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Spotted in Bandera

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<span style="font-size: 13px">Two years ago, I took a road trip with two friends and stopped at ten joints in a single day. Our final stop was Kreuz, and it did not disappoint. I was hoping to strike gold on this trip where Kreuz was again the tenth stop on a epic day of barbecue'ing. </span><a style="font-size: 13px" href="http://twitter.com/#%21/Pitmasterkreuz">Roy Perez</a><span style="font-size: 13px"> is the pitmaster here, and he was tending a tasty pit on this day.</span> <a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TUXCnRFZf_I/AAAAAAAAEWg/QMid45BcX1s/s1600/Kreuz%2B22.JPG"><img class="aligncenter" alt="" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TUXCnRFZf_I/AAAAAAAAEWg/QMid45BcX1s/s400/Kreuz%2B22.JPG" border="0" /></a> We opted for a link, an end cut pork chop, and a thick slice of clod. The all-beef link was juicy and robust. It had a great snap and plenty of spice. I prefer a link with a little pork in it, but this was a great example of the all-beef variety. The clod was rich and smoky. The perfectly tender meat was surrounded by a thick black crust and a great smokering just beneath it. It very well may be the best slice of clod I've ever eaten. The thick pork chop wasn't far down the ladder. Intensely flavorful and supple meat was enveloped by a thin line of perfectly rendered fat that gushed with salty flavor. I don't think there could have been a better ending to such a long day of eating, and I sat amazed as we finished every speck of meat despite our very full stomachs. It was a real testament to the quality of the meat, and to Roy's skill as the quintessential pitmaster. (<em>This review originally appeared on Full Custom Gospel BBQ.</em>)

 

For my first official outing as the Wanderer, I got to play cowgirl for a few days in Bandera, the (self-proclaimed) Cowboy Capital of the World. As I was busy riding horses, two-stepping, and eating fried delicacies, I managed to take nearly a thousand photographs. Here are ten of the most head-turning things I spied as I was channeling my inner Dale Evans . . .

1. Chickens (okay, roosters) crossing the road to get to (hand on the Bible) the Chikin Coop bar.

  2. A cowboy hat high atop a pole at the Dixie Dude Ranch.

<p><img alt="" class="media-image attr__typeof__foaf:Image img__fid__35416 img__view_mode__default attr__format__default attr__field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]__ attr__field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]__" src="http://www.texasmonthly.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AP_365412300454_0.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p> <p>Since announcing his presidential bid in June, Donald Trump has managed to <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/14/donald-trump-s-mouth-has-cost-him-50-million.html">chase off $50 million</a> in personal revenue, earn the ire of fellow 2016 hopefuls in both parties, and get into an alleged Twitter beef with <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/donald-trump-aide-verifies-fbi-investigating-el-chapos-twitter-threat-2015147">an escaped drug lord</a>. And all of this is because he wants—no, <em>needs</em>—to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.</p> <p>Despite effectively setting his campaign up to implode by calling undocumented immigrants rapists, Trump trumpeted Trump’s <a href="http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/trump-ill-win-the-latino-vote">work on NBC</a>: “You wouldn’t be hearing about the word immigration if it weren’t for Donald Trump. I brought the whole subject up.” Undeniably, the mogul’s controversial remarks have placed extra attention on the issue for 2016 candidates. But another presidential hopeful has been talking about immigration for years, and Trump is setting the stage for him to look <em>really</em> good.</p> <!--break--> <p>Rick Perry, who served as Texas governor for fourteen years, has the most direct experience with immigration issues out of anyone in the 2016 cohort. He told Trump as much after the Donald blasted him on Twitter.<br />  </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Rick Perry failed at the border. Now he is critical of me. He needs a new pair of glasses to see the crimes committed by illegal immigrants.</p> — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/617705622251917312">July 5, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p><br /> Perry issued a video response:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BjuA9KQ7JXg" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><br /> “No one knows the concerns that Americans have about our porous border better than I do,” he said. “You see, as governor for fourteen years of the state with the longest border with Mexico, I know that there can be no national security without border security. I also know that while border security might be Washington’s responsibility, it’s Texas’s problem.”<br /> <br /> He went on to detail the specific steps Texas took to secure the border under his leadership, including investing almost a billion dollars and deploying the Texas National Guard to aid in surge operations (which, he was quick to note, was a response to the “unprecedented crisis” created by President Obama’s amnesty policy). </p> <p>Perry rightly noted that Trump’s remarks make for “good reality TV, but they’re way out of touch with reality.” But <em>The Apprentice</em> star’s baffling campaign also makes for a much-needed foil to Perry’s work on immigration, a delicate subject after his 2012 bid.</p> <p>At a Florida debate in September 2011, Perry was slammed for signing a 2001 law that granted undocumented students in-state tuition at Texas public universities. Perry was further lambasted by conservatives for <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/44675117/ns/politics-decision_2012/t/how-immigration-blew-rick-perry/">his response to the attacks</a>: “If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they've been brought there by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart.”</p> <p>That remark played a part in dooming Perry’s first bid. But in the 2016 race, with a GOP front-runner <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-mexico-sources-immigrants">openly floating the idea</a> that Mexico is intentionally sending criminals to the U.S., it’s hard to imagine that such a seemingly, well, <em>reasonable</em> statement would provoke a similar backlash. Sure, Trump might be leading early Republican polls, but he’s angering a voting bloc that’s essential to winning the White House: Hispanics.</p> <p>Although this constituency has historically been an afterthought in political races, growing populations in 2012 battleground states such as Nevada, Colorado, Virginia, and Florida have <a href="http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/la-na-adv-latinos-presidential-race-20150510-story.html">prompted candidates to woo Hispanic voters</a>. This is especially important for Republicans, who have traditionally had a hard time securing Hispanic votes.</p> <p>Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and<a href="http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/jeb-bush-once-claimed-be-hispanic"> Hispanic-poseur</a> Jeb Bush are widely seen as the GOP’s golden boys in this mission. But, in part thanks to Trump, Perry could be another candidate able to court Hispanic voters. Trump hurled a fireball into Perry’s court. Now it’s time for him to show us what he’s got. </p> <p>He could start by showing the GOP how he managed to maintain a hard-line border security stance <a href="http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/perry-s-overlooked-asset-hispanic-support-20110819">without alienating Hispanic voters</a>, a fine balance that gained him 38 percent of the Hispanic vote in his last bid for governor. Or he could help them understand that calling undocumented immigrants criminals is offensive, as he did in his response to Trump. Perry has consistently offered measured responses about immigration policy, proving that you can both advocate for strengthened borders and remember that you’re talking about human life.</p> <p>Yes, Trump might have stoked the immigration debate, but he’s not the only one talking about it. And Trump’s thin (read: nonexistent) policy experience is opening the door for veterans like Perry to take charge of the conversation. Somewhere in Perry’s smirking response, there’s an unmistakable undertone of “Thank ya, Donny.”</p> <p><em>(Images via AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)</em></p>

  3. Six-shooters for doorknobs at Gunslinger Dry Goods.

Republican presidential candidate, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during the National Right to Life convention, Friday, July 10, 2015, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

  4. Paris Hilton’s weave. When the socialite and her pal Nicole Richie came to town in 2004 to film episodes of The Simple Life 2, they left behind a few mementos, which have been enshrined in a case at the back of the Bandera General Store.

<a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-IEq8EONrnik/TWsYiqu7VEI/AAAAAAAAEfM/6dGKFSBBXw4/s1600/Eddlemons%2BBBQ%2B01.JPG"><img border="0" alt="" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-IEq8EONrnik/TWsYiqu7VEI/AAAAAAAAEfM/6dGKFSBBXw4/s200/Eddlemons%2BBBQ%2B01.JPG"></a><br><span><span>GRAND PRAIRIE: Eddlemon's BBQ</span> <span>3202<br>SE 14th St</span>.<br><span>Grand Prairie, TX 75052</span> <span><br>972-262-0304</span><br><span>Open Daily during course hours</span><br><a href="http://www.prairielakesgolf.com/eddlemons">www.prairielakesgolf.com/eddlemons</a></span><br><br>At the beginning of their history, so many of the Central Texas BBQ meccas were once meat markets. Over time the popularity of their smoked meats eclipsed the popularity or the profit margins of their traditional business, until the day when the scales no longer weighed raw meat. Here in North Texas we have our own version of that story that involves a golf course and a Tongan brick mason.<br><br>Eddlemon's Food Shop began their long history in Grand Prairie in 1953. Over the years they started smoking meats and expanded to three meat market locations in the area. The only former location I could find was at 105 Clarice St. in Grand Prairie. Times got tough a few years back which is when brothers Johnny and Joe Eddlemon decided it was best to close up shop in 2006. At around the same time, the city of Grand Prairie was looking for a food vendor at their public golf course on the shore of Mountain Creek Lake. The Eddlemon brothers just needed a pit. Instead of grabbing a few gas fired ovens in an auction, they hired a Tongan artisan to build a new brick and steel wood fired pit. It's out back in a screened enclosure, and a tall aged Eddlemon's sign is propped alongside.<br><br><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-109NyEPBmIE/TWsX2ceilQI/AAAAAAAAEfE/ypznvVtPW8U/s1600/Eddlemons%2BBBQ%2B02.JPG"><img border="0" alt="" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-109NyEPBmIE/TWsX2ceilQI/AAAAAAAAEfE/ypznvVtPW8U/s400/Eddlemons%2BBBQ%2B02.JPG"></a><br><br>While I cautiously opened the doors into the pit area (is it open to the public?) I heard a voice behind me asking if I'd like a tour. Wheeling around sheepishly, I found Johnny Eddlemon dressed in all black and ready for a catering gig. He told me the story of the pits and some family history, then urged me to come back and have a sit down meal. He had spotted me using my to-go order as a photo model on the hood of my car.<br><br><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-IyWlbwWJYB8/TWsX2PyGHuI/AAAAAAAAEe8/dW9nMGgBhog/s1600/Eddlemons%2BBBQ%2B03.JPG"><img border="0" alt="" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-IyWlbwWJYB8/TWsX2PyGHuI/AAAAAAAAEe8/dW9nMGgBhog/s400/Eddlemons%2BBBQ%2B03.JPG"></a><br><br>For a place that takes their 'cue so seriously that they'd build a giant brick pit from the ground up, the sauced meat was a surprise. Ribs are not a menu option, so I opted for the sliced brisket, German sausage, and 'almost world famous' hot links. From-the-can sides were forgettable, but the meat was worth another trip. Tender brisket had captured some of that pecan smoke, but it also had grill marks and a grill-like flavor. My guess is this is from the seasoned grates that sit motionless in the smoker. Hot links had these same marks, but not the same smoke. They were a notch above the spicy bologna links that pervade the Oklahoma BBQ scene, but they were ground too fine for my liking. German sausage was excellent. These North Texas links (from an unknown supplier) had a great snap, good smoke and some unique spices. I finished every thick chunk of sausage and still couldn't pinpoint that flavor. Maybe I'll ask next time, and Ill certainly ask for my plate without the sweet and smoky sauce. There's no need here.<br><br>Rating ***<br><a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/13/1552118/restaurant/Eddlemons-BBQ-Grand-Prairie"><img alt="Eddlemon's BBQ on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/logo/1552118/minilogo.gif"></a>

  5. At Bucking Pony Leather, owner Clayton Powell proudly showed me the gorgeous tooled-leather gun cover he’d made for his Ruger.

<a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-fAUww1onSLg/TWsFzUQxW7I/AAAAAAAAEeE/w0sbeGFVCdU/s1600/Woody%2BB%2527s%2BBBQ%2B01.JPG"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-fAUww1onSLg/TWsFzUQxW7I/AAAAAAAAEeE/w0sbeGFVCdU/s200/Woody%2BB%2527s%2BBBQ%2B01.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><span><span>RICHARDSON: Woody B's BBQ</span><br><span>1980 Nantucket Dr</span><br><span>Richardson, TX 75080</span><br><span>214-295-2892</span><br><span>Open Tues-Sat 11-7</span><br><a href="http://www.woodybsbbq.com/">www.woodybsbbq.com</a></span><br><br>Although Woody Berry didn't intend it, his boil-in-bag concept that was almost an afterthought, has become the focus of many reviews. This reheating method is getting a few comments over on <a href="http://sidedish.dmagazine.com/2011/02/25/boil-in-the-bag-bbq-at-woody-b-s-in-richardson/">SideDish</a> and <a href="http://www.pegasusnews.com/news/2011/feb/15/woody-bs-bbq-richardson/">Pegasus News</a>, and I was certainly skeptical when making my purchase. I thought I'd get as many of the offerings as I could since I was going to welcome home Smokemasterone's new baby, and I wanted the proud parents to have some options. The Berry's are very proud owners and were happy to show us "The Beast" which is an Oyler smoker which holds court in a crammed kitchen. There's just enough room to open the firebox door and feed in the logs of mesquite wood. After the tour, we took our sack full of plastic baggies and made our way over to casa de SM1. A boiling pot of water and 15 minutes later, we were cracking open a sack of pulled pork.<br><br><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DQpNkYkxdY4/TWsGGpiTqkI/AAAAAAAAEek/7Kal7m_2j8U/s1600/Woody%2BB%2527s%2BBBQ%2B03.jpg"><img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DQpNkYkxdY4/TWsGGpiTqkI/AAAAAAAAEek/7Kal7m_2j8U/s400/Woody%2BB%2527s%2BBBQ%2B03.jpg" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>If they had a marketing firm, I'm guessing they wouldn't feature many photos of the product before debagging it. Once we got it into a bowl, you could smell the smokiness and see the pulled strands of meat. The flavor had a hint of vinegar which helped to keep it moist, and it went perfectly with the crispy slaw.<br><br><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-M25hcyhlYek/TWsGGtL5CyI/AAAAAAAAEec/huoPOQ8tZeM/s1600/Woody%2BB%2527s%2BBBQ%2B02.jpg"><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-M25hcyhlYek/TWsGGtL5CyI/AAAAAAAAEec/huoPOQ8tZeM/s400/Woody%2BB%2527s%2BBBQ%2B02.jpg" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>While waiting for it all to boil, we cracked open a bag of unheated (per owner's instructions) smoked salmon. The meat was delicate, perfectly seasoned, with just the right amount of smoke. Mesquite has a reputation for creating an oversmoked flavor, but this was spot on. It was obvious why this is one of his best sellers.<br><br><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-UVBPWN9owiE/TWsGFmXfiTI/AAAAAAAAEeM/erHkCoVJhhQ/s1600/Woody%2BB%2527s%2BBBQ%2B05.jpg"><img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-UVBPWN9owiE/TWsGFmXfiTI/AAAAAAAAEeM/erHkCoVJhhQ/s400/Woody%2BB%2527s%2BBBQ%2B05.jpg" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-RONU0nsaV7s/TWsGGJA79oI/AAAAAAAAEeU/7Q7XyXad5Cc/s1600/Woody%2BB%2527s%2BBBQ%2B04.jpg"><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-RONU0nsaV7s/TWsGGJA79oI/AAAAAAAAEeU/7Q7XyXad5Cc/s400/Woody%2BB%2527s%2BBBQ%2B04.jpg" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>The next evening back at my place it was time for another boil-fest. A pound and a half of brisket (they need to work on the package size options) and a half rack of ribs sat in the pot for 15 minutes, and dinner was ready. Brisket is a cut that is nearly impossible to heat up successfully once it's been sliced, but this beef was moist, tender and succulent. I was amazed at how well it retained a fresh flavor, and the smokiness was undeniable. One knock is that slices from the point had some unrendered fat, but this was some good brisket.<br><br><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-SxeWiaWfUjo/TXWve4C_oVI/AAAAAAAAEiM/dmCnxFU5VdI/s1600/Woody%2BB%2527s%2BBBQ%2B08.JPG"><img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-SxeWiaWfUjo/TXWve4C_oVI/AAAAAAAAEiM/dmCnxFU5VdI/s400/Woody%2BB%2527s%2BBBQ%2B08.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>Ribs were presauced, but the addition was subtle. The meat came off the bone too easily, but after the hot bath, it's no wonder they got a bit too tender. These baby backs had a bit of fat, but it was all nicely rendered and the smoky flavors melded nicely with the black pepper in the rub. I was certainly impressed.<br><br><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-j5o3NMpdbbs/TXWvemySA7I/AAAAAAAAEiE/3zzrNiUXEoM/s1600/Woody%2BB%2527s%2BBBQ%2B07.JPG"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-j5o3NMpdbbs/TXWvemySA7I/AAAAAAAAEiE/3zzrNiUXEoM/s400/Woody%2BB%2527s%2BBBQ%2B07.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>Given the absolute BBQ desert in the Richardson area, I could certainly see this place prospering if they just put out passable 'cue, but from what I tried, this place goes a few steps above passable. Customers will need to understand that this is not BBQ to-go. It is BBQ with some assembly required, but it's worth the effort. And if you're feeling lazy, a few slabs of that salmon would make for an even quicker dinner. I'll be back.<br><br>Rating ***<br><span><br>02/2011: Woody B's is a new venture in Richardson from Woody Berry, an experienced caterer. Rather than abandon a successful business to try and lure diners to a sit-down place, with all the risk and debt that entails, Mr. Berry has tried to find a middle-ground between caterer and restauranteur. Woody B's is take-out only, but that doesn't quite tell the tale. I walked in just after noon on a Saturday to find a front room that consists of a register and two glass-fronted reach ins. One a cooler, one a freezer. I may be the minor hand here at FCG-BBQ, but I'm willing to bet the BBQ Snob hasn't needed a colander in the quest for 'que. Everything is pre-packaged and the meats come shrink wrapped in boil-in bags. I'm not sure if this is a novel approach, but it is my first encounter.<br><br>Mr. Berry was tending the register, introduced himself immediately and ran me through the available options. He uses an Oyler pit nicknamed "The Beast". It is enshrined on one wall by way of a mural. The setup uses the small storefront to maximum efficiency and allows catering to continue without conflicting with the more fickle demands of a regular dining location. One drawback to the customer is that portion sizes are decided for you. This was a meal for two, so almost two pounds of brisket was all I could handle home without knowing how successful the boiling process might turn out. I did take some cole slaw for roughage. Fresh made cookies from the misses are also on offer. Meat came home, pot went on cooktop and 20 minutes later, dinner had arrived. It was certainly simple. The additional time at home does appear to do a better job of retaining true BBQ flavor than the ubiquitous warmed foil tray.<br><br><img alt="" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-CDnFKwAudm8/TV00BHpvI4I/AAAAAAAAAH0/A6aMZQZC6Zw/s400/woodybs-web.jpg" border="0"><br><br>I got a distinct smoke bouquet when cutting the bag open. No sauce was applied and the meat was fairly dry, so removing it from the bag just took a couple brisk tugs. Once plated, it looked the part. Deep dark crust, solid smoke line. There were pieces from two parts of the cut, upper thick flat (?) and narrower mid-point perhaps. The point slices were losing integrity but had excellent flavor. The crustiest parts of the flat were terrific. The broadest pieces took a little more aggressive tug to get through than is ideal and, predictably, had the least concentrated flavor. All was cooked to a reassuring standard. The accompanying sauce was thick and sweet with a modestly tangy finish. I would have to imagine blackstrap mollasses is one of the sweeteners. The slaw was a broad cut, lightly dressed and refreshing.<br><br>Overall, the brisket is a three star effort. I'll have to hold off on a rating for the whole operation until I've had a chance to sample the babybacks. If the boil-in-bag process looks good to you, I think their product can easily outshine the take-out options of the area's old standbys.<br><br><a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/13/1574260/restaurant/Woody-Bs-BBQ-Richardson"><img alt="Woody B's BBQ on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/logo/1574260/minilogo.gif"></a></span>

  6. When I wasn’t feeding quarters into the jukebox at Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar saloon, I was playing this 70’s-era Dolly Parton pinball machine.

<a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/SnXCDd0jXiI/AAAAAAAABNA/kQe73bj46ks/s1600-h/IMG_0680.JPG"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/SnXCDd0jXiI/AAAAAAAABNA/kQe73bj46ks/s200/IMG_0680.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><span><span>DAVIS: Smokin' Joe's Rib Ranch</span> <span><br>1793 Highway 77</span> <span><br>Davis, OK 73030</span> <span><br>580-369-2818</span> <span><br>Open M-Tues 11-7, Thur-Sat 11-7</span></span><br><br>Update: With a dejected look on my face while sitting in the parking lot, I learned that Smokin' Joe's took off the week between Christmas and New Year's. This made me lust for what might be the best brisket in Oklahoma even more, so I convinced my wife to stop on our next trip up I-35. Even at three in the afternoon on a Saturday, the joint was packed. As we inched our way up the line, I decided that just a snack was in order, so I went with the three meat plate that featured brisket, pork loin and smoked buffalo wings.<br><br><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-MrmggsVuPJg/TVyvbSGyu3I/AAAAAAAAEbg/RVdbR28oVnk/s1600/Smokin%2527%2BJoe%2527s%2BRib%2BRanch%2B12.JPG"><img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-MrmggsVuPJg/TVyvbSGyu3I/AAAAAAAAEbg/RVdbR28oVnk/s400/Smokin%2527%2BJoe%2527s%2BRib%2BRanch%2B12.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>The smoked wings were huge with plenty of spicy sauce and just a hint of smoke. They weren't quite as good as the same dish at <a href="http://fcg-bbq.blogspot.com/2010/08/green-mesquite-chicken-wings.html">Green Mesquite</a> in Austin, but that makes them the second best smoked wings that I've eaten.<br><br><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-lgrG-GHMF-E/TVyvbYa6uYI/AAAAAAAAEbY/FRb-MqjCO5s/s1600/Smokin%2527%2BJoe%2527s%2BRib%2BRanch%2B11.JPG"><img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-lgrG-GHMF-E/TVyvbYa6uYI/AAAAAAAAEbY/FRb-MqjCO5s/s400/Smokin%2527%2BJoe%2527s%2BRib%2BRanch%2B11.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>The brisket was amazing once again. It was perfectly moist and buttery tender. The smokiness was evident in every bite, and there was nearly a pound of it in this single order. Inch thick slices of pork loin had a thick flavorful rub. The meat was moist, but could have been more tender. The smoke ring was very thick, and the smokiness in the meat was great.<br><br><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-KqqixUN1jOs/TVyvbG7cUbI/AAAAAAAAEbQ/Z-rfqFQD0-0/s1600/Smokin%2527%2BJoe%2527s%2BRib%2BRanch%2B10.JPG"><img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-KqqixUN1jOs/TVyvbG7cUbI/AAAAAAAAEbQ/Z-rfqFQD0-0/s400/Smokin%2527%2BJoe%2527s%2BRib%2BRanch%2B10.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>The fact that they do all of this with gas-fired Southern Pride smokers is even more impressive. It just goes to show that if you use plenty of wood, you can still get a good product with Southern Prides. It's just the exception rather than the rule.<br><br>Rating ****<br><span><br>2009: I'm used to eating off the hood of my car, but this proprietor just wouldn't have it. Joe came out back and insisted that he pull up a picnic table for my use. I finally convinced him it wasn't necessary and we chatted for quite some time. I guess he found some free time after the extended lunch rush. It was 2:00pm when I got in line, and the place was still packed with more feeding into the line behind me. A three meat combo was available, and besides the standard brisket and ribs, I added on some of the pulled chicken that I'd heard good things about in some online reviews.<br><br><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/SnXAmkZI0wI/AAAAAAAABMo/aPMgsxebqaQ/s1600-h/IMG_0677.JPG"><img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/SnXAmkZI0wI/AAAAAAAABMo/aPMgsxebqaQ/s400/IMG_0677.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>I wouldn't have even heard of the <a href="http://www.davisok.org/MemberDetail.asp?MID=1260">place</a> unless Don L. had pleaded by e-mail that I come give it a try, and I'm glad I did. Pulled chicken wasn't very smoky, but it had actually been "pulled" rather than chopped, and the meat was so moist I could hardly believe it was white meat. Brisket slices were thick, juicy and tender with an unctious glean from well rendered intramuscular fat. A nice crust and substantial smoke line lined these slices which unfortunately had all of the fat trimmed off. The meat was smoky throughout, and the flavor was robust. Ribs are huge, and Joe orders the 4 1/2 & up ribs which is outside the normal 4 & down ribs that most joints use. These ribs had a well formed crust with tender meat below. They were definitely heavy on the fat content, but it was well rendered fat, so most had melted into the meat.<br><br>The only items that were disappointing were the sausage and hot links that Joe brought out for me in a take out box right before I left. Both links were very similar with a fine grind, grocery store grade flavor, and full of fatty filler. The only difference was a considerable amount of spice added to hot links to bring the pleasing heat.<br><br><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/SnXAnZGdR-I/AAAAAAAABM4/NOVrUkn49j0/s1600-h/IMG_0679.JPG"><img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/SnXAnZGdR-I/AAAAAAAABM4/NOVrUkn49j0/s400/IMG_0679.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>In our chat, I learned that Joe just opened the place up 18 months ago, but he has built up quite a customer base in that short time. He's dome it by staying true to his smoked meat convictions. Briskets are bathed in hickory smoke overnight, then his first of three daily batches of ribs go on at 7:00 am. He does the three batches so his ribs are fresh throughout the day unlike many urban BBQ joints that store there ribs all day in plastic wrap<br><br>Rating ****<br><a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/46/1463609/restaurant/Bricktown/Smokin-Joes-Rib-Ranch-Oklahoma-City"><img alt="Smokin' Joes Rib Ranch on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/logo/1463609/minilogo.gif"></a><br></span>

  7. A small herd of Longhorns at the intersection of Ranch Road 1077 and Texas Highway 173. They were gracious enough to pose for me, even though I was interrupting their dinner.

  8. St. Stanislaus Church, the second oldest Polish parish in the U.S.

<a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-fxjRdtFUJVA/TWcq376TClI/AAAAAAAAEcU/vX2T1KtfjsU/s1600/Luckie%2527s%2B01.jpg"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-fxjRdtFUJVA/TWcq376TClI/AAAAAAAAEcU/vX2T1KtfjsU/s200/Luckie%2527s%2B01.jpg" alt="" border="0"></a> <br><span><span>DALLAS: Luckie's Smokehouse</span> <span> <br>1300 W. Davis St.</span> <span> <br>Dallas, TX 75208</span> <span> <br>214-943-2300</span> <span> <br>Open ?</span></span> <br><br>Update: This joint is <span>CLOSED</span>, and will reopen as OC Smokehouse. <br><br>2011: After a very <a href="http://fcg-bbq.blogspot.com/2009/07/luckies-smokehouse.html">disappointing trip</a> to their original location, I was interested to see what these guys could do in a new Oak Cliff location. They gave out some pretty <a href="http://fcg-bbq.blogspot.com/2010/09/sustainable-meat-or-good-bbq-you-choose.html">impressive samples</a> at this past summer's Oak Cliff BBQ competition, and I'd been <a href="http://fcg-bbq.blogspot.com/2010/11/bbq-coming-soon.html">keeping an eye</a> on their progress over the past few months. The place now looks great with a huge covered patio, a large bar area and a big dining room complete with mural. The menu is much wider than BBQ, and includes burgers, salads and the like. One curious menu limitation is that you cannot get ribs on a combo plate. They are only offered as a full or half rack plate. When I asked if they could charge me a few bucks more to add ribs to a combo plate with brisket, I was told they'd make an exception but they didn't want anyone to overhear because "Everyone is asking for it". Hey guys, if all of your customers are asking for something you can easily provide, put it on the menu. <br><br><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-20yvlMg24_o/TVytA-kNQaI/AAAAAAAAEao/tUsDWJVI0oM/s1600/Luckie%2527s%2BSmokehouse%2B02.JPG"><img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-20yvlMg24_o/TVytA-kNQaI/AAAAAAAAEao/tUsDWJVI0oM/s400/Luckie%2527s%2BSmokehouse%2B02.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a> <br><br>The plate comes with a crunchy, lightly dressed slaw and two sides of your choosing. My server suggested the soupy and overly rich creamed spinach, and I chose a bowl of the too-sweet baked beans. There was a healthy portion of sliced beef and two very large spare ribs on the plate. Three sauce options were provided on the side, and the ribs needed the additional flavor. The meat was mushy from being overcooked, and any crust that may have formed was eliminated in the warmer. The meat had decent seasoning, but lacked smokiness. They weren't really worth the menu hassles. Brisket was a pretty good version of roast beef. They had a nice mix of lean and fatty beef, but most of the bark had been trimmed away on all of them. The meat that remained needed more seasoning and more smoke. Sadly, none of the three sauces (sweet, spicy and vinegary) complimented the brisket slices very well. At least they all went nicely with the buttery Texas toast. <br><br>Rating ** <br><a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/13/1574586/restaurant/Kessler-Park-and-Stevens-Park/Luckies-Smokehouse-Dallas"><img alt="Luckie's Smokehouse on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/logo/1574586/minilogo.gif"></a>

  9. Expert two-steppers at the Longhorn Saloon. As I watched them spin around the sawdust-covered floor with ease, I realized I need to step up my two-step game.

<a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TUW9QP-QwWI/AAAAAAAAEUY/r6JMlBq5KMs/s1600/Sausage%2BShoppe%2BFW%2B01.JPG"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TUW9QP-QwWI/AAAAAAAAEUY/r6JMlBq5KMs/s200/Sausage%2BShoppe%2BFW%2B01.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><span><span>FORT WORTH: The Sausage Shoppe</span> <span><br>1302 E Seminary Dr</span><br><span>Fort Worth, TX 76115</span> <span><br>817-921-9960</span> <span><br>Open M-Sat 10-8</span></span><br><br>Great service; cash only; questionable neighborhood; East Texas style. Many phrases can be used to describe the Sausage Shoppe, but the one that matters is sausage emporium. Alright, maybe emporium is going a bit far, but they normally have three versions of their homemade sausage on the menu, and sometimes have 2 or more other versions for sale. All beef, all pork and a 50/50 mix are the standard offerings, and they come in one pound links (no half links available). They were also nice enough to wait until I was through with my meal before packing up the to-go sausage order.<br><br><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TUW9EVnmZKI/AAAAAAAAEUQ/_CDx3hc9tvM/s1600/Sausage%2BShoppe%2BFW%2B02.JPG"><img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TUW9EVnmZKI/AAAAAAAAEUQ/_CDx3hc9tvM/s400/Sausage%2BShoppe%2BFW%2B02.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>My daughter and I shared a rib sandwich and a brisket sandwich. Both came between two slices of white bread and were covered in sauce. They both needed some extra time on the smoker to gain tenderness and render out the chewy fat. The smoky flavor was there, and the meats had a pleasing flavor, but they relied on that saucy flavor boost.<br><br><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TUW9EOfDkFI/AAAAAAAAEUI/G8aPup1Qw10/s1600/Sausage%2BShoppe%2BFW%2B03.JPG"><img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TUW9EOfDkFI/AAAAAAAAEUI/G8aPup1Qw10/s400/Sausage%2BShoppe%2BFW%2B03.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>I didn't get a bite of the sausage until I got home. It was worth the wait. The meat had a medium grind with great snap to the casing. These links were moist, smokey and had just enough spice. While I ordered one all pork and one 50/50 link, I'm pretty certain that I got two 50/50 links. Two other friends couldn't tell the difference either. That'll just give me an excuse to get back there to try the other options.<br><br><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TUW9D6zuueI/AAAAAAAAEUA/ncq_NesU_Uc/s1600/Sausage%2BShoppe%2BFW%2B05.JPG"><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TUW9D6zuueI/AAAAAAAAEUA/ncq_NesU_Uc/s400/Sausage%2BShoppe%2BFW%2B05.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>While they seem to pay less attention to the ribs and brisket, it is called the Sausage Shoppe after all. The reason for the high rating is simply because their specialty is so good. I would certainly go out of my way to get a few more links.<br><br>Rating ***<br><a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/13/1572148/restaurant/The-Sausage-Shoppe-Fort-Worth"><img alt="The Sausage Shoppe on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/logo/1572148/minilogo.gif"></a>

  10. Dozens of supportive undergarments hanging from the rafters of the 11th Street Cowboy Bar. Apparently, ladies who leave without their bra will leave with a free T-shirt. Or so I was told.

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