Normally I stay away from chains, but this location made it into Texas Monthly’s Top 50, so I thought I’d give it a try. There are four stand-alone locations as well as two more in the DFW Airport, but a friend and I chose to try the original, which opened in 1983. The strip mall location is underwhelming, but the smell of smoke inside was tempting. My dining companion had not yet experienced a full day of BBQ tasting, so she insisted on eating a full lunch here (much to her dismay as the hours wore on). We tried sliced brisket, pork ribs, and sausage. The sausage was average with little spice, a medium chewy grind, and decent snap. The brisket here was standout with consistently lean slices that all had an intense smoky flavor from the deep black crust. Bites without the crust lacked the deep smokiness, but the slices were small enough that it was hard to get a bite without that beautiful crust. The slices were also moist and perfectly tender. The ribs here were the only disappointment. This joint tries to separate itself from others in the market by using a distinct and thick red spice rub on the ribs before they are smoked. Unfortunately, the rub flavor overpowers the meat, which had a good toothsome tenderness and great moistness. The rub flavor was at first spicy but slowly turned to bitter as it reached the back of my mouth. The ribs were shown adequate attention during the smoking process, and I fully expect that these ribs would be far superior with a little salt and pepper, but this joint just chose the wrong technique to try and create their signature.

(This review originally appeared on Full Custom Gospel BBQ.)