Monday, July 20, 2015

TMBBQ Behind the Pit Dinner - Franklin Barbecue

No line outside of Franklin Barbecue

Sometimes I feel like an advocate for Texas Monthly BBQ. I have blogged numerous times about their events. They do curate some cool ass stuff. I had an opportunity recently to attend the TMBBQ Behind the Pit Dinner at Franklin Barbecue. It was sponsored by 44 Farms, Yeti Coolers, and Lonestar Beer.

The event itself was very intimate. There were no more than 60 people present. You did not have to wait in line for hours upon hours to order your food. The meats were sliced by owner/pitmaster Aaron Franklin at the counter and brought out to the tables. You should watch the BBQsnob's Instgram video of Aaron slicing brisket. It is mesmerizing.

Aaron slicing a 44 Farm brisket
Aaron cutting some 44 Farm beef ribs

Brisket, beef ribs, pork ribs, and sausage were served at the event. Aaron normally smokes Creekstone products at his restaurant. For the event, he used the beef from 44 Farms. He had some challenges with the meat (smaller briskets with less of a point), but the results were still the same. Spectacular. The brisket did taste more beefy. The beef ribs were heavenly as well. They were tender, had a nice amount of smoke, and rich in flavor. Remember you can only get beef ribs on Saturdays. I do not think I will ever have the time to wait in line on a Saturday for one of those.

Pile O' Meat
We are not here for this...

There was a Q&A session with Texas Monthly BBQ editor Daniel Vaughn and Aaron. I learned that one of Aaron's guilty pleasures is eating tacos from Taco Bell.

Daniel Vaughn and Aaron Franklin

We also got a tour of the smokehouse. It was blazing hot in there. The summer heat and the fires in the smokers are a bad combination. I only lasted for a brief moment; just long enough to take some shots.

View of the Capitol
The Man, The Myth, The Legend

If you ever get a chance to get into TMBBQ Behind the Pit Dinner, do it. It is really an awesome experience. The atmosphere is a lot more chill than normal. Eat great BBQ. Check. Drink a few beers and relax. Check. A chance to win a Yeti. Check. Tickets are limited so pay attention to the TMBBQ website for dates and details. Join their club to get early access to the tickets. Everyone attending the event will enjoy it. Well, unless you are a vegetarian... 

Stack of Post Oak

Until next time, happy smoking...

Monday, July 13, 2015

Evie Mae's Pit Barbecue

Amber and I were going to Lubbock for July 4th weekend. It was a great chance to shoot off fireworks because I cannot do so in our neighborhood. The Shack BBQ has been our go-to barbecue joint in my wife's hometown. A few of months ago when one of Amber's friend said that Evie Mae's Pit Barbecue is Texas Monthly's Top 50 worthy, I totally dismissed that statement. I said to myself, "People in Lubbock do not know good barbecue." Back in April, I was in Lubbock for less than 24 hours, and they were not open on the weekends. Terrible timing. When Daniel Vaughn visited, he had lots of good things to say about it. I knew it was time to stop by Evie Mae's the next time we rolled through the LBK. We were coming into town for a birthday celebration and a funeral. I made sure that we got there a day early.

Old Menu. The menu has since changed.

Husband and wife duo, Arnis and Mallory, opened the BBQ trailer back in February of this year in Wolfforth. Wolfforth is about five miles outside of the Lubbock city limits. Nothing is far in Lubbock. The two knew each other while growing up in New Mexico, right on the Texas border. They started a landscaping business in Tucson, Arizona after Arnis attended landscape design school there. Arnis took up smoking meat as a hobby and ended up building a reverse flow smoker on a trailer. It ended up turning into a one day a week gig out of a little trailer. The right opportunity came along, and they sold their landscaping business. Most of their family is Lubbock or just across the border in New Mexico. They upgraded their trailer, decided to do barbecue full time, and got back to Texas as fast as they could. Evie Mae's is named after their daughter.

Some of the best BBQ around.

Amber, her brother, Zach, and I shared a two-meat plate of brisket and sausage and a pork rib plate. We ordered sides of green chile cheese grits, smoked beans, potato salad, and cornbread. One bite into the brisket and I was impressed. The apple and oak wood slow danced with the brisket for over 10 hours, and the results were superb. The meat was tender and smoky, and the fat was rendered perfectly. The salt and pepper rub gave the brisket enough flavor. This brisket rivals some of the good ones in Texas. When I was eating, I actually thought it reminded me of La Barbecue's with less rub. The meaty pork ribs were great. They were juicy and soft with a little resistance. The meat was kissed with a nice amount of smoke, and their BBQ sauce gave it a touch of sweetness. The pork sausage was a custom blend made for them. It had New Mexico influences with green chiles carrying the majority of the spice. It was good and had enough fat without being overly greasy. The grit gave it a nice texture, and the casing was snappy. The end pieces of brisket on the plates were divine. A little piece of heaven on earth. #meatcandy

Mallory loves to cook so she is in charge of that side of the business. Everything was made from scratch. The green chile cheese grits reminded me of Micklethwait's. They were creamy and rich. My wife and I do not like grits, but we enjoyed them. The potato salad was pretty standard. The smoked beans were out of this world. They sit in the smoker for five hours under the beef ribs. They had a nice balance of spiciness and sweetness with a huge depth of flavor. The cornbread would make any granny proud. They were moist and fantastic. I ate the last bite, and my wife was disappointed it was all gone. Mallory says she wants to open a bakery someday. I would be excited to visit if that ever goes into fruition.

I am already asking my wife when we are going back to Lubbock. I lived there for two and half years while Amber was in law school and did not have the best experience. That tells you something about the BBQ that Evie Mae's is putting out. I do regret not trying the turkey, pulled pork, and the beef ribs. Next time for sure. There was more than enough food for the three of us. They are now open Thursday through Saturday so you can get your barbecue fix on the weekend. Evie Mae's Pit Barbecue is also a perfect destination for those who are on road trips. The indoor seating to get out of the extreme West Texas weather is an added bonus. Grade: A-

Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 217 Highway 62, Wolfforth, TX 79382
Phone: (806) 782-2281

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Killen's Barbecue (Revisit)

It has been almost a year since I have been to Killen's Barbecue in Pearland. I have had them since at the TMBBQ Fest, the pop-up in Austin, and the HouBBQ Festival. Still not enough times for me though. Amber and I were going to Houston for a wedding so a stop at Killen's was in order. I met some of the Houston BBQ folks (Michael, Bryan, Scott, and Andrew) there.

The Food Network recently announced Killen's as the number 2 spot for BBQ in America. That Saturday on social media, there were pictures of hordes of people waiting. The line wrapped around the parking lot. I got there a little bit before 9 AM on Sunday and was second line. That is not bad at all. Taking a number and hanging out is a plus here. Standing around in a line is no fun. Killen's did not have free beer today because they were so busy the day before.

One reason I wanted to go on Sunday was for the fried chicken special. It is only available on Sundays. I have been craving fried chicken of late, and every time I see Ronnie Killen put up a picture, my mouth waters. Fried chicken with an added bonus of superb barbecue? Count me in. We ordered a fried chicken plate, beef rib plate, and quarter pound of bone-in pork belly, moist brisket, and the jalapeño sausage. We got sides of beans, macaroni and cheese, creamed corn, and mashed potatoes and gravy. Amber added some banana pudding to the order.

I am not a fried chicken expert, but it was pretty damn good. It was crispy and had a ton of flavor. You get four pieces of chicken which is a lot of food. I want to see a place out there that smokes their chicken first and then fries it. That would be awesome. The mashed potatoes were creamy and delicious. The creamed corn is gold here. It is rich and wonderful. I could probably eat a gallon of it. No joke. The beef rib plate is one of the better deals out there. For sixteen bucks, you get a good-sized rib with two sides. The beef rib was on-point today. Crusty, tender, and smoky. We basically tried all of the meats at table, and they were all great. I tried the jalapeño sausage for the first time. It was good, but I prefer the new regular blend of brisket, pork belly, and bacon better. Smoked chicken was also a special on this Sunday, but none of us ordered it. Next time for sure.

Killen's Barbecue has not disappointed me. From the smoked meats, to the sides, and to the desserts, they deserve their high regards. Ronnie and his crew are firing on all cylinders and delivers on their motto, "The Best Barbecue, Period!" I think the trip here just for the fried chicken is worth it. The excellent BBQ is gravy at that point. This is one of my all-time favorite places from top to bottom. Houston barbecue keeps getting better and better, and Killen's is leading the way.

Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 3613 E Broadway St, Pearland, TX 77581
Phone: (281) 485-2272