Monday, November 24, 2014

Famous Dave's


My last barbecue experience outside of the state of Texas was not so good. I was in Colorado Springs for work, and none of the barbecue was noteworthy. This time, work had me going to Cleveland, OH. I was born and raised in the Cleveland area. When I was a kid, I remember eating ribs and liking it. That was my extent of Cleveland "barbecue." I had trouble finding a barbecue restaurant that served brisket. I made a mistake to stop by the "best" barbecue restaurant in the area. They only served ribs, wings, and fried chicken. Crud. Any other day that would have sounded good, but I was on a mission. I ended up going to Famous Dave's. They are a national chain and even have a location in Texas.


I ordered the St Louis spareribs and Texas brisket combo plate with two sides. The sides were fresh steamed broccoli and Dave's Cheesy Mac & Cheese. I also got a link of hot sausage. The brisket was just terrible. I ordered moist and got lean. I think? It tasted like a dry pot roast with barbecue sauce on it. I am not sure why the brisket was served on top of a slice of bread. I might have tasted some smoke, but I was not sure. I only had a few bites of it. That was not definitely Texas brisket. The ribs were a little better. They were tough and I thought they were grilled because I tasted no smoke. Although the sauce was sweet, it did hide the deficiency of the ribs. I only ate one and half ribs. The sausage was awful for smoked sausage. It was gray inside instead of a red color throughout. It was not smoked long enough. I had two bites of the sausage. Even the macaroni and cheese was not good. How do you screw that up? It had bits of corn and jalapeno in it. I did enjoy the steamed broccoli and cornbread though.


I asked the waiter at Famous Dave's what the cooking process was. The meats are smoked and then reheated on the grill when someone orders it. I had a lot of leftovers. I took the food to go because I felt bad. I thought I might see a homeless person and give them the food. I saw a picture of Ruby's B-B-Q when the owner visited Texas. I wished it was good as Ruby's B-B-Q. I would have been ecstatic if that was the case. After my visit, Famous Dave's was voted best in Cleveland. Most of us already feel sorry for the people of Cleveland, but this has to be the icing on the cake. When I was leaving, I saw another barbecue chain down the street. Smokey Bones. I might try it the next time I am in town for work. Maybe. Grade: N/A

Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 26410 Great Northern Shop Center, North Olmsted, OH 44070
Phone: (440) 777-0200
Website:
http://www.famousdaves.com/north-olmsted
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FamousDavesNorthOlmsted
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Famous_Daves

Monday, November 17, 2014

Killen's Barbecue Pop-up (Austin)


When Killen's Barbecue announced they were doing a pop-up, I was excited. I did not have to drive to Pearland to get their phenomenal 'cue. You can check out my original review of them here. There has been a BBQ feud on Twitter between Killen's and John Mueller Meat Co. Ronnie Killen has decided to show up on John's home turf and show who's boss. I think the situation is funny, but the general public will benefit from it. They will have an opportunity to sample Ronnie's work without driving as far.

Free Beer!
Louie Mueller Pit

The event was held at Foreign & Domestic. FND is a locally owned restaurant that serves seasonal American-European fare. Ronnie and his crew were up all night smoking the 1500 pound of meat they brought in. It was a cold night and was below freezing. Props to them because I am sure they are not used to these kinds of temperatures. They did not bring their huge Klose smoker because they had trouble getting it to Austin. Instead they brought the smaller Lang, and Wayne Mueller of Louie Mueller Barbecue was nice to lend them his huge Klose. I arrived at Foreign & Domestic just before 10 AM, and there were only a few people waiting around. There was free beer provided by Saint Arnold. I was on my lunch break so I had to pass. The line was about 50 people or so deep when the food was starting to be served.


I got excited last time I went to Killen's and probably ordered too much. I was a little overwhelmed with the seven different types of meat in front of me. This time they had brisket, beef ribs, pork ribs, and jalapeño sausage to choose from. I went with the usual moist brisket, pork ribs, and sausage. The brisket was great again. It had a crunchy bark from the pepper and smoke. It was tender and moist. The pork ribs were soft and juicy. The meat was coming off the bone and had a nice sweet finish from the rub. I liked the jalapeño sausage more than the original sausage. It had a little bit more heat and flavor. The coarse grit and fat were on point. The casing could barely hold the meat in.


It was another great showing by Killen's Barbecue in spite of the weather. It makes me want to drive back to Pearland. What we need to think about is will Ronnie move into the Austin barbecue scene? I actually talked to my wife about this before he announced the pop-up. He has done a few festivals here already. Austin has not yet reached a BBQ saturation especially of good BBQ. There are still long lines at Franklin Barbecue and La Barbecue. I like what he did with the Pearland location. I wish the land in Austin was more affordable to pull it off. The suburbs might be his best bet. Kyle, Buda, Pflugerville, or Round Rock? Anything along Interstate 35 would be a big hit.


Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 3613 E Broadway St, Pearland, TX 77581
Phone: (281) 485-2272
Website: http://killensbarbecue.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KillensBbq
Twitter: https://twitter.com/killensbbq

Monday, November 10, 2014

Front Range Barbeque


I was in Colorado Springs for a few days for work. I had gone to Bird Dog BBQ the day before. I was going to give Colorado barbecue another shot. According to others, Front Range Barbeque seemed like a good place to go. You cannot always trust reviews though. Most places have good and bad days. You just never know. That is why I tell everyone to use my reviews as a guide. Front Range Barbeque uses mesquite pellets in their smoker. I have not had meat smoked by wood pellets before.


I ordered the Frontier Combo which consisted of ribs plus two meats and two sides. I got moist brisket, sausage, and sides of coleslaw and red beans and rice. The brisket was terrible. It tasted like it was a pot roast cooked in beer. I could not eat more than one slice. It was dry, and if I would venture to say, it was probably smoked a day or two ago. This is probably the first time I have been served reheated brisket. The ribs came naked which meant no sauce on it. They were tender and falling of the bone, but there was not a lot of rub or flavor. They were also dry. The sausage was another commercial sausage made for them in Denver. It was just okay. If I would guess, the sausage was smoked and then reheated on a grill when it was ready to be served. The sides were bland. I did not finish all of the meat or sides. I just could not enjoy the meal. The cornbread was the best thing of the meal if that tells you something.


Front Range Barbeque does serve other meats on the menu. I am pretty sure I would not be stopping by again. I just do not agree with how they do their barbecue at Front Range. Just say no to reheated barbecue and yes to fresh smoked meat. I felt bad for the waitress. She knew I did not like it, but there was nothing she could have done. There is a Rudy's Country Store And Bar-B-Q in Colorado Springs if anyone wanted to know. I have yet to try it though, but I would imagine it is the best choice in Colorado Springs. Grade: N/A

Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 2330 W Colorado Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80904
Phone: (719) 632-2596
Website:
http://www.frbbq.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frbbq
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FRBBQ

Monday, November 3, 2014

CorkScrew Barbecue


On this particular Saturday, Amber and I were going to Spring to attend a friend's party. I only slept only an hour or so Thursday night because I participated in a relay race from Austin to Corpus Christi. Trying to wake up early this morning was not easy at all. I wanted to stop by CorkScrew Barbecue before the party. I knew there was going to be a line, but we could not wake up/leave early enough. We had to deal with traffic as we made our way through the northern parts of Houston. When we got there, it was around 11 am, and we had to wait in line for an hour and a half to order. Although it was located in a trailer, there was an awning and fans to combat the Texas heat. That is an added plus for the customer's experience. This was the only Houston area BBQ joint that I had not been to off the Texas Monthly Top 50 list.


When I got to the counter, they had just run out of beef ribs. Oh well, next time. I went with the three-meat plate with the usual moist brisket, pork ribs, and sausage. I got macaroni and cheese and coleslaw on the side. I enjoyed the brisket. It was simply delicious. The smoky meat just fell apart in your mouth. It had a silky soft bark with a ton of flavor. The meaty pork rib was good. It had a nice amount of smoke, and the meat gave very little resistance as you bite into it. It tasted fine, but I wanted something more from the rub though. The sausage they used was tasty. I got a nice snap from the casing, and the texture was fine. I ate everything off of my tray including the sides. The mac and cheese was cheesy enough, and the coleslaw was crisp and fresh.


After Austin, I think Houston is my second favorite barbecue town in Texas. I might have to move here soon. Add CorkScrew Barbecue to Killen's and Gatlin's and you have a great trio. When I am in the area again, I will give the pulled pork, beef rib, and spicy sausage a try. The loaded baked potatoes were huge and looked awesome. When we were leaving, I noticed another BBQ restaurant in the same shopping center. Pit Master BBQ recently won best barbecue in The Woodlands. I wonder if those that voted for Pit Master had also been to CorkScrew before. Grade: B+


Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: Old Town, 26608 Keith St, Spring, TX 77373
Phone: (832) 592-1184
Website: http://www.corkscrewbbq.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Corkscrew-BBQ/106714476033357
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CorkscrewBBQ