Reviewed by: Rachel Short (Austin, TX)
The trip from Austin to Plainview and back is quite the trek for one weekend, even for five UT college girls. After several hours in the car, our stomachs began growling and even Josh Abbot tunes couldn’t distract the hunger pangs. Finally, we stopped in Sweetwater, and the thought occurred to me: barbecue. As a previous student and current twitter-follower of Drew Thornley, I decided to put my “ManUpBarbecue” thinking cap on and attempt to be a bbq connoisseur. We had two options: Big Boys Barbecue or Buck’s Steaks & Bar-B-Q. Unfortunately, our Sunday drive ruled out Urban Spoon’s more popular choice, Big Boys: closed Sundays. So Buck’s Steaks & Bar-B-Q it was! An extensive menu didn’t stop us from all ordering the same thing: chopped brisket sandwiches. What can I say? Girls will be girls. Never fear! Some would say critiquing is what we do best.
The brisket was a tad dry and slightly overcooked. However, the barbecue sauce did gain a few points. The flavorful sauce was a bit spicy with a sweet, tangy flavor. A side of potato salad had a good onion taste but nothing to brag about. Other side options included macaroni and cheese, baked beans, cole slaw and corn bread. The macaroni and cheese had an interesting texture of mayonnaise that wasn’t to my liking. And not one of us finished our baked beans or cole slaw, which were both mediocre. The portions were generous and buffet-style options gave you the choice to go back for seconds. But would you? Possibly for some more bbq sauce or an extra roll. Choose the roll over the cornbread for your bread option. The cornbread lacked a certain moistness that the rolls more than made up for. Literally, the rolls melted in your mouth! Peach cobbler for dessert was a free friendly gesture by our waitress. The cobbler had a thick, flaky crust but the peaches were a little too syrupy. The sweetness overruled the tartness, which in my opinion, a good balance between sweet and tart is a necessity for cobbler.
After a few more swigs of iced tea (not brewed to its fullest potential), my first bbq critiquing experience with the help of four friends came to an end. Note to self: Next time when road-tripping through Sweetwater and want barbecue, make sure it’s not Sunday and choose Big Boys Barbecue over Buck’s Steak & Bar-B-Q.