We had visited Vencil Mares' place a couple of years back and enjoyed it, so we decided when Up in Smoke did not satisfy us for lunch we would stop off in Taylor for a top-off. Mr. Mares was not in his usual spot but we were there a little late in the afternoon when most of the customers were there for beer-thirty, not BBQ. Scott and I decided to to split a single 3 meat combo plate and the server was nice enough to bring us an extra plate for the division. She also brought us a pitcher of tea, which I'm always happy to see. Unfortunately, when she asked if we wanted regular and spicy sauce I forgot to say "on the side" so everything came doused. That was not a bad thing, as he has a nice spicy tomato sauce, but that sort of messes up the comparisons with other places as the sauce will cover up some of the flavor in the meat.
Everything we had was nice, but especially the brisket. Super tender, smoky, and melt in your mouth good. The ribs were tender and tasty with good smoke flavor. We opted for the turkey sausage, which we had sampled before, and it was still mighty fine. Sides were average. This place also has a great down-home atmosphere.
On a whim, and because I wanted to sample some un-doused, I got an extra half a pound of brisket to go and sampled it in the car before we pulled out. The reaction was, as Scott described it, "brisket nirvana". Some of the best smoked brisket either of us have ever had, anywhere. When I went to pinch off a little piece of fat, it just melted away between my fingers. The smoke rind on the outside penetrated a good 1/4 of an inch with 3 distinct colors. The smoke flavor was so deep that it stayed with you for minutes after you swallowed. I knew it had been good on the combo plate, but only after eating it un-sauced out of a paper wrapper did we get the full force. Just our second stop on a 5 day tour and we had already reached "brisket nirvana". How are we going to top that? Thank you Taylor Cafe!!