Saturday, May 29, 2010

Big Barn BBQ, North Richland Hills, Texas

visited May 29th, 2010 around 7 pm

I'm playing catch-up with this review. It's been a few months since I have eaten here, but I did and I shot some pix so here it goes from memory (back-posted).

The main reason we went over to this place on a weekend (when North Main was open) was to see a band we love. The BBQ was pretty average but the band more than made up for it.

First off, they were packed. Their lot was full but we had no problem finding a spot just down the street and it was a short walk up to the joint. Inside, the line was not too long, but I think it was slower than any other cafeteria-style line I have ever been in. It must have taken us 20 minutes to get our order in, despite the fact there must have been 10 folks working behind the counter. I don't know what it was, they were just real slow. Our disappointment began before we even reached the counter. A sign at the trays told us they had no ribs or chicken due to "pit malfunction". We were told some "might" be ready between 7:30 and 8, but we were not prepared to wait as the band we had come to see was about to start. I settled for the 2 meat plate with brisket and jalapeno cheese sausage and ended up with mac and cheese and tater salad as sides. There was zero smoke flavor in the brisket and the sides were average. The brisket was moist and tender, but it could just as well have been roast beef. The sausage was much better. Nowhere near Kreuz-worthy, but definitely a cut above most sausage in DFW. Overall, I'd just call it an average BBQ meal in an above average setting.

The setting was outside on their patio, under some big trees and in front of a nice small stage. We had table service re-filling our teas and beers while listening to the Christian Dozzler band play some blues. I would definitely go back, but only if there was a band I wanted to see. I don't think their Q would be worth a special trip, especially on weekends when I can get better just down the street.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Home ribs and chicken


Well my Mrs got around to practicing on smoking ribs and chicken today and, as usual, I sure did enjoy snacking on the experiments. Her chicken was as good or better than any smoked chicken I have ever had. Perfectly tender, moist, and with deep deep smoke flavor throughout. She did boneless skinless breasts today and I wouldn't change a thing. The crispy bits were beyond awesome. I think chicken is one of those things that suffers most from holding time so getting them hot off the smoker certainly helped. However I think it was her secret marinade and perfect cooking time that sent these birds over the moon.

The spare ribs were a bit more experimental. Before cooking we actually cut the slab in half, down the middle, so she could try some different techniques and cooking time. We left the membrane on and smoked the whole thing. She was convinced when the chicken came off that the ribs were "done". I told her they needed more time for the low and slow to work it's magic. We ended up wrapping both halves in foil, smoking one more hour, then pulled one of the half-racks. The smoke and flavor were definitely on target, however they weren't near tender enough. We left the second half on for a couple of additional hours and they came out close to perfect. Still, just a tad on the chewy side, but way better than the first half. North Main BBQ doesn't have anything to fear from my Mrs just yet, but given a few more shots she's going to be in their neighborhood.

The smoke this time was charcoal fired with chunks of store bought hickory, supplemented with pecan and oak from our yard and fired in a bullet smoker.

Click on the photos below for a larger photo

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Charby's BBQ and Burgers, Hurst, Texas

Visited 5/11/10 about 1:30 pm

I've seen this place getting ready to open over the last month or so after a Mexican place moved out. It's also the site of a former BBQ joint, Ron's, that I never ate at. They finally opened last Monday but I thought I'd give them a few days to get up and running before stopping by.

Inside it is a nice sit down style restaurant with table service. I ordered the 3 meat plate with sides of Charby beans and tater salad. The brisket was alternately tasty and trying. The outside near the smoke ring had a very nice smoke flavor, but inside it was straight roast beef. It didn't help that it was served cold, no evidence of having been kept in a warmer at all. It was not a tough chew, but it did require a knife to cut. Out of 3 slices of briskets I think I had 3 really nice bites. The ribs were much better. Not much smoke flavor to them, but they were piping hot and very tender. No real bark to speak of but the flavor of the pork came through nicely. I wish I had more than 2 of them to sample. The sausage was standard Ekrich style, sliced thin as pepperoni. Honestly, I don't know why I keep trying sausage around DFW. It seems to be a waste of time up here. The Charby beans were very nice baked beans with little bits of smoked meat in them. I never could quite discern if it was bacon, brisket, or ham, but the beans were excellent. Reminded me a lot of Shak beans from the Baby Back Shak in Dallas. The tater salad had a nice mustard flavor and had a mix of smooth and chunk potatoes. Better than average, I thought. Their BBQ sauce was an interesting mix of tangy and sweet, not really to my taste, but it did help out some of the roast beef pieces.

For dessert I had a small piece of chocolate pie. Really small. About one and a half bites. Apparently they had pre-cut little pieces of pie to go with their daily lunch special and that's all the chocolate pie they had. At first, the little lady had brought me a HUGE piece of chocolate cake until I mentioned I had wanted pie. I may have to try that cake next time. The pie was so-so.

I think the brisket here has potential, the ribs are pretty good, and the baked beans are really nice. I may stop by here again in a few more weeks and try them again. Danny D's is right around the corner from this place and that won't help their business.

Monday, May 3, 2010

BBQ Sauce Ice Cream!!!

Yes, here it is! Made by my buddy Scott from some Dr Pepper BBQ sauce. It was actually pretty good. A little bit of tang, a little bit of sweetness. I've challenged him to do smoked brisket ice cream next, but I think he's chicken. :)