Friday, August 17, 2018

Smoked Dallas full line-up released


The full line-up for Smoked Dallas has been released.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Low and Slow BBQ Festival, 8/11/18


I first heard about this event, almost by accident, just a few weeks ago.  I found a site promising 20 of the best BBQ joints in DFW would be there, but no list.  11 days before the event, a list of 12 joints finally showed up and it looked good enough to take a chance on.  The $50 ticket price helped.  A few days later the list increased to 16 joints and things looked even better.
The day of the party arrived and we made it down to the venue about 15 minutes before opening.  It was pouring down rain and the waiting line stretched out under the small cover in front of the Longhorn.  A more experienced operator would have been scanning and lining up folks inside the 2500 seat venue.  Oh well.  This was their first big BBQ event and there were bound to be some glitches.  We hung out in our car til the line finally started to move about 10 minutes after 3.
When some space finally opened up under the little porch we grabbed our umbrellas and headed for cover.  As the line moved slowly forward, others joined us.  The parking lot was full of folks waiting in their cars til the dry space opened up. It took another 10 minutes to make it to the front of the line where we found out what the hold-up was.  They were checking names off a list rather than scanning barcodes on tickets.  In addition to that, they were selling beer tickets at the entrance, further gumming up the works.  More first timer inexperience.  In all, we didn't get in until about 20 minutes after opening.  For most fests, that would be a problem as there is usually only a "golden hour" before general admission would be let in.  This fest was a bit different.  The BBQ event was from 3-5 pm, and folks coming for music got in after 5 pm.
This was the first time I had been in the Longhorn Ballroom in many years. I've probably attended 50 shows in there since the 70's and it was nice to see the new owners are fixing the old joint up.  They have made major renovations all around and I think it will end up being a major event center once again.  Hey, if you are going to have a BBQ fest in Texas in August, it had better be inside in the air conditioning.  The Longhorn proved to be a great place to have a BBQ Fest.
Inside there was lots of seating all around with BBQ stations set up around inside the venue. We brought our beer trays and did the usual gathering and gnoshing.
The food was very good overall and for the most part was just brisket.  Lakewood Smokehouse brought baby back ribs.  A few had beans, corn, potato salad, or mac and cheese as sides.  Mike Anderson's brought some very nice brisket stuffed jalapeno poppers and Live Coals presented brisket stuffed grilled cheese sandwiches.  Sideways BBQ and Slow Bone had the best brisket to my tastebuds, but honestly it was all pretty good.
Of the 16 BBQ joints listed on their last list, only 12 were actually there.  Off the Bone, Panther City BBQ, RHBQ, and Winner's BBQ were not to be found.  We made up for that by returning to some of our favorites and having seconds. 
This was the first Low and Slow Fest and predictably there were some glitches.  They definitely needed some rolls of paper towels on the tables.  I love the venue and the idea of an INSIDE BBQ fest in August.  Their promotion sucked.  Not being able to get a list of joints until 11 days out, then 1/4 of them no-showing, is not the way to do things.  However the food was good and if they do it again next year we'll probably be back.  I would suggest maybe they attend Smoked Dallas, Red Dirt, or the Houston BBQ Fest to improve their game for next year.  I think they have the kernel of a great BBQ Fest but it hasn't quite sprouted yet.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Freedmen's BBQ, Austin 8/9/18

visited 8/9/18

Another place I had sampled at a BBQ festival or two but the first time I had visited their restaurant.  Inside the historic old building it appears to be more of a bar than a restaurant, with about half the space taken up by the bar.  There is some upstairs space as well, but we just sat at the bar and didn't wander up the stairs.

The friendly bartender took our order and it was out quickly.  Dave thought the brisket was a bit overcooked, but it was not mushy at all to me.  It passed the pull apart test nicely and the fat was well rendered.  I detected more smoke flavor in the brisket here than in any other brisket we had.  The ribs were tasty and the sausage was excellent.  It was supposed to be jalapeno cheddar but I never detected any cheese.  There was good pepper content and the medium grind had some great beefy flavor with a kick.  This was the best sausage I had this trip and I got another 2 pounds to go.

Interestingly, the bartender told us they make their sausage in one long coil instead of tying off links.  Then it is just sliced as needed.
Update:  Just got the word this place will close on August 31 due to 2 years of construction on the surrounding property.  I'm happy we got to try it and even happier I got extra sausage for my freezer.

Texas BBQ Ranch, Austin 8/9/18

visited 8/9/18

Dave had heard good things about this trailer but we must have hit them on an off day.  The brisket was badly undercooked and we literally could not pull it apart for the pull apart test.  That was despite the fact that this was some of the thinnest sliced brisket we saw this trip.  The ribs were similarly tough and had a rub I did not care for.  The sausage was average.  Hopefully we were just there on an off day.  The folks there were very friendly and they share indoor space with the adjacent taco stand so you can eat in air conditioned comfort.
 

Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ, Austin, 8/9/18

visited 8/9/18

Located in far south Austin, this is a joint about which we had heard some rave reviews.  They were not wrong.  Dave and I both felt this was the best stop on our mini BBQ trip.  The best ribs and brisket we had and some good sausage that made a great taco on their hot and fresh tortillas.  If they can keep this consistency they will probably make Texas Monthly's next Top 50 list.  

Unfortunately, my little camera must have been sitting too close to the AC vent on the ride down as most of my photos have a fogged up lens!  Lesson learned.   Luckily by the time our excellent food came out it had cleared up.
 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Micklethwait Craft Meats, Austin 8/8/18

sampled 8/8/18

We had planned to stop by Micklethwait to pick up some sausage to go, but when we found Kerlin on vacation we decided to eat there, too.  We pulled up a little before noon and found there was no line at all.  We even got a parking space in the shade.  I was a bit surprised as Franklin's, right down the street, was also closed for vacation.  I figured some of the Franklin crowd might have moseyed down the street.  Today they had two different types of sausage so we got a half pound mix to sample them both, along with our standard half pound moist brisket and 2 spare ribs.
The ribs were excellent and the brisket was perfectly cooked.  Of the two sausage types I preferred the Bier Wurst and also picked up a couple of pounds to go.  Sadly their excellent home made moon pies were not in the current rotation, so we skipped dessert.  Good eatin' at Micklethwait, as always.
 

Kerlin BBQ - Next time!

almost visited 8/8/18

Kerlin is just a couple of blocks down the street from La Barbecue so we had hoped to do a twofer.  Not this trip.  We shall try again.

La Barbecue, Austin 8/8/18

Visited 8/8/18

A trip to Austin to pick up my new computer system turned int a mini BBQ tour with my buddy Dave.  Our first stop was at La Barbecue.  I had sampled their fare several times at BBQ festivals but this was my first opportunity to visit their restaurant.  

We lined up a little before 11 am and waited for opening.
Despite the relatively short line in front of us, a few large orders at the front had us waiting about 30 minutes to order food.  After reaching the front, we got a nice little sample of brisket (a Mueller tradition) and ordered our standard order of 1/2 pound brisket from the fatty end, 2 spare ribs, and 2 chipotle sausage links.

Sadly, the  brisket was overcooked and mushy.  There was no hope of picking up a slice for the pull apart test as it just crumbled apart.  It was full of great moisture but there was no discernible smoke flavor.
The ribs were better, with good pork flavor and none of the mushyness.  I enjoyed the sausage which had a good moisture content.  Not too wet, not too dry, with a medium grind.  I didn't get much chipotle flavor or spiciness, but it was good average sausage.
 


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Pecan Lodge to go

Visited 8/7/18
 
 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Low and Slow BBQ & Music Fest

https://prekindle.com/event/95389-low-and-slow-north-texas-barbecue-and-music-festival-dallas

Here's another new BBQ event in Dallas.  Not much real information yet.  20 joints sounds good, but which 20??

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Rib Time

We finally finished off the brisket and chicken from our last smoke, just in time to find spare ribs on sale.  Perfect timing!
After trimming them down they got a good coating of North Main All N 1 seasoning.  As usual we had to trim a bit off the ends so the racks would fit in our little bullet smoker.
Then into our little bullet smoker for 4 hours over charcoal stoked with oak and pecan from our yard.
After 4 hours they looked marvelous, but still needed a little more love.
The ribs got a good slathering of Dr Pepper BBQ sauce, then were wrapped up tight in foil.
The ribs spent 1 hour in a 250 degree oven then 30 minutes on the stove, still wrapped, to rest.  The results were very much to our liking and we will be enjoying the leftovers for the next few days.