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Joel’s Bar-B-Q

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BBQ Snob Rating


  • Opened


  • Method

    Gas-fired Rotisserie with Mesquite

Back in 1978 Joycelyn and her then-husband Joel Kubesch were smoking meat at area parking lots on the weekends. They then moved into this current building around 1980. Joycelyn runs the place now, but the building looks like it came from another century. A tin roof over a clapboard exterior houses the main part of the building. Stacks of misshapen stones held together by thick mortar make up the walls of what looks like an addition where logs act as window frames. The screen doors don’t do much to keep the heat out, but it doesn’t really matter since there’s no air conditioning. The big steel warming pit just behind the counter doesn’t do anything to cool things down. On a hot day it’s best to get your order to go, which is what I did.

Joels 01

The brisket was as dry as it looked. It was also lean and over-trimmed, but the flavor was good and there was plenty of smokiness from the mesquite. It would probably make a good chopped beef sandwich. Ribs were just mushy meat and a couple of clean bones. The rub was mainly sugar with a little salt for flavor. Given the lack of smoke, they must have been wrapped for a considerable portion of their cooking time. That would also explain how they got so overdone.

Joels 02

A beef and pork mix is used for their homemade sausage. It had plenty of black pepper and garlic, but it had barely a whiff of smoke. More time on the smoker would have given the casing a better snap too. Sides included simple baked beans and a serviceable potato salad. Luckily the homemade jerky was a good ending.

Joel’s convenient location along the interstate makes it a tempting stop. You can get a fine snack of jerky, a good link of sausage and probably a decent chopped beef sandwich too. I just wouldn’t travel too far if it’s ribs and sliced brisket that you’re after.

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  • Redeemed

    The chopped beef sandwich is pretty tasty. That’s about it. Getting the top cut/wet/fatty (depends on what part of Texas you’re from) is FAR better than the lean; moist and tender, for the most part. However, still missing the good smoked taste. Usually some good bark, but it’s just missing that deep smoked flavor that most Texans love to love. The sides are all nondescript, but nothing’s “bad.” Counter manners are about as unpredictable as the meat, with some folks who work the counter somewhat friendly, while others appear to wish they were anywhere else but work. I’ve stopped at Joel’s 6 or 7 times over the past several years, traveling to and from Houston. I’d say that 3 of those times the brisket’s been good enough to have me make the short stop off of I-10 when the hunger light comes on … the other times, I wish I had walked over to the mexican food place adjacent to Joel’s. Roll the dice next time you’re driving by Flatonia, you might get some fairly decent BBQ .. .something to hold you over until you get home.

  • WOB

    Have eaten at Joel’s at least 7 times, stopping on different days and time of day. My assessment is pretty much in line with the above reviewer. The brisket just doesnt have the deep smoked flavor we Texas BBQ lovers are accustomed to.

    The top cut is nice and moist and FAR better than the dried out overcooked lean. However, the quality of that brisket has varied during my visits. There’s been 2-3 times when it was flat out delicious. Then a few more times when it was just okay. I can honestly say their lean is the worst brisket ive eaten in my 45 years of BBQ eating. The sides are okay, nothing special. The chopped beef sandwich is tasty. I like their sauce; tangy, little sweet, with just the right amount of heat.

    As mentioned above, the hired help’s attitude is spotty, with some friendly and others sulky and sullen. Sine I always get my food to go, I dont have to dealnwith them much, so its not a big deal.

    Oh, yea…the sausage is usually good, though I’m not a big fan of some of the spices their producer uses.

    At $19/lb, at last visit I’m pre try much done with Joel’s until the.price comes down. With Luling, TX only a fairly short distance.down the road, id rather drive farther and know I’ll always get quality BBQ than to roll the dice at Joel’s