I don't like food that's too carefully arranged; it makes me think that the chef is spending too much time arranging and not enough time cooking. If I wanted a picture I'd buy a painting.

— Andy Rooney

Quick Stop at Millers Smokehouse

On the way down IH-35 to a conference in Austin, a collegue and I stopped into Miller's Smokehouse for dinner.  We departed Dallas in the late afternoon, and raced the clock to get to Belton before their 6:30pm closing time.  The traffic Gods smiled on us that day, and we arrived with a few minutes to spare.

The cashier is located near the kitchen, and we walked through the front dining room to get in line to place our order.  In our rush, we failed to fully coordinate our order, and both ended up with a two-meat plate of "brisket and sausage".

We did, however, manage to order different side items and were able to taste the beans, potato salad, cole slaw, and green beans.  The brisket on my plate was mostly lean slices with the bark trimmed away (In my haste, I had forgotten to request fatty/moist brisket).  The brisket was smoky and tender, but because it was trimmed of fat and bark, many of my slices begged for the addition of sauce for both flavor and moisture/mouthfeel.  My colleague, however, had scored more slices that were cut more from the "high" side with the bark intact.  These slices were tender and tasty all by themselves.  

The Zen of Brisket and Zin

 

Thanks to Matt Thompson and James Jordan of wineposte.com and Justin and Diane Fourton from Pecan Lodge for putting together a Zinfandal and Brisket pairing that was, for lack of a better term, awesome.  The selected zinfandels were delicious, and the casual atmosphere at The Wine Poste struck a tone that matched the event.

Richmond VA Mini-Tour

Year: 
2010

Doug, David, and SteveOn a visit to see Double-Boner in DC, he and Blair surprised me with a 1-day mini-tour in Raleigh, Virginia.  We had a nice time road-tripping, eating Q, and visiting with old friends.

The last stop of the tour blew my mind. It was the first time that I have ever been impressed with a chef-led, franchise-ready, strip-center barbecue restaurant.  Tuffy Stone's Q Barbeque was up to the task, and changed the way I think about strip-center bbq.

 

The Joints:

DFW Mini-Tour

Year: 
2013

Lockhart Front DoorA few DFW locals, including XO, Smoke Daddy, and Phil Chelf hit four barbecue joints in the area to keep our instincts honed and ready for the next full tour.  I have written a couple of blog posts related to the barbecue and craft brewing renaissance happening in the DFW area.  

Making a couple of 1/2-day excursions, we managed to piece together a mini-tour covering a few joints (and yes, you might see pictures of some "Mini-Me's" on these outings).  This may become a more normal mode of operation for us in the future, as large blocks of time for full tours seem to be few and far between these days.

The Joints:

Smoke Daddy's Review of Allen and Son

Weighted Overall
9.3

An excellent barbecue stop from start to finish.  Traditional methods & recipies; dedication to craft; and attention to detail produce great food and loyal customers.  Breadth of the menu did not dilute the quality of the barbecue.  This is a model of success that other restaurants should study.

MAIN FARE:The barbecue

  • Chopped - Hand Chopped. Even with the vinegar-based dip from the kitchen, the smoke comes shining through.  Many textures here: outside brown; shreds; chunks.  Excellent.

 

OTHER FARE:

Smoke Daddy's Review of Hurseys Barbecue

Weighted Overall
6.3

The barbecue was above average, but the strawberry cobbler was a winner.  Although the sliced was a bit dry, I preferred it over the chopped today.  While I enjoyed the flavors in the chopped, I just couldn't get over the mushy texture of the meat (machine processed).  Next time I will try the chicken and apple turnovers.

Hursey's Spread

MAIN FARE:

  • Sliced - There is a sweetness on the meat.  A bit of pink indicates smoke, but it is very mild.  Although appearances would lead you to believe it is too dry... it is not.
  • Chopped - Using a buffalo chopper... run very thoroughly.  Texture is mushy.  Dipped in the kitchen, it is a flavorful mix of meats.  

OTHER FARE:

Smoke Daddy's Review of Short Sugars Pit Bar-B-Q

Weighted Overall
7.75

I thought the sliced was better than the chopped today... primarily because it seemed the fresher of the two.  The atmosphere and dip are unique, and must be experienced.  

MAIN FARE:Short Sugar's Spread

  • Sliced - Smoky flavor does come through.  Fork tender, with a little chew.  Bonus for not being held in a steam pan.
  • Chop - More fat = more flavor! Mushy... this has been held awhile?  Chunks have a much better texture and smoke flavor.  I like the fact that it is hand-chopped.

OTHER FARE:

Smoke Daddy's Review of Fuzzys

Weighted Overall
5.8

This joint has a solid history and good local following.  My favorites were the banana pudding, Brunswick Stew, and BBQ Slaw.  

MAIN FARE:Fuzzy's Spread

  • Sliced - This has been in a steam tray for quite a while.  It is lean and very tender.  Would be good with some fried rice, or as sweet-and-sour pork.
  • Chopped - Buffalo chopper in use... meat is "minced".  Moist & Tender, but where is the smoke flavor?

OTHER FARE:

Smoke Daddy's Review of Deanos Barbecue

Weighted Overall
7.3

Solid joint with our favorites being the homemade banana pudding and pimento cheese.  Barbecue is good after being re-heated and held... but excellent when consumed fresh from the smoker.  Double-Boner takes a quart of pimento cheese to-go!

MAIN FARE:Deano's Banana Pudding

  • Course Chop - Tender meat. Pork chop flavors.  Moist & good.
  • Slice - Getting a lot more smoke flavor on the slice.  Very moist.
  • Both main fare products had been either steamed or re-heated
  • Deano brings some fresh outside brown.  This is fabulous!  Too bad we weren't served this at the start.

OTHER FARE:

Smoke Daddy's Review of M and K Barbecue and Country Cooking

Weighted Overall
5

The food was in the average to good range, but with much less smoke flavor than we're used to getting.  Because of time constraints, this joint was chosen over barbecue in Shelby.  Would should have kept on moving, because after being in Lexington earlier this afternoon, M&K doesn't make a lasting impression on us.

MAIN FARE:M&K Spread

  • Slice - Tender & moist.  Not sauced/dipped in the kitchen.  Less smoke that we've seen elsewhere today.  Baked?
  • Chop - Good mix of meats here.  Very moist/wet/watery (steam tray?).

OTHER FARE:

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