Monday, February 23, 2015

San Marcos BBQ


The barbecue scene in San Marcos is starting to get crowded. About a year ago, San Marcos BBQ took over the spot that Hays County BBQ vacated. Owner/pitmaster Justin Pearson has some BBQ experience working with his grandfather at Chisholm Trail Bar-B-Que in Lockhart. He is using the same pits that Hays County BBQ left behind. The location is tucked away a couple of miles off of IH-35.


The first thing I noticed was the prices. They were comparatively lower than some of the places I go to. I have now done back-to-back posts where brisket is 13 bucks a pound. That is a heck of a deal. I ordered a quarter pound of moist brisket, one pork rib, half link of the regular and of the jalapeño and cheese sausage. I had a coupon for a free side so I got the braised cabbage. That is healthy, right? The brisket was solid. The rub consists just of salt, black pepper, and a little red pepper. It had a good flavor but was a little chewy. The post oak gave the meat the right amount of smoke without overpowering it. The brown sugar with a touch of barbecue sauce gave the rib a nice sweetness. It played well with the smoke. The rib meat was tender towards the middle but dry and hard around the edges. Homemade sausages are always an added bonus in my book. The sausages had a great coarse grit with a good snap from the casing. They both had a good amount of fat. The regular was a little bland. Salt can go a long way in sausage making. I prefer the jalapeño and cheese because it had more of a taste plus a spicy kick to it. The braised cabbage was an excellent change of pace and had bits of sausage in it. I felt my blood pressure drop while I was eating it...


Thinking of all the options in San Marcos, I would still come back to San Marcos BBQ. You get more for your money, and the 'cue was above average. I only spent $10 on my lunch. Next time I will take Amber so we can try the turkey, chicken, and pork chop. Grade: B-


Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 2601 Hunter Rd, San Marcos, TX 78666
Phone: (512) 938-1019
Website: http://www.sanmarcosbbq.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sanmarcosbbq
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sanmarcosbbq

Monday, February 16, 2015

City Market (Luling)


My wife and I were planning our Valentine's Day, when she suggested going to Luling for lunch. She must really love me because eating barbecue is a way to my heart. Luling is only 30 miles from our home so the drive is not bad at all. We have been to City Market once a few summers ago. I just remember that the BBQ being above average, and it was hot and smoky in the pit room. We left disappointed because they were one of the top five on the 2008 Texas Monthly BBQ list, and we were expecting nothing short of amazing.


I thought no one would be in line for barbecue on Valentine's Day. Boy, I was wrong. When we arrived there, the line was about 60 people long. I thought the line was a safety hazard as it snaked throughout the dining area. The line should have gone out the front door. With two cashiers, the line moved briskly. You order the meats in an enclosed room. It was dark, smoky, and warm in there. The menu is real simple. Brisket, pork ribs, and sausage. Brisket was only 13 bucks a pound! That is unheard of nowadays. We went with a half-pound of moist brisket, three pork ribs, and two rings of sausage.


The brisket was cooked well. It was smoky and tender. It had a meaty flavor but that was it. I wanted something more from the brisket. The ribs tasted solid and looked great with the red hue. The sweet hint from the rub played well with the post oak smoke. The ribs were mostly tender and coming off the bone. Closer to the edge of the ribs, the meat was chewier though. The beef sausage had the ideal pop from casing with a heavy grit. The fat content was on point, but the flavor was not. It was under seasoned. I wanted more salt and pepper. It would have been an excellent sausage otherwise. The BBQ sauce on the table was really good. It reminded me of a mustardy Salt Lick sauce that is not as sweet.


Do not forget the cash at home because City Market does not take credit cards. There is an ATM on-site just in case you forget. The 'cue this time was better than our first visit. All the meats were cooked pretty well, but a little seasoning could go a long way. I do wonder if City Market is past their prime. We drive through Luling every time we go to Houston. I did not realize they open so early. We should stop by more often as long as the barbecue is just as good . Afterwards, we tried to stop by Luling Bar-B-Q next door, but they were out of ribs so we went home. Grade: B-

Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 633 E Davis St, Luling, TX 78648
Phone: (830) 875-9019

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The County Line BBQ (On The Lake)


I wanted to try The County Line BBQ for the longest time. I heard about it in college, but I did not have a car back then. When we lived in Lubbock, there was one, but it ended up closing. There was even a location in Albuquerque, New Mexico where we would visit frequently to gamble. I finally ate there at the Hill location about four years ago and thought it was just okay. It was not great, but it was not bad. The only take away from the experience was that the homemade bread was the bomb. On this day, I met a friend at the On The Lake location after work.


Although it was not nestled on a true lake, the view is still scenic. During the warmer months, you can find turtles swimming in the area. Sean and I sat outside and started the meal out with the homemade bread. We got a half loaf of the white and a half loaf of the wheat. I love the bread. It is dense and moist. Almost cake like. For dinner, I ordered the two meat plate with marbled 2nd cut brisket (moist) and sausage. It came with sides of beans, coleslaw, and potato salad. I then added pork ribs as a third meat for an extra cost. The prices are higher here, but you do get a lot of food. My plate came covered with a sweet barbecue sauce. The brisket needed it though. It was sliced really thin and was dry. It was like eating smoky roast beef. The ribs were decent. They were tender and could barely stay on the bone. It had nice smoke, but I wanted more flavor. The sauce helped with that. I thought the homemade sausage was good. It had a nice snap from the casing. The texture and the fat ratio were good. It was tasty and had a peppery finish. I have nothing to add about the sides. They were pretty boring and bland. I did get a ton of beans though.


If you and your family want to grab some barbecue for dinner, I am not going to stop you from eating at The County Line BBQ. There is a lot of seating, and the views are not bad. They have smoked prime rib after 4 PM. There is even an all you can eat family style option. If I did that, I would still be in a meat coma. As I write this, all I can think about is the homemade bread. Grade: C-


Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 5204 Ranch Road 2222, Austin, TX 78731
Phone: (512) 346-3664
Website: http://www.countyline.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CountyLineLake
Twitter: https://twitter.com/countylinelake

Monday, February 2, 2015

Delaney Barbecue (BrisketTown)


JetBlue recently had a sale on airfare flying in and out of their main hub of New York City. We ended up booking another visit because the fares were 32 bucks each way! The last time I was in NYC, I visited Hometown Bar-B-Que in Brooklyn. It was a toss-up between Hometown and Delaney Barbecue last time so this time we were heading to Delaney. It is also known as BrisketTown. Owner/pitmaster Daniel Delaney learned his craft from one of Texas' best Wayne Mueller of Louie Mueller Barbecue.


When we got to the address of the restaurant, I was like where is it? You would have not guess a barbecue joint was there. They smoke the meats off-site. Amber, my sister, and a friend of college, and I were going to do the Meatfest, but they were out of the hot links. Instead, we got two pounds of moist brisket, a pound of pork ribs, and a half pound of pulled pork to share. We also order sides of collard greens and macaroni and cheese.


The brisket had a simple rub of salt and pepper that you often see in Central Texas. Phenomenal. That is my description of it. It rivals some of the best in Texas. The smoky meat was so tender. The flavor and texture were on point. The pork ribs were solid. You can taste the sweetness from the molasses coming through from the rub. It had a nice clean smoke taste but was a little chewy. The pulled pork was outstanding. It was smoky and juicy. It also had a sweet undertone. I ate most of it because I could not stop. The macaroni and cheese was the best I ever had. It was rich and creamy. The choice of pasta and cheese with the jalapeño kick made it out of this world. You cannot order this dish to-go. I could see why. They would never have enough of it available. I did not try the collard greens. The house-made pickles and potato bread were a nice added touch.


I give Daniel Delaney a lot of credit. He came to Texas to learn from the best. He made Delaney Barbecue into something legit. I eat bad and average BBQ often so when I come across a place like this, I am delighted. During warmer weather, Delaney serves up 'cue on the High Line at the location known as the SmokeLine. So far my barbecue experiences in the NYC have been great. Grade: N/A

Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 359 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Phone: (718) 701-8909
Website: http://www.delaneybbq.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DelaneyBBQ
Twitter: https://twitter.com/delaneybbq

Monday, January 26, 2015

Black's Barbecue (Austin)



Our go-to barbecue joint in Lockhart is Black's Barbecue. They are open every day of the week, and their brisket is top notch. The food is consistently good. When it was announced that a location was being opened in Austin, I was indifferent. It was closer for me to go to the Lockhart location anyways. Then I heard that they were transporting the meats from Lockhart, I could not find a reason to visit the Austin one frequently. This location is right by the campus of The University of Texas. Freedmen's is my favorite by campus, but the prices at Black's make it more affordable to the student crowd.


It was rainy and cold when I went this day. On these days, it must be hard for food trailers. Not everyone wants to brave the elements. It was nice and warm inside of Black's. The selection here is not as expansive as the Lockhart one. I ordered a quarter pound of moist brisket, a pork sparerib, and a ring of jalapeño and cheese sausage. My wallet was only 10 bucks lighter after paying. That was a plus. The thinly sliced brisket had a lot of unrendered fat. It could have used a little bit more time in the smoker. The meat was tender, but if it was sliced thicker, it would have been chewier. The flavor and smoke was good though. The sparerib I got was not very meaty. It was also dry. I have never gotten the jalapeño and cheese sausage before. It was great. The grit and snap from the casing was on point. You can taste the chunks of cheese and jalapeño.



Take the drive to Lockhart. It is worth it to go to the original Black's. There is a lot of tradition and history that you miss out on at the Austin location. I am not going to grade this post because there are too many variables when you are transporting the food from one location to another. If the meat is smoked in Lockhart, why not just eat it there?  While you are there, hit up the other historic BBQ joints. Do not get me wrong. I have no issues in going to the Austin one. It is convenient, and the prices and hours are just right. The opening of Black's adds another solid barbecue option to the capital city of Texas. Grade: N/A



Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 3110 Guadalupe Street, Austin, TX 78705
Phone: (512) 524-0801
Website: http://blacksbbqaustin.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blacksbbqaustin
Twitter: https://twitter.com/blacksbbqaustin

Monday, January 19, 2015

Roegels Barbecue Co.


My parents were leaving for Vietnam next week so I had to make a quick run to Houston to pick up their house keys. We also met up with our friends for a birthday lunch at Pappasito's. I was not going to miss out on a chance for some barbecue so a second lunch was in the plans. After some research, I chose Roegels Barbecue Co. It used to be a franchise of Baker's Rib before Russell and Misty Roegels decided it was time to do things their way. I follow a ton of BBQ folks/joints on social media, and every time I see something about Roegels, it has been positive. It was also not far from where we ate lunch.


I wanted a slice of moist brisket, a link of mild sausage, and a pork rib. The guy working the counter was confused with my order. I just ate lunch and did not want a ton of food. He was like if you want to sample everything, get a three-meat plate plus it is a better deal. I was not going to argue with him. I was going to have leftover barbecue. Oh darn. The plate came with two sides, and I got coleslaw and macaroni and cheese. The thin slices of brisket I got were from the flat instead of the point so I missed out on the bark. The flavors and the smoke were on point. The texture was like roast beef though. It might have been better if I had some from the fatty side. I was disappointed in the brisket. The ribs were much better. The sweet black pepper rub and smoke made a great duo. Combine that with the tender meat, and you have a winner. Reheated the next day, they were still great. There was a lot of sausage on the plate. The sausage was tasty with a good snap from the casing. The homemade sides were superb. The macaroni and cheese was nice and cheesy. The coleslaw was fresh and crispy and tasted good. I felt sort of healthy eating in. I wanted to try the other sides too. They all looked delicious.


My first time to Roegels Barbecue Co will not be my last. Sure the brisket was not very good, but it was not terrible either. Owner/pitmaster Russell Roegels reached out to me after I posted my pictures on Instagram and facebook. He owned up to the quality of his product. I respect and admire that so I will give them another chance when I am in town. I am looking forward to it, but until then... Grade: C+


Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 2223 South Voss Road, Houston, TX 77057
Phone: (713) 977-8725
Website: http://www.roegelsbarbecue.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Roegels-Barbecue-Co
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thepigonvoss

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Stubb's BBQ


You can find Stubb's BBQ sauce in grocery stores all over the world. If you did not know, there is also a restaurant located in Austin. Stubb's actually started in my wife's hometown of Lubbock, Texas. Even President Barack Obama has stopped in here for lunch. The next time Obama was in town, he stopped at Franklin Barbecue. That man loves his barbecue. It has been a while since I have eaten at Stubb's. The last time I ate here was on a Sunday during brunch. You have to make a reservation to attend the Gospel Brunch. The brunch buffet features items like brisket, migas, catfish, and enchiladas with a live band for entertainment.

A friend took this picture in a Switzerland grocery store


It was freezing cold outside when I went, but it was nice and toasty inside. I got the three-meat plate with the Texas trinity of moist brisket, ribs, and house sausage with sides of serrano cheese spinach and hand-cut fries. The brisket had a thick red smoke ring. The meat was tender but lacked favor, and the crust had a creosote aftertaste. You can get creosote with too much smoke, stale smoke, or a dirty smoker. Air needs to flow efficiently through a smoker. The sauce did help mask the taste. The rub on the ribs tasted good and were also smoky. The ribs were soft but were dry on certain bites. The sausage was fine. It was heavy on black pepper, and I liked that. The casing was chewy though. The hand-cut fries were great. It tasted fresh and was a nice change of pace. The spinach was similar to a thicker creamed spinach with spicy undertones. It was served lukewarm but was tasty. I was so full after the meal. There was an all you can eat option during lunch. I would be useless at work the rest of the day if I had done that.


If you want to grab a quick bite when you are downtown, Stubb's BBQ is an okay option. For locals, it will probably be a disappointment, but for tourists, it might be one of their better BBQ experience. Amber and I see a lot of concerts here. It is not best venue to see a show because it can get hot outside. The beer prices are not bad, and they serve barbecue sandwiches. On the way back to work, I drove by Franklin hoping for a short line because of the lousy weather. To no avail, I kept on driving. Grade: C-


Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 801 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701
Phone: (512) 480-8341
Website: http://stubbsaustin.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StubbsAustin
Twitter: https://twitter.com/stubbsaustin

Monday, January 5, 2015

Smoke Shack BBQ


Amber's family met up in San Antonio for the holidays this year. It was another opportunity for me to explore more barbecue. Last time we visited San Antonio, we went to Two Bros. and The Granary. I have heard a lot of good things about the Smoke Shack BBQ so that was my vote for lunch. I guess I have a lot of pull in the family because that is where we went for lunch. Smoke Shack started in a food truck back in 2010 and opened up a brick and mortar location in 2014.


If I can, I would prefer to order combination plates over ordering meat by the pound. Normally they are better values, and you get sides with the meal. I got the three-meat plate with the Texas trinity of moist brisket, ribs, and sausage. It came with spicy cream corn and potato salad on the side. The brisket was good but nothing amazing. It was cooked on point. The oak/pecan kissed meat was nicely smoked and tender. I wanted a better bark with a little bit more flavor from the rub though. Dynamite. That is how I would describe the pork ribs. The sweet rub and smoke were balanced to perfection. The juicy meat gave little resistance to each bite. I could probably eat a whole rack of ribs by myself. It was just that good. It might be one of my favorites. The beef and pork blend sausage was solid. The casing was snappy, and the garlic and pepper made the sausage tasty. You can see that there was a lot of thought put into the homemade sides. The cream corn was not as creamy as I would like, but it was a good change of pace. There was a nice kick of spice. The potato salad was similar to a loaded baked potato but served cold. I tried some of my wife's macaroni and cheese. It was very cheesy and had bits of smoked meat in it.


If Smoke Shack was in Austin, I would go here a lot. It is good and has chicken tenders for the wife. They are open till 9 pm so you have time to stop in after work. The Congers have done a superb job with this joint. I am getting hungry thinking about them ribs. My only regret is for not getting the pulled pork on this trip. When people think of San Antonio, they do not think barbecue. Maybe they should. Grade: B


Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 3714 Broadway St, San Antonio, TX 78209
Phone: (210) 957-1430
Website: http://www.smokeshacksa.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/congerssmokeshack
Twitter: https://twitter.com/smokeshacksa

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rudy's Country Store And Bar-B-Q (Austin on 360)


I have not been to a Rudy's Country Store And Bar-B-Q in a long time. The last time I went, I had a bad experience. The four Rudy's located in Austin are owned by K&N Management. They also own Mighty Fine Burgers Fries & Shakes. A favorites of mine. The Rudy's off of 360 was one of the first barbecue joints I have eaten at. I remember the food being awesome, but I also had nothing better to compare it to back then. It was also all about the sauce at the time. I could drink that stuff. I really wanted barbecue this day and decided to give the Rudy's name a chance to redeem themselves.


Although it was lunch time and they were busy, the line moved at a brisk pace. I ordered a slice of moist brisket, one pork sparerib, a link of sausage, and a side of creamed corn. Before I sat down, I cleaned my hands in the automatic hand washer. It is a Jacuzzi for your hands and a perk for going to one of the Austin locations. The brisket looked sad but tasted better than it looked. I could not find a smoke ring, but you could taste the smoke in the crusty exterior. The meat was tender but bordering on dry. There was not a whole lot of flavor and could have used more fat. Perfect time to use their sauce. The pork rib had decent smoke and was soft and juicy. The meat gave little resistance to my teeth. The rub was tasty and complemented the meat well. The rib saved this meal. The sausage was solid. There was a nice pop from the casing, and the blend tasted fine. It was a little too greasy. The creamed corn was good as usual. The pickles and onions were free here.


Rudy's Country Store And Bar-B-Q is a good stop if you are in a hurry or need something to eat for dinner. The barbecue is just okay, but there are days it could surprise you. I have had better brisket from here before. Everything on the menu is pretty decent. My wife loves the chopped beef and chicken. The breakfast tacos are pretty good, and they smoke turkeys for the holidays. I have never had the baby back ribs, but you have to order them by the half rack. Someday. Grade: C

Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 2451 S. Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 329-5554
Website:
http://www.rudysbbq.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rudysbbq
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rudysbbq

Monday, December 22, 2014

Kent Black's Barbecue


Black's Barbecue is our favorite BBQ spot in Lockhart. We have had consistently good barbecue every time we go. Manager/Pitmaster Kent Black of the Lockhart location recently opened a place with his namesake in San Marcos. Kent is a third generation pitmaster, and his sons Barret and Eric are also helping him in San Marcos. I have been patiently waiting a couple of months to check them out because I wanted to give them some time to find their stride. My wife and I met up with friends here one evening. It is probably not the best time of the day to go judge the quality of barbecue though. Kent Black's is a huge space with a lot of indoor/outdoor seating to accommodate big parties. There is even a bar area.


Amber and I shared a sliced of moist brisket, a pork rib, a ring of sausage, and a little bit of turkey. We got smoked cabbage, macaroni and cheese, and green beans on the side. I had some Franklin Barbecue for lunch at work on this day so I was not hungry. The smoke on the brisket was nice, and the meat was tender. The brisket was dry, and I thought it also could use a lit bit more flavor. More pepper? I thought the pork rib was good. It was juicy, delicious, and smoky. The sausage was the same one they used in Lockhart. The sausage was good and tasty. The texture of the sausage and the snap from the casing were on point. I have yet to run across a German-style sausage that I do not like. The turkey was mostly for Amber, but I had to sample some. It was a smidgen dry, but it was not bad at all. I would not mind putting that between two slices of bread. The smoked cabbage was different but tasted good. I felt healthy while eating it. The macaroni and cheese hit the spot. I dislike green beans so it was all my wife's.


I try to be as transparent as possible with the blog. I am not getting paid so there is no reason for me to not to be. I could not get good pictures of the outside so I stopped by again during the day. I arrived to Kent Black's shortly after they had opened for the day. I could not pass on getting some brisket. The brisket was less dry than the first time. Besides the salty crust, there was not a lot of flavor after that. There was not a lot of fat left on it.


I would go back to Kent Black's Barbecue. I might have gone there on their off days. The prices are very affordable. I would go back and try the baby back ribs or the huge beef ribs. The first time I ever got beef short ribs was at Black's. I had no idea how big they were and ordered three. My wallet was 80 bucks lighter that day. Hays County BBQ remains as my go-to in San Marcos. Grade: B-


Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 500 Hull St, San Marcos, TX 78666
Phone: (512) 878-0795
Website:
http://www.kentblacksbbq.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kentblacksbbq
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KentBlacksBBQ