Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011: Ronnie's BBQ (Johnson City, TX)

Saturday's trip to Fredericksburg was great. I was in no rush, it was a nice day to drive, and I hit up 2 joints for the first time (and discovered a 3rd). My plan was to have lunch at just one place, Cranky Frank's in F'burg, but I saw Ronnie's BBQ as I passed through sleepy Johnson City. It was around eleven, and they were already open, so I stopped in. I was already hungry and figured a bite before my planned lunch wouldn't hurt anybody.

Ronnie's is a family business. A couple of decades ago, Ronnie Weiershausen turned his convenience store into a BBQ joint, and it's still going strong. In fact, it took 2nd place in KVET's vote for the best BBQ in Central Texas. I had seen Ronnie's before, but I don't think I'd ever passed it when it was open, so I mistakenly assumed it wasn't in operation. Since I had never heard a single word about it from anyone, I had no reason to doubt that it wasn't open. But based on the KVET results, it's a Central Texas favorite, so I was just outta the loop on this one. Not anymore.

I loved it. I had a sampler plate of brisket, turkey, pork loin, and pork rib. The loin was just off the smoker (see 2nd picture from the top, below); I had the first piece, in fact. Unlike many pork-loin slices, it wasn't dry. Combine great seasoning on the outside, and it hit the spot. The pork rib was extremely juicy but didn't have much meat on the bone at all. The turkey, again unlike at many places, wasn't dry, though it wasn't as moist as the pork loin. And the brisket: outstanding. My slice had everything I want in brisket: black bark on the outside and an inside that was not dry or chewy but, instead, was moist with rendered fat - but not fatty at all in the sense that I had to separate a bunch of fat from the meat. Unequivocally, the slice I had was among the top 5 pieces of brisket I've had.

Ronnie, his wife, his daughter, & the other girl who was working (whom they said might as well be family) were all friendly. My service was great. Ronnie, in the middle of manning the pits outside, took the time to chat with me and tell me the history of the place. It was encouraging to see someone who has been working hard for decades continue to put such effort into his business. It was a surprise stop that turned out to be a fantastic start to my day, and I fully intend to make it a regular stop anytime I pass through Johnson City.

Ronnie's Ice House Barbeque on Urbanspoon


Drew Thornley said...

Got a comment on Facebook about the lack of a smoke ring. True, the ring is faint. I was curious about this before I ate it, but the brisket delivered. I never had another thought about the size of the SR.

Zebbie L. said...

I think it's very possible that the lack of smoke ring is a result of direct heat ala Cooper's. The texture and quality of the meat looks very similar IMO.