Monday, October 16, 2023

Happy National Texas Twinkie Day!


sampled 10/16/23

How do you sell a lot of BBQ on an off day?  Create a national BBQ holiday and celebrate!  Recently Hutchin's BBQ announced they declared October 16 as National Texas Twinkie Day.  To celebrate, they sold their Texas Twinkies for just $2 each, compared with their usual price of $5.50.

Sadly, the limit was just 12 at that price, but I couldn't say no, even though the nearest Hutchin's was more than 32 miles away.  I got there about 10:45 and was second in line at the To Go door.  There were about 15 people in line when they opened at 11 am, about equally split between the To Go and the Dine In doors.  I was in and out in just 5 minutes.  I suspect they have pans of 12 pre-staged in the warmer.  We will be enjoying these all week.  

Sunday, July 16, 2023

The Original Roy Hutchin's BBQ, Trophy Club 7/16/23


sampled 7/16/23 about 2 pm

As I threatened (or promised) before, I made it back with some friends on a Sunday afternoon for a sit-down dinner at Roy's.  The line was short, we loaded up with a lot of good food, and tucked in at the ground floor dining space.  Before we started, I had to get a photo in the elevator to the second floor dining room.  That's the first BBQ joint elevator I have ever been in, so we just had to document that!  I had planned to go upstairs later to check it out, but we visited so long I never made it.  Next time!

I chose my usual Texas Trinity, plus some brisket burnt ends, one Armadillo Egg, 2 Texas Twinkies, and a small side of mac & cheese.  They were out of pork belly burnt ends when we went through the line, but I grabbed half a pound before we left.  The brisket was tender and moist with well rendered fat, but had no discernable smoke flavor.  Same with the brisket burnt ends.  Scott said he had smoke flavor in his piece.  The sausage had big chunks of jalapeno and cheddar but was not particularly spicy.  The ribs were undercooked and very chewy.  There was nice pork flavor but no smoke.  Even gnawing on the bone I could not get all the meat off.  My friend Patti said her ribs were the same, but Scott said his were fine.  Scott was ahead of us in line and certainly got his ribs from a different rack.  My first rib was so bad I did not even attempt to gnaw on the second one.
I sampled 2 of their specialty items, the Texas Twinkies and their July special item, an Armadillo Egg.   Texas Twinkies I have had before at both the Hutchin's in McKinney and at Roy's in Trophy Club. Last time I thought there was too much cheese and not enough brisket. Today was much better.  They were much closer to a 50/50 mix.  Mighty fine eatin'.  I'm glad I got an extra one to re-heat and eat later.
The Armadillo Egg is a specialty item they are experimenting with and I dug it.  They take a cream cheese stuffed jalapeno, wrap it in ground sausage, sort of like a little meatloaf, then wrap the whole enchilada in bacon.  My friend Rhandy would call it diabolical.  I don't know if I would call it BBQ, but I would call it delicious.  They are pricey, at $15 each, but I think it was around half a pound.
I meant to try their Hot Links, too, but I already had a tray full of meat.  Next time.

We sat and visited a long time.  Almost 3 hours.  The downstairs dining room stayed busy but we never felt rushed.  Finally I went up to the front to check and they did have pork belly burnt ends.  I got half a pound to go and we sampled them before we headed out.  They cut their pork belly bites about twice the size of Don Green's, but they were every bit as tender.  That's the only other place, so far, that we have eaten where the pork belly was melt-in-your-mouth.  I would order those again.
The staff was friendly and helpful and there were a lot of them!

As I said before, I love the fact I can get Texas Twinkies just 15 minutes from my house.  I will give them another chance on the ribs next time.  

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Heads up. Green's will be closed on Saturday August 26

Stopped by at 12:30 to get some rub for my buddy in east Texas.  I was surprised they still had some pork belly bites left.  I took care of that problem for them.  

I noticed on their sign that Don Green will be riding in the Hotter Than Hell 100 on August 26, so they've already scheduled to close for that date.  Plan accordingly!

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

The Original Roy Hutchin's BBQ, Trophy Club


sampled 6/28/23 about 2 pm

I had passed this spot on 114 a couple of times and thought it was just another branch of the McKinney restaurant.  I kept checking their website, assuming they had just opened and were training crews before adding to their website.  Wrong.  This a another family BBQ turf struggle that has only just been finalized.  It sounds like everyone is now happy.  Here's the story.

The best part, is I don't have to drive all the way to Frisco or McKinney to get some good Hutchin's eats.  The new version is just 15 minutes from our place and they are using the same family recipes.  Unfortunately, they have Trophy Club prices.  Since I will probably save that in gas money, it's about even.

Today I just made a to-go order since I mainly wanted to see if their Texas Twinkies were up to the McKinney location.  Yes, they were.  My only complaint was that I'd like to have more chopped brisket inside and less cream cheese.  That didn't stop me from polishing off a couple after I got home.  I also grabbed 1 pound of sliced brisket.  It was moist and tender but missing smoke flavor.  

We will be going back for a sit-down dinner soon, and I will have to try their brisket burnt ends and their pork belly burnt ends (which the other Hutchins does not have).  They have an upstairs dining room as well as an outside patio.  There's even an elevator to the upstairs.  I'll check that out next time.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Panther City BBQ, Fort Worth 6/4/23


sampled 6/4/23 around 11:30 am

With our buddy John still in town, he wanted one more BBQ stop before heading back to San Angelo.  Pickings are a little more limited on Sunday but we chose Panther City BBQ in Fort Worth.  We chose wisely.  We got there about 11 am and found about 40 people in line in front of us.  It took us about 15 minutes for us to get to the inside line with the AC and another 15 to get up to the counter and make our orders.  John got the Texas trinity and came away very happy.  My Mrs picked the brisket burrito and the Flacodilla.  I went for the pork belly poppers, 8 of them.  My to-go "box" had a belt around it.  Life is good.

Friday, June 2, 2023

Meat U Anywhere BBQ, Grapevine, 6/2/23


sampled 6/2/23 about 11 am

Two days in a row for some great Q in Tarrant County.  Today we hit Meat U Anywhere BBQ in Grapevine, about 10 minutes from our house.  They open at 6 am so there's no opening line-up scrum to contend with.  In the past, we had to park in their overflow lot down the street, but we were early enough today to find a spot in the shade next to the restaurant.  The line was short at 11 am and I grabbed my usual Texas trinity with some mac and cheese.  My Mrs went for the brisket and egg breakfast taco and was very happy.  Our buddy John got the rib combo and was also very happy.  My brisket was tender, moist, and smoky and the jalapeno cheddar sausage was good, but not as spicy as I prefer.  My 2 ribs were chewy and dry but John declared his excellent and as good as what we had at Dayne's yesterday.  I disagreed.   Still an excellent BBQ meal 10 minutes from our house and no waiting.  

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Dayne's Craft BBQ, Fort Worth


Sampled June 1, 2023 about 11:45 am.

Happy birthday to me!  This was my first chance to get back to Dayne's since they moved out west of the Fort Worth 820 loop.  Good as ever, just a bit further to go.  We got there about 11:10 am and were about number 20 back in the line.  The line moved quickly and we had our food in about 30 minutes.  I got the Texas Trinity, all 3 sausages, and 1/3 lb of the pork belly brisket.  The Mrs got a sliced brisket sandwich and told me she might need to get some sauce to put on it.  I recommended she take a bite or two first.  She confirmed no sauce was needed.  Atta girl!  The Margarita Pizza sausage might sound strange, but it just tasted like good Italian sausage to me.

The dining room is cozy and the AC works pretty well.  Well worth a trip to the west side of Tarrant County!

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Green's Texas BBQ, 5/20/23


How long has it been since you've had some pork belly bites, brisket biscuits, and brisket?  Well that's too long!  His new green chile mac and cheese is pretty tasty, too.

Sunday, April 2, 2023

2023 Houston BBQ Festival, April 2, 2023

It's been 10 years since the first Houston BBQ Festival and this year's festival was one of the best.  They missed 2 years due to the pandemic, but we have managed to make 8 of the 9 festivals.  Chris and Michael, together with their team and many volunteers, continue to impress with one of the best organized festivals we have attended.  There's a lot of hard work that goes on to host a show with 31 BBQ vendors and over 2000 attendees, but these guys make it look easy.  Simple things like having enough seating, tables, paper towels, trash cans (plus a crew to keep them emptied), and being prepared for the ever changing Texas weather are things that only happen with lots of pre-event planning and experience.  

The Mrs and I made our way down I-45 in 4 hours without any trouble.  Our first BBQ encounter happened while checking into our hotel.  There were a couple of us in line while waiting on a gentleman with a credit card issue.  I thought the guy waiting with me looked familiar, then I noticed he had on a Snow's BBQ shirt.  I asked if he worked at Snow's and his reply was, "I AM Snow's!"  Of course he was Kerry Bexley and we spent a couple of minutes chatting before we were able to check into our hotel.  Snow's was not part of the festival, but they had come down just to enjoy the weekend and see some of their BBQ friends.  We've never made it to Lexington, but we have had Snow's at several festivals, via mail order, and have sent Snow's BBQ to friends and family in Hawaii, Oregon, Indiana, and Austin.  It was nice to meet Kerry and have the chance to tell him how much we have enjoyed his BBQ over the years.  I think he was a bit amused when I told him I was fasting in preparation for the meat fest the following day.
April 2nd dawned cloudy with a small threat of thunderstorms.  Temperatures were in the 80's and winds behaved themselves (unlike 2013).  We arrived early and had a chance to wander around a bit as the VIP line formed and snaked its way back from the entrance.  

18 booths were set up outside with another 13 inside.  The Humble Event Center provides plenty of room with a nice indoor space to flee to if the weather gets nasty.  There are also plenty of indoor restrooms so the always unpleasant porta cans are not needed.  Fortunately, things stayed nice and the clouds kept the temperature from getting too toasty.  

The VIPs thundered in right at noon and we were off to the BBQ races.  As usual, we had brought along our BBQ boxes to gather a bunch of samples before sitting down to gnosh.  We started with the outside booths, then made our way inside to visit the rest of the booths.  The goal is always to sample as many booths as possible before the general admission folks come in at 1 pm.  Lines quickly formed and we tended to gather up samples from the shortest lines first, then made our way back to visit the sites we had skipped when their line shortened.  Samples varied greatly, as they always do, with some joints passing out a small piece of meat while others included several samples plus sides.  Anyone who leaves this event hungry, just ain't trying!
There were a lot of food highlights including some excellent brisket and a brisket burger from Gatlin's, nice ribs from Tin Roof  and The Brisket House, plus tasty sausage from Ray's and Brotherton.  There were lots of less traditional items including Cajun, Mexican, and even Vietnamese takes on BBQ.  Those included lots of pork and brisket tacos, dirty rice, boudin, beef ribs, nachos, pork belly, smoked turkey, prime rib, pork loin, meatballs, and even a BBQ take on Slim Jims.  If you love variety in your BBQ, Houston is the place for you and that variety was very well represented at this festival.  I think my favorite "variety" pick was Pizzitola's brisket enchiladas.  There were even a few deserts on offer and my favorites were Tin Roof's strawberry swirl cheesecake and Tejas Chocolate & BBQ's Manhattan panna cotta shooter, which I heard several folks describe as "chocolate pudding."  St. Arnold even brought along their own brand of root beer which was mighty tasty.  
In short, it's hard to think of a better value than sampling 31 Houston (mostly) restaurants in one place for less than $5 a pop.  Not only are BBQ fests a lot of fun, but they help to build a BBQ community and challenge everyone to come up with new and interesting BBQ items that might just become your new favorite.  Kudos to HOU BBQ for another bang up festival that will have us all back on our diets until next year!
Several additional posts will follow "soon" with booth and food photos.  Click on down and, remember, clicking on any photo will give you a larger view.  Be aware clicking might just make you hungry.