Friday, September 4, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009: Milt's Pit BBQ (Kyle, Texas)

With a party of 15, a Man-Up record attendance, Man Up made its first short drive down I-35 to Milt’s Pit BBQ in Kyle. Basically a glorified shack, it has the feel of a place that’s been around for a long time. With walls full of license plates, including a couple from my Home Sweet Alabama, Milt’s has an authentic Texas roadside feel, like a place you’ve frequented for years. Yet it’s only been operating since last January, when proprietor Milt Thurlkill made the wise move back to his Texas roots from his home in California.

Milt and his crew were gracious and affable hosts, and we are so grateful for their service and hospitality. Special thanks to Logan, for taking the time to show us the pit. If our visit is any indication, expect Milt’s to be around for quite a while. As for the food, here’s what I suggest: If you’re really hungry and are not worried about early-onset heart disease, man up on Milt’s signature appetizer, the Haystack. Sausage, brisket, jalapenos, onions, beans, and cheese, all atop a bed of Fritos. Then, get a half chicken and outside cuts of brisket. My outside-cut order turned out to be the way to go. Everyone agreed that the outside brisket was preferable to the inside cut. Excellent char yet not dry and with great flavor. The chicken was very good, very moist (save the breast, which is usually the case).

Plenty of thoughts and reactions from the Peanut Gallery, so I won’t tarry.

Travis, aka TraBro, kicks us off, short and sweet like: "Milt’s is a great place because it represents what I love about BBQ in Texas: small business owners that care about BBQ, and work hard to make sure that customers are happy."

Chris straight mans up on the review, not cutting any corners: “Brisket: I remember taking two people to Milt's one time for dinner last fall, and one of them swore after trying some brisket that it was the best brisket she had ever had in her entire life. Personally, I've been to Snow's and Louie Mueller's, and I'd rank Milt's brisket second behind only Snow's. It melted in my mouth and was unbelievably moist and delicious. I never had a bad bite and although it was a little more fatty than what I typically like, it was still fantastic. Pork ribs: I thought the pork ribs were solid too. Easily the second best meat behind the brisket. Probably could have been a little better, but overall a nice product. Then again, my subconscious could just be unfairly penalizing the ribs for not being as unbelievable as the brisket. Turkey: Decent, but nothing special. Not a whole lot of flavor in the meat. It did well in having the right moisture, but just not enough taste to make it worthwhile. Polish sausage: BBQ sausage is among my favorite of the meats, and Milt's Polish sausage was thoroughly unimpressive. It didn't taste bad, but it wasn't good and was easily the worst thing I ate there. Jalapeno sausage: Much better than the Polish, but the jalapeno was too subtle a taste and didn't add as much as I would have liked to the overall flavor. Beans: Really good beans at Milt's. Had great overall texture, but the seasoning was slightly more overpowering than it should have been. Still highly recommended. Atmosphere: Love the small setup that makes everything cozy along with the window ordering and everything. Plus having 15 people there makes it pretty awesome. The only deduction is for it being sort of hot in the corner next to the front door because the AC didn't quite reach that far, but the place was packed and it was Texas in August. So I'm not really sure how much of that is actually Milt's fault. Overall: The brisket and atmosphere carry Milt's and more than make up for anything that is lacking in the sausage. I'd already been there four or five times after spending two years living within 10 minutes of Milt's, so I'm slightly sentimental toward the place. From the parking lot and sign on the building to the small dining area, plywood, and window counter, Milt's doesn't try to be anything fancy and instead seems content with focusing on serving phenomenal brisket. The brisket (and to a lesser degree the pork ribs) are the story, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.”

Russell, always certain to review, writes: “Anytime you straight man up and move 2 people before lunchtime, and are eating this caliber of BBQ with a record group of 15 Man Uppers by 1pm, you know it was a big day. Brisket: Milt’s moist, end cut of heavenly, well-marbled, flavorful brisket would be my recommended item here at Milts. The consistency and taste of this cut of meat were as good as I’ve had in quite a while. It was every bit as good as Snow’s and Kreuz’ and just a half notch below the last bite of deckle I had a Salt Lick. Pork Ribs: Milt’s ribs were extremely solid if not spectacular. I didn’t need an ounce of sauce. They were flavorful, moist, salty but not too salty, fallin’ off the bone good! I’d put em just a notch below the Lick. Turkey: Very moist but not the most flavorful I’ve had…maybe needed more pepper…I had to use quite a bit of sauce. It paled in comparison to the brisket and ribs. Jalapeno Sausage: Some of the best I’ve had…really liked the consistency and spice of this sausage, and I’m not a big sausage guy. Polish Sausage: Good, but would suggest one go with the jalapeno. Beans: Some of the best beans this side of Coopers. Good bacon, vinegar and jalapeno flavor…just the way I like it. Sauce: Coopers-esque/Opies-esque…if you like that kind of vinegar based tasting sauce, you will like this. Brownies: Really appreciated Jerry throwing in the brownies after our meal, were flavorful, but mine was not as moist as I like em. Sweet Tea: Good but maybe a bit too sweet…I had to water mine down. Hospitality: It’s a small, road-side spot and is a bit warm in there, but Jerry runs is a high-quality operation and is a good ole boy, especially for a California transplant…he’s not from here, but evidently he got here as quick as he could, and I’m glad he did…he smokes some great bbq in Kyle, TX and is a friendly guy who will show you a good time.”

Matt’s scores – Brisket: 9.8; Sausage: 9.6; Sides: 9.8; Overall experience: 9.85

Travis scores – Brisket: 8.5; Chicken: 8.9; Sides: 7.7; Service: 9.5; Overall experience: 8.65

Chris’ scores – Brisket: 9.91; Pork ribs: 9.43; Turkey: 8.3; Sausage (Polish): 7.2; Sausage (Jalapeno): 8.54; Beans: 9.46; Atmosphere: 9.93; Overall experience: 9.61

Russell’s scores – Brisket: 9.95; Pork ribs: 9.92; Turkey: 9.33; Sausage (Polish): 9.42; Sausage (Jalapeno): 9.55; Beans: 9.7; Sauce: 9.56; Brownies: 9.02; Sweet tea: 8.65; Service: 9.92; Overall experience: 9.88

Drew’s scores – Brisket (outside cut): 9.75; Chicken: 9.4; Atmosphere: 9.6; Service: 9.9; Overall experience: 9.65

Brad’s scores – Brisket (inside cut): 6.5; Pork ribs: 7.5; Turkey: 7; Atmosphere: 8.7; Service: 9.5; Overall experience: 9

Overall Man-Up Score: 9.44

Milt's Pit BBQ on Urbanspoon


FSJ said...

Absolutely LOVE this blog....

Which one of you guys is from Alabama?

I'm from Gadsden.

Roll Tide.

Drew Thornley said...

That would be me, FSJ! I'm from Jasper and went to UA, so Roll Tide right back at you! So glad you love the blog. Email me anytime at

Sean Claes said...

I know this is way after the fact.. but it's GREAT to see Milt's getting some love. They're right around the corner from me.