Smoke Daddy's Review of Corkscrew BBQ
The moist brisket was so good that despite everything else proving a letdown, it still rates as a positive experience. Yes, the brisket was THAT good! The learning curve to get consistently good barbecue from an Oyler pit is steep... I hope Will Buckman can meet the challenge, but as of today he's still got some work to do.
Cathy and I drove directly from Dallas on Saturday, and arrived at Corkscrew BBQ just before 1pm. I was worried that it was too late... but since were there, we decided to take our chances with the slow-moving line. As we wait, I can't help but notice the J&R Oyler pit that stands alongside the BBQ pavilion... and although I can't remember the whole history off the top of my head, something tells me this is a new development here (Validated by JC Reid's Houston Chronicle article reporting that the new pit was installed in August 2014). They run out of ribs while we are in line... darn.
- Brisket - We asked for "moist" brisket. This is a winner, winner, chicken dinner! Fully rendered fat, great beef flavor, good texture with the outside edges, and great salt, pepper, and spice rub on the outside. Clean smoke profile here... great care must've been taken with these. Note: Saturdays are beef rib days, so it is possible that beef ribs and brisket get special treatment on that day.
- Pulled Pork (Because they are out of ribs) - This is a mistake. They try to cover it with vinegar and red pepper flakes, but the meat has been tainted by bad smoke. Once it penetrates the meat, there is no way to take it out (or cover it up). After two bites to determine what the heck is going on, I am done with this.
- Sausage (regular) - We are told that they contract with a real meat market to make these links to their specifications. Wow, really? I'm not a fan of the spice profile or of the texture (large clumps of hard fat). If you dunk the slices into the sauce, it improves them greatly -- because you taste the sauce rather than the sausage. Maybe the hot link would be better???
- Chopped brisket - This actually seems like a combination of burnt ends and chopped brisket, or maybe the whole lot is put back onto the smoker. I like the concept and the heterogeneous texture, but the smoke profile here is less than clean. Even though they sauce it up, smoke quality issues are prevalent here.
- Spare Ribs/Beef Ribs - They were sold out by the time we reached the counter. However, if they treat these the same way they handled the sliced brisket, I imagine they would be very good.
- Beans - A fairly solid rendition of baked (or maybe smoked) beans. Some bits of meat and fat thrown in for flavor. On the sweeter side of the spectrum, but nothing like East Texas.
- Cole Slaw - Very light cream-based sauce with paprika and cayenne. Bland.
- Sauce - I think I liked it, but wouldn't have wanted it on the moist brisket... just a distraction. Keep it handy to dip your bread into and to cover flavors that you might not like (sausage, pork, chopped). It is served at room temperature, but I think it would be better if served warm.
- I understand the mac & cheese and cobbler are supposed to be good... will try them next time.
- The cooler of free beer on the patio helped with the hospitality vibe, and definitely made waiting line feel more like a social event than drudgery. Otherwise, they are BYOB.
- Beanbag toss in the grassy area beside the line
- Outside (covered) seating area with picnic tables
- Order at the trailer window, credit cards accepted
- It has a comfortable feel. Folks sit around chatting after finishing their meal, not in a hurry to rush off (or feeling pressured by the number of people in line to keep tables turning).
- We luck out on the weather, and draw a cool, crisp, fall afternoon.