As we waited in a line that was nearly out the door, we found ourselves envying the locals who knew to get to LJ’s right when it opened. By the time we made it to the counter, Matt Lowery himself was slicing brisket at a rapid pace (he’d already sold out of ribs). We walked to the table with a plate of meats and a side we were particularly excited about: the brisket mac and cheese. Buttery in texture and color, with a truly cheesy flavor, the mac could have stood alone. But with a generous serving of chopped brisket atop it? We would have been happy with that as our whole meal. The sliced brisket was also a dream, boasting a beautiful smoke ring, well-peppered bark, and melty fat. The sausage was juicy, with a casing that snapped immediately and then gave way to the sweet and salty flavor of its dense interior. The turkey delighted too, packing a bit of peppery punch. And the house-made barbecue sauce was distinctive: a little sweet, undeniably tangy, and more smoky than peppery. We took one lick of the brownish-red dollop we’d squirted onto our plates and decided we could drink it.
Method: Post oak; offset smoker
Pitmaster: Corey Cook, 46; Matt Lowery, 40
Pro-tip: On Fridays and Saturdays, don’t miss the free, locally brewed beer in the cooler just past the checkout.
One of the best 'new' places in the state serves excellent smoked meat and a mean mac and cheese.