There’s a long stretch of East Texas interstate between Dallas and Texarkana that’s light on good barbecue. But on Saturday mornings, a barbecue oasis appears in the parking lot of the Sulphur Springs Fix & Feed just a half mile detour off I-30. That’s where two buddies from the barbecue competition circuit open the window on the Slaughter’s BBQ Oasis food truck.
David Slaughter and Jeremy Edwards work together for food distributor Ben E. Keith during the week, but they race each other to the Fix & Feed every Friday evening to light the smoker. They also painstakingly set up plastic palm trees, surf shop signs, and umbrellas. The pitmasters take the “oasis” concept seriously, which is fitting as their set-up is surrounded by pallets of fencing materials in a feed store parking lot.
Slaughter and Edwards started the business last year by setting up a tent and selling chopped brisket sandwiches. After six months, they had enough profit to buy a trailer and expand the menu. Now they start selling breakfast tacos at 7am before switching to the barbecue menu at 10am. “We sell out every Saturday,” Slaughter said, sometimes by 1:30pm.
When I arrived just after 10am, folks were already waiting on their lunch orders. One gentleman said he buys enough to last for a few days because it’s the only barbecue he likes in the area. I ordered a little of everything, then surveyed the hot sauce options. Bottles of about twenty varieties fill a wood box next to the ordering window. There are also three barbecue sauces: spicy, regular, and mustard. The mustard was great with the excellent smoked turkey and chicken. The pulled pork was already covered with the regular sauce, and luckily, the combination worked.
The brisket was the most impressive item on the tray. They use Choice grade briskets. “We did prime, and for the money and the final product, we didn’t notice a big difference,” Slaughter said. The slices were plenty juicy, and maybe a bit too tender. I could tell from the texture that they wrap their briskets, but there was still plenty of good pecan and oak smoke. The beef rib was the only letdown. It needed a couple more hours on the smoker. Slaughter confessed these chuck ribs were bigger than normal, and with just one pit, he has to do a lot of meat shuffling throughout the night to get it all done.