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    Highland Village Texas
  1. When you get to City Market, please take some photos of the inside.....especially as you enter into the pit room. City Market was one of my favorites....I thought the sausage was unique . the photos of the pits are great....
  2. And TexNewMex, somewhere you said that the ribs at one of the places was "fall off the bone." You'll learn that in Texas, that's no compliment. All it means is that the ribs were overdone, and had been cooked to mush, which anybody can do. The ribs that you had during your trek undoubtedly did not, for the most part anyway, "fall off the bone." Rather, they had a good, meaty texture, offered a little resistance to the tooth, and had to be pulled from the bone. If you enter your ribs in a barbecue competition, and they "fall off the bone," they'll be disqualified. ← It was the Baby back ribs at Schoepf's........ mushy....no way! Overdone.....not really...... good......Hell yea! Thank God I wasn't at a BBQ competition....I would have missed out. The ribs that you had during your trek undoubtedly did not, for the most part anyway, "fall off the bone." Rather, they had a good, meaty texture, offered a little resistance to the tooth, and had to be pulled from the bone. A perfect explanation of the ribs that I experienced on the trip! Except the baby backs
  3. I am close to doing the same thing.....I keep thinking about them and I would really like to taste them again...luckily I have a wedding reception to go to in Austin at the end of October....so there is sausage in my future.....I just hope I can wait it out. Check out Mueller's site.....Sausage..........go to photos and then to Process and there are some great photos of Bobby Mueller making sausage.
  4. No, I don’t think most do. I think that was all me.......I would really classify it as a Roadwich. I think the reason I said hoagie, was because that’s what my grandma called that type of bread.... oblong split top with sesame seeds......I had never really thought about what defines a hoagie. When we were visiting her house and happened to get hungry all of us kids would run into the sewing room and she would be in there doing some grandmaly type task .........she would of course act putout and busy and just say.... "why don’t you throw some ham on a hoagie roll" That was the only bread in the pantry, besides the generic black and white labeled bread from piggly wiggly.
  5. I am not sure.....it has something to do with germans and immigrants, I wish I knew the whole story, but I know someone who could probably tell you...... Jaymes is the one with the BBQ history knowledge.
  6. To make it easier when you get here..........You can have this.
  7. 1. Brisket Kruez was good, City Market very good as well I liked the smoke flavor, the crust and the clear meat Pure Flavor. 2.Ribs Smitty's and Saltlick were Great! The Ribs were tender nice pink color...flavor, flavor, flavor Cooked on sauce was the ringer here.... 3.Sausage City Market..... I loved the hand made sausage rings...like I eluded to earlier....I had never tasted anything like it....awesome! Also, I can't be held responsible for saying one is my favorite and down the road something else is my favorite.....at some point it starts to run together...next year I am taking a minidisc so I can make a good voice recording...sort of like a medical examiner..... "slight smoke ring on the anterior end of rib some bruising" Did I say next year?
  8. You know what?.....It really is Great!.......Honestly, I had my doubts....I use to ask myself what the hubbub was all about and now that I have seen it, smelled it, tasted it and experienced the smoke the heat and met the people who create it.......I can say that they make something very special down there.....it may sound cheesy, but its true. I think its like that all over the US........I bet on the coast in Maine it’s the same with, maybe......... Lobster Rolls .......I bet there are tons of places to have one and each place is unique in its own way, the cuisine is probably steeped in as much tradition as Texas BBQ. and I am sure the south.....Memphis, KC, Atlanta, NC have something to say about the subject also.
  9. any final thoughts? Actually the trip was an eye opener for the most part, I guess I have always taken BBQ for granted.....I thought the local chains were good enough for the occasional dinner, but now...maybe in a pinch..... when I am in search of bbq and they don't have a pit....not worth the time! I am a little bias now. I think I am going to visit a couple of chains, just see what I use to eat. Do you crave cue at all even? As much as I want to say no.....I can't lie....during the third post the photos were making me hungry, so I took some of the beef I had chopped up out of the freezer, mixed it with a little sauce...heated it up and made a little sandwich....I wanted to recreate a real sandwich....so the bun had to be toasted just right.......I may have a sickness! Excuse the plate, those are the only one's I get to use. If the president came to dinner, we might get to use the vera wang. Any standouts? The one place that I enjoyed for all around food, setting, people....was Louie Mueller's in Taylor. What single item was the best? I liked the Prime Rib at Cooper's....it was great. Which place do you wish you'd eaten the cue on site at? I wish I could have stayed and eaten at City Market and/or Smitty's those were the two places I really wanted to hang out for awhile.......and Mueller's...its so hard to choose. Thank you on the kitchen....it would be nicer if we had a gas stove....
  10. I really appreciate the nice comments, thank you. I do have a couple of ideas for future trips…..I would like to tour the hundreds of Taquerias in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex…..I did a quick search and it looks like there are about 250 + out there so I have a long road ahead of me. I think Taquerias are a treasure trove of food culture…so many different regions of Mexico are represented here in DFW. I am in negotiations with my manager (wife) to see if it will be possible. I also have a project idea of epic proportions, something that has not been done, as far as I can see, that will test the human condition. I have to work out the logistics and set a date, but its in the near future…..and it all happens at home.
  11. Day 2 Continued….7/28/06 Homemade Pies! Leaving Burnet we head south on highway 281 back towards Austin. We have another unscheduled stop to make…..our hosts at the Boren Manor suggested we stop in Marble Falls and visit the..... Blue Bonnet Café…… I believe this place is around 70 years old and serves home style type food, but they are known for their pies….and they make several different kinds…..the meringues on the pies are as tall as building……there amazing….I wanted to buy a couple of pies for the party on Sunday, but I didn’t know if they would make the trip……I spoke with one of the fine bluebonnet employees and she said that a lady had taken one all the way to Hawaii…..well if a pie could make it that far, it could make it back to Dallas….. I ordered one banana cream and one German Chocolate………the latter being a bluebonnet customer favorite I was told. Banana Cream German Chocolate Well also heard about their yeast rolls so I had to have a dozen of those also…. I can only report on the rolls at this time…….they were a little dense, but great. We started our trip back to Austin to rest……we have been on the road for 11 hours. We arrive at the hotel….and with a dog we were bound to a few locals…..we have found a chain that is pet friendly….the almighty LaQuinta. Well, we have to offload the suitcase, 2 pies, 3 coolers and one wound up puppy. I then take all of the coolers and empty the water, rearrange and then re-ice. It looks like the daily chores are done…so its time to relax….well not yet…..there is still one thing dinner. We have been tasting BBQ here and there, but did not really stop for a full meal….so the hunt was on….we just jumped in the car and started the search….of course we differed on what we thought would be good….Mexican food for the wife and I was wanting the polar opposite of BBQ…..I was close to a fatty meat burnout….I was searching for any sign of Indian or Thai as we cruised the streets of outer Austin…....I happened to spot a place in a little shopping center….strip malls are a gold mine for ethnic food…..the place I decided on was Curry in a Hurry! It was tucked into the back corner of a large strip center, we pulled up out front and I watched to see who entered…..next door to this place was an Indian grocery store and the line inside the restaurant was 4 deep. It was a little place 3 tables and a counter. It was more like ordering food at a highschool basketball game….the guy behind the counter scooped food from big stainless steel roasters and grabbed bread from what looked like tortilla warmers. Once again I was happy with the line, it gave me time to listen and observe……the gentleman before me had asked a couple of questions so I was able to make an easy and quick decision when it was my turn. I had some stuff…..I should have written it down, because the dishes escape me now. I was disappointed that the place was vegetarian…how Ironic!.........besieged by meat the entire day and now nothing. I was ok with that though, I always like new things….and my body would probably thank me for the break. I really enjoyed everything….the bread was very good and the basmati rice was cooked perfectly….I have become very fond of curry lately and this dish was a delight. Finally some sleep. Day 3 7/29/06…………The trek home. We start the day with a nice continental breakfast from the lobby, OJ, a bagel with a smear, cereal and fruit. We head up the road to Belton. We arrive in Belton, which is a little town right on I35…….we take the exit and find ourselves at Schoepf's Oldtime BBQ We pull up and the place is pretty full, a lot of people enjoying an early lunch. The pit is visible right behind the building…..this is another place where you order at the pit and have someone trim it in the restaurant. I wasn’t as giddy as I was the day before…I had ½ lb B/R and ½ rack of baby back ribs…..I need the sauce….the lady pit master throw’s it on a tray and away we go. Inside I let the meat attendant know its to-go so they trim it up for me, but I notice she is cutting my brisket into rectangles……it doesn’t even look like brisket…it looks like cubes of meat….I thought it was awkward……with my order though, they load me up with a ton of beans and tub of potato salad…..I have a look around and I head to the car…..I really want to taste the baby back ribs…… That first rib above didn't make it........I dont know why i put it in the photo.. The baby back ribs were an instant winner….the sauce was thick and the meat was fall of the bone tender…..excellent. The sausage was good as well….but nothing made it better than any of the others…..the ribs had a good flavor and were tenderish. I wanted to order the Sirloin, but it was thin and looked dry, dry, dry. I opted to save the potato salad and beans for the party tomorrow…… On to Dallas As we head toward Dallas we have one last stop to make…… Robertson’s Meats Robertson’s is right outside Belton and another one of those places you just stop at when you go to Austin. It’s a sort of tourist trap that offers a darn good bag of beef jerky….. I really shouldn’t call it a tourist trap, because they do have some quality merchandise. My wife’s best friend loves the beef…… jerky, so we grab a couple of bags of there fine dried meat product to send to the west coast. I thought we should taste the local fair…so I order the Robertson’s special…..a hoagie with summer sausage ham and swiss cheese…..I coat the top bun in some specialty mustard a little horseradish mayo and sprinkle it with jalapeño powder. It’s not stellar looking, but was good…..I don’t know if the quality of the ingredients really shined, but I enjoyed it. We are home! Now what? During the last few miles we put together our guest list and shopping agenda. We have a sickness when it comes to entertaining….we usually go a little over board. So from having a couple of people over and tasting bbq, beans, potato salad and a couple of pies…it turns into 12 people 4 kids and a dog…..we have to have sandwich stuff in case someone doesn’t like bbq and you can't have just mayo and mustard you gotta have some flavored mayo and some fancy mustard….we have to have a vegetable platter……what about guacamole? everyone likes guacamole!…don’t forget the shiner bock, and bottled water and tea, we need all the fixins for BBQ ….pickles, onions, white bread, crackers….oh man! What about a nice cheese platter….well if you have cheese you got to have wine…..and a center piece and napkins…and glitter and candles and little signs and fruit! Just a little something! Luckily the house we are in came with a built in BBQ Display counter…Thank God! We set up 15 plates and my wife made signs for each plate so that everyone new where the BBQ came from along with the sauces. We had just enough space on the counter. I strategically placed all of the bbq that I had collected over the past few days in the oven. I figured about 20 min @ 180 to 200 degrees was enough time to reheat before everyone got there. Everyone snacked and drank until the bbq was nice and warm……I then set it all out for the final mass tasting…..I believe everyone enjoyed going from plate to plate tasting this and that and commenting on their favorites…….Cooper’s seemed to go the fastest and Southside Market was also a hit….least favorite was the Myers stuff…..I am sure the reheating didn’t do them any good. I think all of the bbq suffered from the reheating, but it was the best I could do….I think everyone took that into consideration when tasting. We finished the afternoon with some pie, or a hodgepodge of dessert. I am sorry to report that the German Chocolate pie didn’t make it back in one piece. It shifted during transport…..it was more like a chocolate pie casserole. The banana cream made it mostly unscathed. They were not fit for the cover of Southern Living, but tasted great none the less! We never feed the puppy from the table……. this trip was no different, but she did well on the journey so I thought she deserved a little treat….I told her not to get use to it. With the BBQ trip in our rear view mirror……we had a feeling of relief mixed with sadness...... we had a great time visiting Texas’ best and the part I enjoyed the most was spending that time with my wife….she really was a trooper through this whole ordeal…the heat, the dog, all the driving and the heat. There are not many wives that would have done what she did…so Thank You! I would also like to thank everyone for the comments or just stopping by to check out the photos, I enjoyed putting it together and I apologize for some of the ramblings and poor attempts at humor. If you ever have the pleasure of visiting Austin or San Antonio try and make it a point to stop by one of these little gems…..it’s well worth the trip. PS …..I think God had a divine plan in placing these various smoked meat factories so close together…...looking back I think I was drawn to the area like Richard Dreyfuss was in Close Encounters…..you know what I’m talking about!……..the volcano looking tower in Wyoming……I didn’t know why I was going I just knew I had to go. Unfortunately I never saw anyone get off a spaceship. In the immortal words of Dan Rather…….”Courage”
  12. Day 2 continued 7/28/06 ………It’s a beautiful day in Texas…..except for the heat. Elgin to Taylor We are now headed to another place I have really been looking forward to. Louie Mueller’s in Taylor. The drive was relaxing…..only about 25 minutes. The little town of Taylor is like many small towns in Texas…..a historic downtown with wonderful old buildings and architecture. Newer construction usually finds its way to the north of towns on the main road or highway this is where the chains take their hold. Driving through some of the old downtown streets can be sad…….the buildings that make up these forgotten bi-way’s….have so much potential…..if you were to move them to the big city they would be worth a ton of money. Mueller’s is right in the heart of this downtown atmosphere…… The vette i would guess is Mr Mueller's...it was pristine....it was parked in special space that had a sign. There are two things that drew me to Louie Mueller’s, the sign that hangs over the entrance and the website. The sign is so inherently American….red, white and blue paint that is faded just enough to let you know it's importance and the gold star in the middle brings back memories of playing sheriff when I was little…..or it could be a symbol of Texas…people love their oversized stars in Texas…..I think its just the name Louie…who doesn’t like the name Louie. The Website is fantastic to say the least. The photos are amazing….I fell in love with the place before I even arrived….. It’s simple and easy to navigate and the photos and the music make you feel like you are there. As you can see the building under their sign is where you enter and they have taken over the building to the left and in it they have a large dining area and the west wall is screened in so you can feel the sweet summer napalm like breeze.…….I am not sure what it was about the place….but I want to go back. I really enjoyed this place…. the feel was reminiscent of small town life…. it reminded me of going to eat with my grandfather for some reason. These are the types of places where he liked to eat…simple and unpretentious…. it may be world famous…. but he didn’t care; we just ate there because it was good. From what I have read it was an old ladies basketball gym at one time…….the ceiling was tall in this shotgun building and the walls are definitely seasoned by the years and years of smoking brisket…..the thing that threw me off was the hand written sign that read “Wireless internet in the entire building”…or something to that effect, Mueller 06’ I guess. There was a line of about 10 people and as I waited I took in the scene…..the place was ¾ full……locals once again mixed with the tourists….hand written menus hung on the wall held up with masking tape, how it stuck I will never know ……the staff was cranking it out….one order after the other…..I found myself nervous, for reasons I cant explain…..I knew what I wanted, and I saw the folks in front of me order with no problem……. It was my turn! I spouted out my order to this nice lady and she was quick to say…. ”I only do sides, you need any sides?” I said “no ma’am” …uh-oh!…..….tourist alert…… I can’t lie I panicked a little….I didn’t know there was a side lady!…….all of a sudden…the meat man…...I think it was Bobby Mueller himself set a hunk of brisket on my tray…now I am confused….the meat is as hot as a branding iron and of course they wait until I throw the whole thing in my mouth before shouting “who’s next?” ……..crap! I fight to finish the molten lava I was just handed and blurt out my order…and instead of ordering the usual Jaymes I step out of my paradigm and order 1/2lb B/R/ and the new chipotle sausage….how about that? My adrenaline was starting to return to normal levels even after the confusion behind the line on which sausage I was ordering…….Mr. Mueller takes the mound of bbq and slaps it on my tray….he then looks up at the couple next to me towards the register and asked…… “What did you guys have?” ……OH NO! Did I go before them?? I had just broken protocol… I looked next to me at this older man and his wife in disbelief….they were a nicely dressed couple in there late 50’s…he might have been a lawyer in town or a doctor…who knows….all I know is he was a little upset….I felt bad and apologized, but he didn’t waiver…he was mad…the wife just looked down her nose at me……like I was some punk kid. I took my tray and went around them and paid for my lunch…..I wanted to buy their lunch when I got to the register to show that I was sorry…….but I started thinking about how much money this whole trip was costing me…..I realized I didn’t feel THAT sorry…..so I guess the lady was mostly right. I still wish it didn’t happen The brisket was fabulous, thick cut and very tender, nice smoke ring and a light Smokey flavor. The ribs were heavily seasoned and also had a good smoke flavor……they were my favorite of the three…. I loved the peppery seasoning. The sausage another winner….nice chipotle flavor….moist, juicy…this was another trio that was hard not to devour that second. Well wouldn’t you know it! ……..Rudy Mikeska’s is right next door. The only thing that divides them is a little street and a couple of parking lots. From the photo it looks like they deliver…..though the stage coach never moved as long as I was there. I walk in and right away I think café rather than bbq joint…the place is about a ¼ full. I walk to the counter and order from the cafeteria like line. I order the B/R/S and the nice lady starts the show….she opens a little mini pit takes out some ribs and starts to cut them……just then Edna rolled up and needed her lunch….She was probably in her early 70’s and looked to be dining alone….the lady behind the counter asked… ”Hi, Edna…what can I get for ya?”…. I must have been wearing my small towns suck T-shirt…because she immediately started putting Edna’s lunch time order together…..I stepped out of the way as she ordered the slaw and some potato salad…..they ladled some sauce into a little Styrofoam cup and she rang out … ”oh! no sauce please” And she was as nice as she looked; she turned to me and said “Honey would like my sauce, I’m not going to eat it”… I said sternly “I don’t take sauce from line cutters!” ……kidding of course! Some would have been offended by being put off like that, but if I had been behind the counter I would have done the same…….it took her 30 seconds to fill her order……I sort of appreciated the way she took care of a loyal customer. You wouldn’t see that at a restaurant in Dallas…. there would have been some gunplay on that deal! Don’t get me wrong I kicked their trashcans over outside as I ran to the car. The bbq was good, not great, but good. The brisket reminded me of roast beef, more than a smoked brisket…once again the flavor was good, just devoid of the smoke taste that I was looking for. The ribs were good. I enjoyed Muellers ribs more just because the outer layer wasn’t like a crust it was tender, whereas Mikeskas was like the bark of a tree…not tough like bark, but a hard outer layer. The sausage was my favorite, juicy, nice inner consistency and the casing had the right amount of pop. We decided to cruise somewhere cooler to take food photos, because the sun was not to be reckoned with today…..so we found ourselves at a park right up the road….it was a nice little city park with a good size pond and tons of geese and ducks looking for a handout….we were lucky this day…we found shade and someone to take our rather large inventory of white bread slices. We wrapped the food up and headed down the road to Spicewood………. This would be one of the longest stretches we would have between cities. We were making good time today….we weren’t rushing by any means, but the day was moving at a nice pace. Spicewood was to be our last place for the evening and we would start the new day by hitting Llano, Burnet, Marble Falls and Belton on Saturday. Well it was early and since we were throwing a tasting party on Sunday we decided to move the schedule up a bit and hit every town except Belton. Opie’s BBQ in Spice wood Texas. This was to be the place that I could have trouble keeping the budget in line……the reason…….OPEN PIT DINING! We pulled up to a lot full of cars and an almost empty pit….a lot of the cuts were gone by the time we got there…..in the pit was everything you could imagine its was hard not to order one of everything….keeping my head in check I ordered a ½ rack of baby back ribs ½ lb brisket and ½ a link of jalapeno sausage. The pit master slaps it on a cafeteria try and sends you inside to have it trimmed up. The inside was full of mostly locals eating with the family……as I waited for the trim man to take about 1800 calories worth of clear meat off the brisket and slice up the sausage, I noticed they had some sweets all wrapped up and ready to go……another opportunity to keep the wife happy……I pick up a large chocolate brownie…..with nuts…..another failure on my part because it was not photographed….we shared it and to say the least it did not last to long….They hand me the BBQ and a large bill and I head to the bean pot and grab a container of beans and some sauce…… The jalapeno sausage was great….leaned more towards the kielbasa we have all had….the jalapeno flavor was great….just the right amount of jalapeno heat. The brisket was juicy and tender good smoke flavor….but my favorite…..the baby back ribs……..they were a sweet and spicy something he said ….whatever it was it was nice and caramelized the flavor was sweet with a hit of spicy…. the guy was telling the truth. Absolutely the ½ rack was my favorite of the 3 cuts at this stop. I am starting to feel a little like a trader…….I have always been a sauce person….I usually like to have a sauce with everything…….and I see its no different in bbq….I tend to enjoy the items that have that caramelized outer layer. On to greener pastures! Spicewood to Llano It seems like I say this before every town, but its true. I am really looking forward to Llano. I have obsessed over all of these locations for months now and it seems like they have grown in popularity in my own mind over time…I have just read to much press on all of these places…..its hard not to get excited each time. Coopers Old Time BBQ in Llano Texas. Coopers is on the main road highway 26 that runs right through town…..coopers is hard to miss….the pits are out there for the people to see……..we pull up pushing our luck its later in the afternoon and I am expecting a lot of the cuts to be missing……..and upon first inspection they are running low, but are not out. This is another open pit and this time I cant hold back……..I order food like a drunk at IHOP at 3:00 in the morning. “I’ll have that and that and one of those and how about that” I get a ½ link of sausage, a nice slice of prime rib, a thick cut pork chop and to top it all off…..the item I had been looking forward to the most….a half rack of the cabrito….although it looked dry he assured me that there was plenty of tender meat there…. If you want sauce at Coopers all you have to do is let them know, they do it at the pit. In the corner of the pit they have a stainless steel soup pot that would go on a steam table……..for anyone in the foodservice industry……. They take the whole cut and dunk it in the vinegary sauce…and onto the tray it goes. After receiving your bounty you hand it off to the cut man and he trims it however you want it…mine was to go so he sliced it, weighed it and wrapped it. I waited at the end of the line to see what the damage was, this was the only place I wanted to lose the receipt so that the little lady didn’t see it…… well I will be damned!…….. look who just wandered in the door…….My very understanding wife.... I am sure she is comes in to see if they sell shoes or something, well she saw the register……What the……. !!!!! I am usually quick with explanations, but this time…...nothing was coming to me……I just gave her the raised eyebrows and said HUH!……..like I didn’t hear her or understand what she was talking about……$38 later I was out the door. The first thing I opened was the cabrito……..man it looked dry….especially around the ribs themselves, but as I got lower it was rather meaty…..very tender….the flavor was like nothing I had every really had nicely seasoned….a little lambish……tangy maybe. Next was the sausage……it kind of fell in with the others…..nice flavor and juicy. The pork chop was enough for two people easy!…..the seasoning was perfect, cut very thick, juicy on the inside great smoke flavor….I forget how good smoked pork can be when cooked well………. ......... and down the stretch they come…..ladies and gentleman please hold your tickets ……..Its a photo finish.........oh! and winning by a nose…….the prime rib!………..the prime rib was awesome!……melted in your mouth tender and smoke flavor on that cut makes all the difference……I almost opened the trophy case, but this trip was not about prime rib. On to the next stop……..a hop, skip and a jump away….Llano to Burnet was about 30 minutes. Burnet county BBQ a shantytown looking place right on the main road with enough parking for …..well us. I had a little hesitation at first….no cars anywhere……but it was about 5:00 or so….I stroll in and there behind the counter are two lady’s………..right off the bat they let me know that they are out of brisket…….Dang!…………I hate this for two reasons…… #1 “that’s what I always get”……..#2 If its gone it must have been good. I accept that I have been cursed by god, so I order the brisket’s siblings…..1/2lb R/S. Trying to make conversation while they cut the meat up I ask her……. “Was it busy?” Realizing what I just said….I try to throw in “Unusually busy”…..the whole time saying to myself…… “Hey Captain Obvious they just sold out of brisket” The lady was nice and explained that their pit is smaller than most of the places around there and she could only fit 9 briskets on hers…..That’s a lot of meat I thought…she acted like that’s the norm…..and that they always sell out……it was sort of a dagger in the gut…man must have been tasty! The sausage was good nothing to write home about……the ribs were very good…..tons of seasoning…I guess that’s another thing I am partial to……nice pink smoke ring…juicy flavorful and tender. I am sick that I didn’t get to try the brisket. Day 2 Continued…...7/28/06….coming up Marble Falls, Curry in a Hurry, Belton and Robertsons meats and hopefully the Tasting party…….
  13. Day 2……7/28/06 It’s officially day #2 8:30 AM……As I suspected it was not a dream and I still have 2 days left……..Can’t wait….no regrets yet….. Our gracious host have raved about a little place near downtown Austin that serves a good migas dish……It seems to be the perfect start……We arrive at Cisco’s at about 9:00 AM. Its located in an unassuming…little building on the corner of 5th and something…..from the outside I can tell I am going to enjoy what ever it is they serve me …..you know how you just get that feeling sometimes…well I had it. We entered in through the front door and I immediately felt at home, not because the people were nice or there was a doormat that said welcome….it was because the place reminded me of the places I had eaten my whole life….little country café type restaurants….where they don’t try to impress you with décor or fancy tables and waitresses with tons of office space type flair…the walls were adorned with this and that….photos, newspaper clippings…..and just plain stuff….our breakfast host said that the décor has remained the same since he went to UT….years back….. We all ordered the migas……with a side of biscuits and tortillas. Talk about a symphony of simplicity…….its hard to believe something that uncomplicated and easy can taste so good….scrambled eggs with cheese a little tomato and crispy fried tortillas tangled about….I couldn’t tell if they were crunched up chips or strips made especially for the dish…..my guess it was yesterdays chips, if not my bad, if so…it was great…..I think it’s a genius dish for the bottom line….on the side a little puddle of refried beans, an old school sausage patty…that looked dry, but really wasn’t….and the catalyst…..the ranchero sauce…it brought it all together. It seemed that everyone had there own way of eating their migas….some wrapped it in a tortilla to make a burrito type thing….some mixed it all together…….however it was engineered it was good. My favorite part and to my cardiologist’s dismay was the squeeze bottle of liquefied butter on the table ……. did I want to touch it?…….hell yes!……….did I? …….no…. I didn’t even go into vacation mode…..”hey I’m on vacation”…..I did have a smattering of jelly on my biscuit so don’t feel sorry for me. Even just tasting the bbq in small calculated doses, I felt like i was having to much, I could hear my colon......... "Hey, there chief.....how about mixin in a freakin apple every now and then" Well we say our goodbyes and thanked our innkeepers for the wonderful accommodations and hit the road……on to Elgin. We are there in no time….about 40 minutes….not bad at all. We find ourselves at Southside Market. By first looks the place reminds me of the sale barns I grew up around…. Its close to lunch and people are filing in…..Trucks with horse trailers….verizon service vans and the Texas staple….the Chevrolet suburban……..through the door I go…..I take my time and stroll through the meat market side of the building…….the meat cases were full of everything meat cut you could imagine……one whole case was sausage ring after sausage ring….that reminds me……isn’t Elgin famous for something???? Give me a sec, It will come to me…..I then head on over to the eatin side peruse the menu board and something catches my eye……Mutton! I am in on that!…..I had never had it….now was as good a time as any to try it. I get the usual plus a ½ lb of mutton…….I have been giving my wife the extra change from my bbq dealings and she has turned that into her ice cream money…….and wouldn’t you know it!……a Blue Bell stand inside the Southside…I have managed to buy some more time……as she gets her treat……I get mine…..I walk over and ladle some sauce into a little Styrofoam cup and hit the door for the tasting….. For the mutton challanged thats the mutton next to the Sausage. I cant wait to taste the mutton and the famous Elgin sausage…..I cut me a small piece of the sausage, it was Smokey, juicy and had a nice mouth feel…..not real coarse, but not processed……now the mutton….I pull a little piece off and take a bite….nice bbq flavor, and it falls off the bone…but the taste is familiar……after a few minutes of hard thinking I realize I am an idiot, the clear meat must be contaminating my brain……I have had mutton a hundred times, well maybe not technically…..If I am not mistaken…..lamb is young sheep less than a year old…whereas mutton is a sheep that has 1 two many candles on his cake……anyway it was damn good. The Brisket was tender and had a nice smoke ring, but I would have liked a little more crust, the ribs were full of flavor……nice peppery dry rub……another winner. I only have two places on my list, but for some reason I remember there being a third. I check some of the documents I have brought along as backup and sure enough…..I don’t have Myers on there. Myers Elgin Smokehouse……………… I would like to start this part of with the following: I saw this on www.Dallasfood.org, this guy is serious about his food experiences….I borrowed the following from him…..I hope I don’t owe him money now. Caveats and Conclusions All the standard caveats apply. These impressions are of particular cuts of meat on a particular day. Though the holy trinity of brisket, sausage, and ribs may be a good measure of a barbecue spot, it doesn't tell the whole story. And I completely agree with the following….from Jaymes’ earlier post. “Here's my opinion on all of these places. You're dealing with so many uncontrollable variables -- organic product, fire, skill of the pit master, carver, etc. Especially when it comes to brisket (which seems to be the most difficult of all of the traditionally barbecued meats to cook properly), it might be great one day, and dry and tough the next.” All that being said…..Myers started off great….it was the part where I bought the meat that it started to go wrong…..I ordered a ½ lb of each B/R/S. I can see it…… and I know you can see it….the brisket was dry……..it cant be perfect every day all the time right now, I know that. The flavor was good, I just couldn’t get over the dryness….the sausage well……..it was dry….once again the flavor was good. The ribs well………they were dry…….I was hopeful on these, because of the nice pink color, but no go…… flavor was good…even though they were juiciest part of the threesome….it was just to dry for my taste. I had all my money on the table at that point and I was rollin numbers left and right…..and then the dreaded 7. No regrets though, I would go back. Off to Crosstown BBQ After about 15 minutes of searching…….I thought we might be looking for losttown BBQ, but a quick stop at the gas station and we were headed down the BBQ brick road. We pulled up and there was one car in the parking lot….it was right around lunch….I had a feeling like I might have just rolled snake eyes……there were about 4 people inside and I had a funny feeling about the place…..it just didn’t feel like I should be there…..but I sucked it up and fought on….being on the cautious side I order for the first time a 1/4lb instead of the usual 1/2lb……… ”1/4lb B/R/S Please Sir” The young gentleman makes all of the necessary cuts, while that is going on I glance at the tables and notice that the guys from the water department must have just left…..because they left a bottle of contaminated water on the table…It must be from that little pond up the road and they are testing it for West Nile………….I wanted to rush out and return their sample to them…because if Elgin has problems like that with the water….it needs to get fixed…..quick……After glancing out the window to look for the water guys and realizing they were long gone, I put together that this could possibly be the sauce for the bbq. The credit card machine couldn’t print my receipt fast enough……..and I was out the door. No matter what happened inside I was still going to taste whatever they had given me…..well………..it was really, really, really good…..the brisket had a real light smoke ring……but was juicy and tender and flavorful…the ribs had a nice bark on them…light seasoning, but very tasty….the sausage was coarse and slightly chunky…if that is possible……… very flavorful and juicy…….Sorry Crosstown for that whole judgment thing….by the way I tasted the sauce and it was not contaminated water, it was much much better. Day 2 7/28/06 to continue………coming up Taylor, Spicewood and Llano
  14. You already had seen the "halls of greatness." Kreuz got its start over in the Smitty's building. There was a family feud a couple of years back. The sister is in the old building, running Smitty's. The brother is in the new building running Kreuz.Haven't you heard the story? Maybe Hall of greatness was bit much.......I have read the story.....I was just impressed with the size and thats the one place everyone said to go.......maybe i will have t do another fact finding misson to Smitty's.I don't think "halls of greatness" was too much. In fact, I think it's perfect. I just think you used it to describe the wrong halls. Here's my opinion on all of these places. You're dealing with so many uncontrollable variables -- organic product, fire, skill of the pitmaster, carver, etc. Especially when it comes to brisket (which seems to be the most difficult of all of the traditionally barbecued meats to cook properly), it might be great one day, and dry and tough the next. Pork chops are next on the difficulty scale, I think. But ribs and sausage and the pork butts and whole pigs of those southeasterners seem to be much easier to do consistantly well. As I've said elsewhere, the last two times I was at Kreuz, the brisket was so dry and tough that I couldn't eat it. But other times, it's fabulous. For me, Black's is the most consistantly reliable, so when I head down that way, I usually get at least a pound of brisket from City Market, Smitty's and Kreuz to take home for the freezer, but I always make sure I get some brisket from Black's, too, just in case. I really think that in so far as brisket is concerned, the top joints all offer a pretty similar product. I've got hot link favorites, because the flavor varies so widely, but they're all wonderful. The main thing that differs for me, is the "halls of greatness." When it comes to the building, and transporting yourself back through the years, and imagining that you're a hungry, hot and dirty dark-skinned field hand and it's lunchtime and none of the restaurants will even let you in their doors, so you go to your local German-run butcher shop and order up a half-pound or so of various smoked meat and take it ouside and sit there under a handy shade tree eating it with your fingers, sprinkling the meat and crackers with a little hot sauce that you carry with you in your jeans...well...you just can't beat Smitty's. They're waaaay ahead of everyone else in the "hallowed halls" category. There's nothing "great" about that ugly big barn. Maybe in a hundred years or so its "halls" will have soaked up enough "greatness" to be so described. But for now, it's just a big, soulless, commercial building built to pack in as many busloads of tourists as possible. There's no hint, no trace of the German immigrants like Charles Kreuz that arrived in the Hill Country around the turn of the last century and, missing the smoked meats of their homeland, set about recreating them, thereby beginning a hallowed tradition that lingers like smoke drifting over the Texas hills until this day. And on top of that, regarding the feud and who was right and who was wrong, I'm totally with the sister. Here he was getting rich and famous and buying new cars and houses and pickups and doing interviews and sending mail orders all over god's creation and flying here there and everywhere catering barbecue dinners for business tycoons and movie stars and kings and queens and everybody else wealthy and powerful enough to be able to afford it. While all she had was the rent on an aging building that needed constant and expensive maintenance, which he expected her to pay for, in some little nothing town in the middle of Texas. Think about it...how would you like it? And then Mr. Famous Texas Barbecue hotshot with his mug on the face of all the magazines, and beaming out at you from your teevee set comes to you and wants you to make the costly repairs and install an expensive expanded air conditioning system and so forth, out of your pocket, and he isn't going to help pay for it because even though he's the one that wants it, it's your building and if you don't pay for everything he wants he's going to move out and build his own building, so there, nanny nanny boo boo? Oh, don't get me wrong. I'll still buy 'cue from Kreuz...espcially their hot links and pork chops, but in my heart... Long live Smitty's. You go, girl. So there. ← I have a sneaking suspicion that you prefer Smitty’s over Kruez! I enjoyed the history lesson, and that’s in all seriousness…I know you have probably told the stories before, in the Texas thread, but please share again…I know if people were butchering my favorites in NM, I would let them know about it………I would love to know more on these places I only spent a short time in….I figure I read the PC explanation of the split……. I went into this trip with rose colored glasses……not thinking about the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s…….I am sure if I dug deep enough, I could find history like that with 85% of the places I visited.... …..The sister surely got a raw deal, but I don’t feel to sorry for her, because it seems to me that she has a thriving business and might be better off without the sibling…….of course I can not know that for sure, but from outward appearances….It looks to be true. I am not member nor have I ever been a member of a BBQ Critics Society…….I am just a food experience lover wanting to understand a little of the bbq history that people rave about, but knowing that little gem of info gets me that much closer to the critics badge. Armed with that knowledge I can talk a little more intelligently about my trip to the people I share it with….. Thanks Jaymes!
  15. You already had seen the "halls of greatness." Kreuz got its start over in the Smitty's building. There was a family feud a couple of years back. The sister is in the old building, running Smitty's. The brother is in the new building running Kreuz. Haven't you heard the story? ← Maybe, Hall of greatness was bit much.......I have read the story.....I was just impressed with the size and thats the one place everyone said to go.......maybe i will have t do another fact finding misson to Smitty's
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