Monday, September 21, 2015
I just realized that this my first review in two months. I am still eating barbecue a few times a week. I got my blood checked out recently, and my cholesterol is looking good. Over Labor Day Weekend, Amber and I headed to Houston to spend time with a few of our friends. The BBQ destination on this trip was Pappa Charlies Barbeque. We met up with Houston BBQ bloggers Bryan, Scott, and Andrew.
Owner/pitmaster Wes Jurena participated in competition BBQ as a hobby. When he lost his previous job, he turned BBQ into a career and opened up the Pappa Charlies trailer. The trailer is located at Jackson's Watering Hole. Wes had the soft opening for their brick and mortar location yesterday (9/20) actually. He smokes his meats hot and fast so a brisket could be finished in five hours. To win on the barbecue competition circuit, you have to do what it takes to win so all kind of spices and injections are used. Wes has learned from John Mueller of John Mueller Meat Co to keep it simple with salt and pepper on the brisket after an event they did together.
I ordered all the smoked meat available this day. Moist brisket, pork rib, turkey, and short ribs burnt ends. I had to add some of the macaroni and cheese that people keep talking about. The 44 Farms brisket was good. It was tender but not as smoky. The salt and pepper rub gave it a nice taste and texture but also let the beef flavor shine through. One bite into the rib and my lips were burning. A good burn. The fiery glaze was also sweet and made the rib a treat to eat. The juicy meat came away from the bone cleanly. I am not a turkey person, but the turkey here was great. The combination of the peppery crust and the moist meat won me over.
The star of the show was the short rib burnt ends. Meat candy. The blissful nuggets were outstanding. Wes smoked boneless short ribs, cubed them, sauced, and threw them back on to the pit. The result was this tender, smoky, flavorful bundle of joy. The macaroni and cheese lived up to the hype. The cheesy and gooey goodness was a delight. I will add brisket to it next time. Wes brought some tri tip slices and tri tip sliders out for us to try. The meat was good, but I prefer fattier cuts of beef. I told him he should name the sliders after me because of the Asian influences.
Once Wes gets his brick and mortar up and running (it's open now), the future for Pappa Charlies Barbeque will be even brighter. No more dealing with the elements and having time and space constraints. Imagine if he had a full kitchen to work. The tacos looked tasty, and the other homemade sides are worth a look. I missed out on the beef ribs and prime rib on this trip. It will not escape me for long. Grade: B+
Until next time, happy smoking...
Address: 2012 Rusk St, Houston, TX 77003
Phone: (832) 940-1719
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
My wife and I were going to Houston to spend time with our friends over Labor Day weekend. Amber and I have an agreement where I can only have one barbecue stop per trip. We met some BBQ friends on Saturday at Pappa Charlies Barbeque. I will post the review soon. While in town, I saw on Twitter that Gatlin's BBQ was going to do a preview at the new location on Monday. I talked the wife into stopping by. We had some crêpes at Sweet Paris in Rice Village for brunch so she was not hungry. I ate half of mine to save room for some 'cue.
Pitmaster/owner Greg Gatlin announced in December 2014 that they were going to move to a bigger location. If you had not been, the prior space was small and tight. There was not a lot of seating available. The lease at the old location had run out in February, and Greg and company were forced to move sooner than expected. They have been operating out of a food truck since. Greg is also a partner of Jackson Street BBQ located near Minute Maid Park.
The preview was taking place between 11AM-2PM. When we got there a little after 12PM, the line for food was snaking through the restaurant. The wait had to be over an hour long. We were not going to stick around because we wanted to make it back to Austin at a reasonable time. I did take a picture of Michael Fulmer's tray. Thanks to him for letting me do so. The sampler plates were $15 bucks, and in return, you received two meats and two sides with a drink. Brisket, ribs, sausage, and pork ribs were the choices.
Officially, Gatlin's BBQ will start serving lunch this Friday, September 11th to the public. The new spot is much bigger and more open. There is a lot of seating and two dining areas. I am excited for them as they begin their next chapter. I am looking forward to my next visit. I think I would have to order everything off of the menu. Who is in? On the way out of town, I stopped by Pho Saigon in Katy because I was starving. FYI- I was really impressed by it.