Tuesday, April 26, 2016

South Austin BBQ (closed)

For whatever reason, we do not eat barbecue very often in our little town of Kyle. We have been to Milt's a handful of times. I think it is because Amber is with me when I am at home, and BBQ is not her first choice. I was excited when South Austin BBQ opened up in Kyle about six months ago. It took over the spot along I-35 where Milt's vacated when they moved. It is a family ran business with John Zamora Sr and Jr. Do not Google just South Austin BBQ. You will never find it. Add Kyle to the search.
Amber and I stopped in for lunch on a Tuesday. There are quite a few options of meat on the menu. Not many places I go to offer plates anymore so I was excited to see a 3-meat plate for twelve bucks. Count me in with moist brisket, pork ribs, and sausage. Amber got a Z-Bowl which is essential Frito pie with no cheese. The brisket was okay. It was falling apart and tasted fine. The ribs had a good flavor and were smoky, but they were dry and looked old. They were closed Sunday and Monday so hopefully I was not fed Saturday's ribs. Although the sausage was on the greasy side, it had a nice texture and snap to the casing. Beans were fine and nothing special to note about the potato salad. You get a huge portion with the Z-Bowl. It will fill you up. I wish it came with cheese. It would have brought everything together better.
I was a little disappointed in this visit. I guess I was expecting great things. I will give South Austin BBQ another shot considering it is so close to our house. I might stop in during the weekend next time. I am changing up my grading system. If I thought the barbecue was average or below average, I am going to lump them together as Other. People get really defensive or go on the offensive when the grade is low. I do not have time for all that shenanigans. The places that are above average deserve a little more recognition for what they are doing.
Until next time, happy smoking...

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Smoked Fried Chicken

Or is it fried smoked chicken?

I love fried chicken. I am a fan of smoked chicken. I came up with the notion to combine the two a long time ago. I just have not had the chance to put this idea into fruition. Recently I found out that a place in Houston that does smoked fried chicken, but no places I can think of does this in the Austin area. Hint, hint.

This is not a recipe. This post is merely me experimenting and documenting it. You can adapt anything I do to your own personal taste.
Brined chicken
Salt and pepper
Smoked chicken
I brined the chicken overnight in salt and sugar. I did not want the meat to dry out especially with the two-step cooking process. I decided on thighs and legs because they are smaller and easier to deal with than breasts.  I dried the chicken the next day and seasoned them with salt and pepper. Cold smoking is the probably the best way to do it, but my current setup is a piece so I knew it was going to be impossible. I am greedy with smoke flavor so I left the pieces in the smoker for two hours. When I pulled them, the internal temperature was at 160 degrees. In the end it did not matter, but next time, I would remove them from the smoke bath earlier. Frying the chicken will bring the internal temperature higher anyways. 
Louisiana hot sauce and buttermilk dredge
All-purpose flour and cayenne pepper
Chicken ready to be fried
Frying chicken
The chicken rested and cooled down for a little bit. I double dredged the chicken to get a crispier and crunchier texture. The wet ingredients were Louisiana hot sauce and buttermilk and the dry were all-purpose flour and cayenne pepper. I prefer a lot of heat. The coated chicken hung out for 30 minutes on a wire rack before I threw them in the 350 degrees oil. We have an electric stove, and it sucks. We wish we had the choice of gas in our neighborhood. It is tough to maintain a consistent temperature. It took about nine minutes for the pieces to get to a golden brown color. The internal temperature was 180 degrees. I let them dry and cool down on a wire rack.
Smoked & fried chicken

The smoked fried/fried smoked chicken was delicious. There was a ton of flavor. Each bite had a deep smoke taste. The skin was crispy and crunchy. My wife made some homemade mashed potatoes, and I even pickled some jalapeƱos to complement the meal. It was fun to bring my idea to life. I am not sure I would do this again though. It was just too much work in my opinion. If someone else was doing the cooking, I would gladly eat it.

Until next time, happy smoking...

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

King's Hwy Brew & Q

I did a barbecue run to San Antonio on a Tuesday recently. I wanted to try the Tuesday only pastrami beef rib special from The Granary 'Cue & Brew. It was delicious and worth the drive, but I was going to make the most of my time in SA and hit another couple of stops. Emilio Soliz used to be the pitmaster at Two Bros BBQ Market before he went on his own and started Sweet Christi's BBQ (named after his wife). King's Hwy Brew & Q was born when the owners of Taps y Tapas changed their menu, and Emilio took over at the helm. The name King's Hwy comes from the area of Five Points crossing with the El Camino Real or "The Kings Highway." King's Hwy has been open for about five months now.
I was the only customer there when I arrived. It was prime lunch time, but it was also a Tuesday. The menu had quite a few options. Meat by the pound, sandwiches, street tacos, and even tortas (Mexican sandwiches). I ordered some moist brisket, Sweet Tea Glazed pork ribs, and a sausage link with a pork belly taco. When I got my food, everything looked yummy. The brisket was lean which back in the day would bother me. Mistakes happen but a good lean brisket can go a long way. This one was a little dry and chewy. The flavor and smoke were on-point. The brisket could have used a little longer bath in the smoker to render the fat more. It reminded me of the one from Two Bros. The Sweet Tea Glazed pork ribs were really good. The rub with the tender rib meat tasted delicious. The meat could barely stay on the bone, and you noticed the sweet glaze in every bite. There was nothing special about the commercial sausage they use. The casing was snappy and was a good complement on the menu. You guys know I am a sucker for pork belly so I had to get it on a taco. The tortillas are not made in-house but by a local place. The fresh tortilla with the pork belly made for an excellent match. The pork was salty, peppery, and fatty which I love and combine it with some smoke, made for some delicious bites. The taco combo is a great deal. Four tacos and a side for six bucks!
With the name of King's Hwy Brew & Q, you would think the barbecue would be secondary here. It is not. The name should have been the other way around. They did have quite a few numbers of craft beers on tap. It would be definitely a cool place to chill and grab a brew and some quality 'cue. The brunch menu looks tempting. I need to bring my wife here someday for it. I am still surprised at how dead it was at lunch given the quality of the barbecue. I stopped on the way out of town at Smoke Shack BBQ to get a Rueben sandwich. Tasty. #yearofpastrami Grade: B-
Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 1012 N Flores St, San Antonio, TX 78212
Phone: (210) 277-7174
Website: http://www.kingshwybnq.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kingshwybrewnq/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kingshwybnq