). Brisket had a great flavor, but needed a couple more hours to smoke. It was downright tough.

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