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Where To Stay Now 2012: The Ten Best New (Or Improved!) Texas Hotels

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<a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TBWabE2AxAI/AAAAAAAAC8k/UxjDNcVA990/s1600/Pizzitola%27s+01.JPG"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TBWabE2AxAI/AAAAAAAAC8k/UxjDNcVA990/s200/Pizzitola%27s+01.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><span><span>HOUSTON: Pizzitola’s Bar-B-Cue </span><br><span>1703 Shepherd Drive</span><br><span>Houston, TX 77007</span><br><span>713-227-2283</span><br><span>Open M-Sat 11-8</span><br><a href="http://pizzitolas.com/">pizzitolas.com/</a></span><br><br>Seventy years after they opened, the only open pit resides right here at Pizzitola's, and due to current code requirements in Houston, there won't be another one anytime soon. The owners are more than happy to show it off, but beware, you'll be in some tight quarters. You see the kitchen is grossly undersized for this operation, but they can't expand because that would take a permit, and then they'd need to give up that pit. That pit is what gives the meat here that distinctive flavor along with the hickory wood. Although they use direct heat, there's still plenty of smoky flavor because they smoke with wood rather than using just coals like their open pit brethren at Cooper's and Hard 8.<br><br><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TBWarCm_VBI/AAAAAAAAC8s/gnG0GmeGu9M/s1600/Pizzitola%27s+02.JPG"><img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TBWarCm_VBI/AAAAAAAAC8s/gnG0GmeGu9M/s400/Pizzitola%27s+02.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>I got a nice tour of the kitchen, with pitmaster Jose looking on annoyed as we crowded him and his brisket. After the intoxicating aromas emanating from the pit, I couldn't wait to get a few bites of my smoked meat snack. Back in the car, my wife was happy that I brought some of their authentic banana pudding for her to snack on. The chunks of real bananas, whipped cream and Nilla wafers made for an excellent accompaniment to the meat.<br><br><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TBWaOFdJIOI/AAAAAAAAC8c/QL_hj5en9bE/s1600/Pizzitola%27s+04.JPG"><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TBWaOFdJIOI/AAAAAAAAC8c/QL_hj5en9bE/s400/Pizzitola%27s+04.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>The meat wasn't too shabby either. Pork ribs had a generous salt and black pepper rub. The finely ground pepper made it's way into every smoky bite. The meat came easily from the bone, but it was a bit dry. The brisket could have been more moist as well (maybe from the direct heat). Despite that minor flaw, this was solid eating brisket. A generous smokering laid beneath a crispy black crust which was brittle to the tooth. A hefty bit of smoke flavor found its way deep into the meat which was tender with a nice line of fat still clinging to each delicious, peppery slice. The slight dryness was the only flaw, and it may have been due to my visit being in the late afternoon. Another trip at the lunch rush may push this joint to another star, and I'll be sure to try their special recipe sausage on the next trip.<br><br>Rating ****<br><a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/8/115084/restaurant/The-Heights/Pizzitolas-Bar-B-Cue-Houston"><img alt="Pizzitola's Bar-B-Cue on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/logo/115084/minilogo.gif"></a>

As a recent study of hotel booking trends pointed out, us Texans prefer to vacation in Texas. Since our last roundup of the state’s most notable lodgings was in 2004, I thought it was high time to revisit the subject. So I drafted a list of 44 hotels that have opened or undergone significant renovations in the last 8 years. I then winnowed that list down and booked rooms (anonymously) at 24 properties across the state to determine my favorites. Although my full reviews will be available next week (the November issue goes live on TexasMonthly.com on Wednesday and hits newsstands on Thursday), I wanted to go ahead and share my ten favorites (plus the five that nearly made the cut) . . . . 

 

AUSTIN

Hotel Saint Cecilia

112 Academy Drive, 512-852-2400, hotelsaintcecilia.com

<a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TL_DldQKYRI/AAAAAAAAD3E/KjX-LHlbCz8/s1600/lockhart+Smokehouse.jpg"><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TL_DldQKYRI/AAAAAAAAD3E/KjX-LHlbCz8/s200/lockhart+Smokehouse.jpg" alt="" border="0"></a><br>I've you've been paying attention to the BBQ scene in Oak Cliff, you know there's much to be excited about. Luckie's Smokehouse is set to open soon at Davis and Clifton, and just a few blocks east on Davis is the future home of <a href="http://www.lockhartsmokehouse.com/">Lockhart Smokehouse</a>, not to be confused with the recently opened <a href="http://www.lockhartsbbq.com/">Lockhart's BBQ</a> in Detroit. If you've seen any local food blog over the last couple of weeks, then you've likely read about the latter joint, whether from <a href="http://sidedish.dmagazine.com/2010/10/08/lockhart-bbq-coming-to-bishop-arts/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dmagazine%2Fsidedish+%28SideDish%29">SideDish</a>, <a href="http://www.pegasusnews.com/news/outbursts/2010/oct/07/relatives-of-kreuz-market-to-open-lockhart-smokeho/">Pegasus News</a>, <a href="http://eatsblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2010/10/lockhart-smokehouse-coming-to.html">Eats Blog</a>, <a href="http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/cityofate/2010/10/barbecue_royalty_to_open_smoke.php">City of Ate</a>, or <a href="http://www.gooakcliff.org/2010/10/lockhart-smokehouse-coming-to-bishop-arts-district/">Go Oak Cliff</a> where the news first broke.<br><br>Tim McLaughlin is a partner in the business, and we be the pitmaster. He's been quite the <a href="http://www.cleanplatecatering.com/chef-tim-mclaughlin.html">culinary journeyman</a>, and is currently the chef of <a href="http://www.cleanplatecatering.com/">Clean Plate Catering</a> in Dallas. The menu there is quite a ways from ribs and brisket, but this chef has been on some recent journeys to the heart of Texas BBQ country to hone his craft and learn from the masters at <a href="http://fcg-bbq.blogspot.com/2009/04/kreuz-market.html">Kreuz Market</a>. In a recent conversation Tim noted, "I have been working with Keith and Roy at Kreuz for a few months now. Not straight, but a week at a time here and there. Learning the business a little and mainly how to deal with the wonderful meats. It has been a really fun experience."<br><br>One lesson learned from Kreuz is that wood is the fuel to be used for smoking, and there's no place for gas fired pits. "We will be using post oak for the smoking. The Bewley pit is being custom made with our specs. They have a Bewley at Kreuz and we are following that model with a few tweaks. The boys over at Bewley even let Jeff Bergus, my business partner, do a little work." Below is a photo from their tour of the Bewley factory in Dallas.<br><br><span>Larry Lewis (of Bewley), Tim, Jeff Bergus and Mr. Bewley</span><br><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TL_DQkCN2II/AAAAAAAAD28/pxTyzU7DSBA/s1600/Tim+McGlaughlin+Bewley.jpg"><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TL_DQkCN2II/AAAAAAAAD28/pxTyzU7DSBA/s400/Tim+McGlaughlin+Bewley.jpg" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>I asked if he'd be smoking shoulder clod in addition to brisket like his brethren in Lockhart, and he offered only that he'd like to, but the menu hasn't been finalized. "As far as the menu we are going to focus on the time honored tradition of Central Texas BBQ with some updated sides. We want to serve good honest food at a good honest price. We are also going to be the sole purveyor for Kreuz Sausage in the Dallas Market." That last statement has <a href="http://donobbq.blogspot.com/2010/10/mountain-is-coming-to-mohammed.html">many mouths drooling</a> for that unique jalapeno cheese sausage. I know I'm looking forward to the whole menu. The new year can't seem to come fast enough.<br><br>- BBQ Snob

AUSTIN

Travaasa Austin

13600 FM 2769, 512-258-7243, travaasa.com/austin

<a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJloiVH3dyI/AAAAAAAADv8/2Kcqi6tTihs/s1600/Red+River+BBQ+01.JPG"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJloiVH3dyI/AAAAAAAADv8/2Kcqi6tTihs/s200/Red+River+BBQ+01.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><span> <span>HAMILTON: Red River Bar-B-Que</span> <span><br>706 North Rice Street</span> <span><br>Hamilton, TX 76531</span> <span><br>254-386-5553</span> <span><br>Open W 11-2, Thur-Sat 11-8, Sun 11-2</span><br><a href="http://www.redriverbarbque.com/">www.redriverbarbque.com</a></span><br><br>Only the wife from this husband-and-wife team was working on this busy Saturday. To put it mildly, she was in the weeds. Making cream gravy to order for the chicken fried steak special wasn't helping. I'm a patient guy at these small joints, but 20 minutes for a two-meat plate is a bit of a stretch. While we waited, we took in the OU-UT decor. The "house divided" idea loses some steam when memorabilia from either team is placed haphazardly on either side of the space whose floor is crimson on one side, and burnt orange on the other. Also, the "OU" door is locked forcing all patrons to enter the "UT" side. The scene was made more surreal by the gaggle of severely obese men sitting at a table in front of the only television. It was a Saturday, and prime football viewing time, but these guys were watching an infomercial. I thought maybe we were all forced to watch it because the busy owner couldn't spare the time to change the channel, but then one of the guys whipped out the remote and turned it to a global warming documentary on the History Channel. We were miles from the Red River Rivalry.<br><br><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJloXRbWpyI/AAAAAAAADv0/FOCGrRn0zT4/s1600/Red+River+BBQ+03.JPG"><img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJloXRbWpyI/AAAAAAAADv0/FOCGrRn0zT4/s400/Red+River+BBQ+03.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>Sauce covered meat was a disappointment. It came alongside small portions of potato salad and beans which were of grocery store quality. That sauce was also a sweet commercial version which kept the meat's flavor from coming through. Brisket was tender and moist, but little smokiness could be detected. The same was true for the large spare ribs, but they were also undercooked and chewy. Given the chaos in the kitchen, I felt like I may have just caught them on a bad day. Either way, I don't know if there was enough promise to bring me back.<br><br>Rating **<br><a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/301/1548607/restaurant/Texas/Red-River-Bar-B-Que-Hamilton"><img alt="Red River Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/logo/1548607/minilogo.gif"></a>

 

COMFORT

Riven Rock Ranch

390 Hermann Sons Road, 877-726-2490, rivenrockranch.com

Exotic ingredients melded into beautiful, artful presentations explains the allure of this place. We’re always pleased with the Uchiviche, a refreshing blend of salmon, striped bass, tomato, bell pepper, garlic, and cilantro. Then there’s the Pitchfork roll, with its wagyu beef, crispy leek, avocado, and yuzu kosho (a take-notice sauce of fermented chiles and yuzu rind). Wonderful ten- or six-course tasting menus are there for the asking at this lively spot, and it can be great fun sitting at the sushi counter.

 

DALLAS

The Joule

1530 Main, 214-748-1300, thejouledallas.com

<a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJjfsB07n1I/AAAAAAAADsM/f1LIhG0aqx4/s1600/Bar-B-Q+Shack+01.JPG"><img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJjfsB07n1I/AAAAAAAADsM/f1LIhG0aqx4/s200/Bar-B-Q+Shack+01.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><span><span>OKLAHOMA: Bar-B-Q Shack</span> <span><br>107 US Highway 70 E</span> <span><br>Kingston, OK 73439</span> <span><br>580-564-2323</span> <span><br>Open ?</span></span><br><br>The Bar-B-Q Shack is run out of a tiny metal building in the tiny town of Kingston, Oklahoma. Most orders are taken at the window for to-go orders, but there are a few seats inside and some picnic tables outside if the weather is right. The sign says "100% Hickory Smoked", and you can definitely smell it in the air when ordering. I went with my regular order of a brisket and ribs combo plate with potato salad and beans. Meaty beans were an option, and they came out as a pile of smoky beans a la chopped beef. Perfect. The potato salad wasn't bad either.<br><br><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJjeVb_QXII/AAAAAAAADsE/QZ2XXGUL30I/s1600/Bar-B-Q+Shack+02.JPG"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJjeVb_QXII/AAAAAAAADsE/QZ2XXGUL30I/s400/Bar-B-Q+Shack+02.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>Brisket was a bit overcooked, and slightly dry, but all else was good. The crust and smoke level were great, and the overall flavor was quite good as well. Big meaty spare ribs had well rendered fat throughout, and the meat was nicely tender. A good bark helps the smoke level, but it could have been smokier deep into the meat. I'm just glad to know I have a good option for BBQ when I'm visiting the family at Lake Texoma. This is truly some quality 'cue.<br><br>Rating ***<br><br><a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/241/1139527/restaurant/Oklahoma/Bar-B-Q-Shack-Kingston"><img alt="Bar-B-Q Shack on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/logo/1139527/minilogo.gif"></a>

 

GALVESTON

Hotel Galvez

2024 Seawall Boulevard, 409-765-7721, wyndhamhotelgalvez.com

<p>The contemporary decor belies a menu that is heavy on down-home favorites. But these tried and true dishes, served in generous portions, are a step above the average. We enjoyed the burger, its hand-shaped patty served on a toasted sweet bun alongside crispy onion rings. (7/15)</p>

 

HOUSTON

Hotel ZaZa

5701 Main, 713-526-1991, hotelzaza.com/houston

 

MARFA

El Cosmico

802 S. Highland Avenue, 432-729-1950, elcosmico.com

<a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TF39r-grkdI/AAAAAAAADQ8/hTWbNgrTioM/s1600/Tony%27s+Barbeque+01.JPG"><img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TF39r-grkdI/AAAAAAAADQ8/hTWbNgrTioM/s200/Tony%27s+Barbeque+01.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><span> <span>FORT WORTH: Tony's Barbeque & Grill</span> <span><br>1704 Galveston Ave.</span> <span><br>Fort Worth, TX 76110</span> <span><br>817-924-9400</span><br><span>Open M-Sat 11-10</span></span><br><br>I've never seen smoked salami on a Texas BBQ menu, so over the blaring television I yelled my order to the surly pitmaster. He blamed a supplier, saying they were out for the day, so I'd have to return another day to try it. I opted for a bologna sandwich instead which proved a substandard substitution. I waited a few minutes in the AC free zone while the sandwich and my combo plate were assembled.<br><br><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TF39XBqn0zI/AAAAAAAADQ0/czzg_2tutfU/s1600/Tony%27s+Barbeque+02.JPG"><img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TF39XBqn0zI/AAAAAAAADQ0/czzg_2tutfU/s400/Tony%27s+Barbeque+02.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>The ribs were a high point with a nice salty rub and a slightly sweet glaze that wasn't overpowering. The meat was well cooked, but lacked smokiness. The bologna sandwich was an unappetizing slice of barely warm tube steak that weighed in at about 1/2 pound. I would be surprised to find that it had been smoked.<br><br><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TF39WnbUj0I/AAAAAAAADQs/toFYtdjaP_s/s1600/Tony%27s+Barbeque+04.JPG"><img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TF39WnbUj0I/AAAAAAAADQs/toFYtdjaP_s/s400/Tony%27s+Barbeque+04.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>Brisket was good and smoky from the hickory and mesquite mixture, but the chunks of white fat warned me that this might be last night's brisket. Indeed the slices were not even warmed through, and crumbled as I picked up a slice. While the flavor was passable, it's sad to see so little pride in in serving the finished product.<br><br><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TF39Weg_-qI/AAAAAAAADQk/06EGTNmcGGk/s1600/Tony%27s+Barbeque+03.JPG"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TF39Weg_-qI/AAAAAAAADQk/06EGTNmcGGk/s400/Tony%27s+Barbeque+03.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>Despite the earlier brisket snafu, I opted to drop by a week later when the smoked salami called me from down the street as I was in the area for another reason. What showed up did not equal my excitement. A poor version of cotto salami was a dead ringer for the bologna outside of the few flecks of pepper corn.<br><br><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJfneJUWOQI/AAAAAAAADqE/NhUubE9QJOk/s1600/Tony%27s+Barbecue+04.JPG"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJfneJUWOQI/AAAAAAAADqE/NhUubE9QJOk/s400/Tony%27s+Barbecue+04.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>Fool me twice, shame on me.<br><br>Rating *<br><a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/13/1540751/restaurant/Tonys-Barbeque-Grill-Fort-Worth"><img alt="Tony's Barbeque & Grill on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/logo/1540751/minilogo.gif"></a>

 

SAN ANTONIO

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa

23808 Resort Parkway, 866-882-4420, jwsanantonio.com

<a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJjmfuJagGI/AAAAAAAADuE/H8wkTpxvwZ8/s1600/Mama+Papa+B%27s+%282%29.JPG"><img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJjmfuJagGI/AAAAAAAADuE/H8wkTpxvwZ8/s200/Mama+Papa+B%27s+%282%29.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><span><span>WACO: Mama & Papa B's Bar-B-Q</span> <span><br>525 S 8th St</span> <span><br>Waco, TX 76706</span> <span><br>254-754-8001</span> <span><br>Open M-Thur 11-8, F-Sat 11-10</span></span><br><br>I drove by the joint looking for <a href="http://fcg-bbq.blogspot.com/2010/09/mama-papa-bs-missing-sign.html">the sign</a> that I'd seen in Wyatt McSpadden's <a href="http://fcg-bbq.blogspot.com/2009/03/bbq-book-review-texas-bbq.html">Texas BBQ</a> book, but the wall facing the corner had been whitewashed. I learned from the owner that he'd paid a man to repaint the sign, and he'd all but disappeared after the single coat of white paint was applied. They're still looking for someone to repaint if you're interested.<br><br><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJjkLb8K6II/AAAAAAAADt8/_ki6hsQQ4iI/s1600/Mama+Papa+B%27s+%285%29.JPG"><img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJjkLb8K6II/AAAAAAAADt8/_ki6hsQQ4iI/s400/Mama+Papa+B%27s+%285%29.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>Luckily the front window is still painted with a sign, so I knew I was in the right place. Inside the glass door, the tempting smell of smoke from hickory, pecan, mesquite and oak (and pretty much any other wood they can get their hands on) hung in the air. They offered a rib sandwich and a two meat sandwich or sausage and brisket. Brisket had one of the deepest smoke rings I've seen anywhere along with a crisp black crust. The tender meat had great smoke flavor and well rendered fat throughout. The only down side was the slightly dry texture. Elgin sausage was a great blend of spicy, peppery, moist meat that had plenty of good smoke. Sliced lengthwise, it was easier to enjoy in large bites.<br><br><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJjkK4VNDYI/AAAAAAAADt0/YzkywAd1jag/s1600/Mama+Papa+B%27s+%286%29.JPG"><img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJjkK4VNDYI/AAAAAAAADt0/YzkywAd1jag/s400/Mama+Papa+B%27s+%286%29.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>The ribs also had a nice bark and just enough good smoke. The overall flavor was great from simple seasoning and little else. Meat needed just a slight tug to come off the bone, but some of the chewy fat could have been better rendered. I liked that they separated the ribs tips and left them on the plate. Gnawing on these tasty morsels was almost better than the meat on the long bones. Here's hoping that you can find it on your trip to Waco because it's really worth a stop, sign or no sign.<br><br>Rating ****<br><a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/325/1328382/restaurant/Mamma-Pappa-Bs-Bar-B-Q-Waco"><img alt="Mamma & Pappa B's Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/logo/1328382/minilogo.gif"></a>

 

TALPA

Rancho Loma Restaurant + Rest

2969 CR 422, 325-636-4556, rancholoma.com

<a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJjiV0PAN_I/AAAAAAAADtE/dRZS9jhaczc/s1600/Perez+BBQ+04.JPG"><img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJjiV0PAN_I/AAAAAAAADtE/dRZS9jhaczc/s200/Perez+BBQ+04.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><span> <span>BARTLETT: Perez Bar-B-Que</span> <span><br>220 Elm St.</span> <span><br>Bartlett, TX 76511</span><br><span>254-721-2001</span> <span><br>Open Sat 6am-5pm, Sun 6am-3pm</span></span><br><br>Armando "Sodie" Perez runs this tiny joint with his son. Meats are smoked over oak in the custom brick pits which look as ancient as Sodie. I opted for 1/4 lb. of sliced beef and a pork rib, all of which were extracted pre-sliced from a large vat of thin, tomato based sauce. As it was being wrapped up, I learned that homemade sausage was their specialty, and they even threw in a link with my order. It all came to less than $5.<br><br><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJjiHzp6ZOI/AAAAAAAADs8/STTQDE-gwBI/s1600/Perez+BBQ+01.JPG"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJjiHzp6ZOI/AAAAAAAADs8/STTQDE-gwBI/s400/Perez+BBQ+01.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>I headed back to the car past the only table around which a few older men were camped, clutching their paper bag lined beer cans. It was before 10:00 am.<br><br><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJjiHd8o_tI/AAAAAAAADs0/wbAEM0gPWW4/s1600/Perez+BBQ+03.JPG"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CleRr46Nh1w/TJjiHd8o_tI/AAAAAAAADs0/wbAEM0gPWW4/s400/Perez+BBQ+03.JPG" alt="" border="0"></a><br><br>Given its storage method, the meat couldn't help but be moist, but it suffered from lack of smokiness. The brisket showed what was once a good looking crust but the meat had little flavor outside of the sauce. Ribs were also nicely cooked, but they too tasted only of sauce. The sausage on the other hand had not been stored in the sauce. It's wrinkled skin was crispy and the moist meat inside was of a coarse grind. These smoky links were herbaceous like a breakfast sausage but spicy like a hot link. It made for a great flavor combo, and I'd stop again just for a few more links. Maybe I'll ask if they can slice some fresh meat sans sauce.<br><br>Rating **<br><a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/186/1548603/restaurant/Killeen/Perez-Bar-B-Que-Bartlett"><img alt="Perez Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/logo/1548603/minilogo.gif"></a>

 

WASHINGTON

The Inn at Dos Brisas

10000 Champion Drive, 979-277-7750, dosbrisas.com

. . .

THE RUNNERS-UP

From left to right: The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas; Hotel Granduca, Houston; The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell, Round Top; La Posada Milagro, Terlingua; and Hotel Havana, San Antonio.

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