Saturday, May 16, 2015

Lewisville to Denton along I-35E

Sampled 5/16/15
Scott has been after me all year to do a trip up I-35E to sample the many BBQ joints between here and Denton.  We couldn't get our schedules to jive til this weekend and I'm happy to report it is down and done.  We sampled seven joints, found two MIA, and skipped just one, in under five hours.  Honestly, I was not expecting a lot of great meats on this jaunt and that proved to be the case.  Most meals we just sampled a few bites of everything, then moved on to the next.  I can't say we had a bad meal anywhere, but it was a lot of average BBQ.  None of the places we visited would warrant a return trip, especially with the current construction and resulting horrendous traffic on I-35.

Photos from the trip and a few comments follow below.

We found Sweet Y BBQ and Gold Mine BBQ, both in Denton, to be missing in action and presumed closed.

The fun thing about a little road trip like this is the interesting sights along the way.  Like this billboard suggesting a real estate agent can help you out of the zombie apocalypse.
As always, you can click on any photo for a larger view.

Metzler's BBQ, Denton, Texas

sampled 5/16/15 around 3:15 pm
More friendly folks and more average BBQ.  Another sit down joint with waitress service.
When I only ordered one side of mac and cheese, the nice waitress just gave me a double helping.  Too bad it was very average.  The brisket was very overcooked and mushy to chew.  Ribs were the opposite and a bit too chewy. No smoke flavor in anything.  The average sausage appeared to have been heated up on a grill but it didn't add much to the flavor.

Texas Smoke BBQ Co., Sanger, Texas

sampled 5/16/15 around 2:45 pm
A homey little joint in downtown Sanger with friendly folks and average BBQ.
Another nicely served central Texas style "plate".  Some of the better brisket we had this trip but again no smoke flavor.  It was moist with good tenderness and the fat was well rendered.  Ribs were a bit chewy and sausage was average.  Mac and cheese was helped by some bacon sprinkles but hurt by being served cold.

We had heard rave reviews about their famous smoked meatloaf but I found it to just taste like meatloaf with no smoke flavor.

There was an interesting flair to selling chips in a bug killer rack.  A definite Kodak moment.

Bet the House BBQ, Denton Texas

sampled 5/16/15 about 2:15 pm
We were impressed with this place at Smoked Dallas last year but it was not as impressive this visit.  This was the first joint of the day to serve central Texas style on butcher paper and the presentation was impressive.  Unfortunately the brisket was way overcooked and very roast beefy in flavor.  Not a hint of smoke.  Ribs were good and the sausage had a nice snap to the casing.  However I could taste neither jalapeno or cheese in my jalapeno cheese sausage.  It was so mild Scott had a taste and agreed it was pretty tasty.  Their mac and cheese was very good and seemed home made.  White cheddar maybe?

Tredways BBQ, Lake Dallas, Texas

sampled 5/16/15 about 1:15 pm
A nice comfy sit down restaurant with waitress service right off Lake Dallas.
Ribs were decent, Scott liked the mashed potatoes, but the brisket was roast beefy.

Chasin' Tail BBQ, Hickory Creek, Texas

Sampled 5/16/15 around 12:15 pm
More friendly folks and very average BBQ.
The brisket had almost all of the fat trimmed away and had a strictly roast beefy flavor.  Ribs were good but had no smoke flavor.  Sausage was commercial quality and sides were average.

Old House BBQ, Lewisville, Texas

sampled 5/16/15 around 11:30 am
Another friendly joint with decidedly average Q.
The brisket was overcooked and falling apart and the ribs were a bit tough.  Sausage was average.

Fat Cow BBQ, Lewisville Texas

Sampled 5/16/15 about 11 am
Good average joint in a strip shopping center in Lewisville.  They do not do sliced brisket, only shredded, which is kind of strange.  However the brisket did have some nice smoke flavor.  We couldn't decide if it was natural or added but it would have made a decent sandwich. Babyback ribs were good, tender, and very hot.  Sausage was average.  They had some nice gooey mac and cheese, the best I had this day.  The beans had a nice spicy kick.  We agreed this was the best stop of our 7 this day.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Red Dome Smokehouse and Steak Pit, Quitman, Texas

sampled 5/13/15
I noticed this new BBQ joint opened up in Quitman a few months back, but didn't get a chance to stop by til this week.  On heading inside I found a chalk board showing today's menu.  No BBQ was to be seen.  I inquired if they had brisket today and was answered in the affirmative so I took a booth and menu.  There are a lot of other items on their menu and BBQ is off to the right side.  I settled for a 2 meat plate with brisket and pork ribs with 2 sides.
The baby backs were tender and moist but no smoke flavor.  The brisket was overcooked and sliced very thin.  When I tried to pick up a piece it fell apart.  Every scrap of fat had been trimmed away.  It had that roast beefy taste that required sauce.  There was zero smoke flavor.  The sauce was a commercial type with heavy vinegar taste and helped the meat along.
I think this is a mostly non-BBQ joint and despite the "Smokehouse" in the name I didn't find any smoke flavor in their BBQ.  It's a good average Texas BBQ joint with lots of other options.

There is now a second location in Grand Saline.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Red Dirt BBQ Festival, Tyler 2015

sampled 5/2/15
This was the second annual Red Dirt Fest and we are 2 for 2.  So, we're driving 100 miles east from DFW to sample 18 BBQ joints at this fest.  What do you think we would do?  Stop and buy some BBQ, of course!  As usual we timed things to arrive a bit early and we used part of that time to drop by Stanley's Famous for Scott to pick up a pound of brisket and a half rack of ribs.  We had to test some and it passed.  Scott packed it up in  his cooler for later.  I passed because I still have many pounds of meat in the fridge and freezer from our trip last week.  However on sampling the brisket I sorta wished I had bought some.
We got checked in easily and found a nice shady spot to hang out while we waited for the gates to open.
As usual we sprang for the VIP tickets, which gave us the golden hour to hit all the joints before the general admission folks.  Always worth the price.
While hanging out we met some nice folks from Shreveport who we had visited with last year.  After a couple of failed attempts at a photo with their phone (operator error on my part), I convinced them we should use a real camera.  If y'all read this, e-mail me and I'll send you a big jpg.
If you peered through the fence you could tell from the license plates that we were in the right place.
After what seemed forever, they finally let folks start trickling in about 5 minutes early, which was great.  What followed was the usual feeding frenzy of grabbing 2 or 3 samples, finding a table, sampling and bagging any leftovers, then striking out once more to repeat.  I ate a lot more of the samples here than in Houston.  It was all excellent.  Standouts included brisket from Opie's, Riverport, Black's and Lockhart Smokehouse; ribs from Slowbone, Hutchin's, Riverport, and Stanley's; and sausage from Kreuz, Opie's, and Hays County.  Lots of standouts because there was a lot of good BBQ.
I got to running around so much trying to make the most of the magic hour that I missed a couple of photos.  Oh well.  Rest assured I did not miss the meats.  The single complaint I had this year was the lack of t-shirts in the sizes that real BBQ eaters might need.  I think the general admission folks might have more to crab about.
Cutting things down to a single entry gate had a mighty long line backed up even after general admission had been open for over 30 minutes.  The folks in Houston had solved that problem by sending folks down the line with portable scanners, handing out credentials, and having most folks checked in before they even opened the gate.  Something they might want to do in Tyler next year.  Other than that, we had a great time and look forward to being 3 for 3 next year.

On the way out we passed by the Subway sandwich shop on the square, adjacent to the BBQ fest.
Wisely, they had closed for the day.  I think they had some pretty stiff competition on May 2nd.

A couple of posts of just photos follow.  As usual, clicking on any photo will give you a larger view.

Red Dirt photos 5/2/15 part 1