The oil business suited Cody Wing just fine for a while, but the barbecue calling was stronger. No, this isn’t a story about a former oil and gas executive looking for a slice of the simple life. Cody Wing had worked with his brother at Wingman Oil Change Center in Marble Falls since 2009. “The oil change and car wash business is my brother’s passion,” Wing told me during a recent visit to his new barbecue joint, Wingman Brothers Smokehouse, just down the street from his former place of employment. Pointing to the stacks of wood behind the restaurant, Wing said, “This is the direction I want to go.”
Wing has taken over the old Peete Mesquite BBQ building and given it a fresh coat of black paint and a new red sign. Peete Mesquite’s owner, Wayne Henderson, retired in 2017 after eighteen years in business. He stuck around for a while to show the young crew the ropes of running a barbecue joint. Wing even has the old steel pit out back, but it’s been cold for a while. He prefers his new Oyler smoker, which churns all night to put out hickory-smoked briskets, before Wing switches over to mesquite and oak in the early morning for the rest of the meats.
Wing says the pork ribs are nearly as popular as the brisket. They’ve got a bold flavor from a heavy rub that’s got a hint of sweetness. Maybe they’re juicier on Friday—rib special day—when the folks can’t enough of them. I liked the pork steak better. It’s sliced thin off a cut that’s about an inch thick and fanned out. “It’s a presentation thing,” Wing said, noting that it’s far more popular than the pulled pork. Those thin slices make for a tender chew.
The brisket is plenty tender too. I wasn’t given a choice on the brisket cut, and I got some good lean slices. I must admit that after Wing recognized my name on the credit card, he brought over a few slices of decadent fatty brisket as well. I’d say you’ll be fine with either. Hickory wood lays down a heavy smoke on the beef, and the smoke level rode right on the edge of too much, but still enjoyable. There was also a nice crisp nugget of fat at the edges of each brisket slice. A bite of that was like smoked brisket concentrate.
There are plenty of sides to choose from, but don’t miss out on some of the best creamed corn I’ve ever had. Sweet corn isn’t exactly in season. They just use frozen cobs anyway. Those cobs are grilled until they get some char on them, and then the kernels are cut off. Wing starts with a roux for the cream, a far better alternative to the oft-found cream of corn soup.
The peach cobbler is the only dessert made in house, but I didn’t try it. Wing steered me toward one of the triple berry mini pies made by a local pie shop. Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries were sandwiched between a buttery crust and a crumb topping. It’s enough for two, but I couldn’t help but finish it.
Wingman Brothers Smoke House is a welcome addition to the barbecue options along Highway 281. Wing also understands how to attract those travelers; he just started with Sunday hours a couple week ago. He’s even thinking about opening Monday too. “I love getting here in the morning when no one’s here,” he said. I told him that keeping his day off would prolong that love. Marble Falls will be happy enough to have six days a week to try Wing’s impressive barbecue.
2407 US-281, Marble Falls, TX, 78654
Tues-Thur 11-7, Fri-Sat 11-8, Sun 11-3
Pitmaster: Cody Wing
Method: Oak, hickory, and mesquite in a wood-fired rotisserie
Year opened: 2018