First and second taste of Texas Barbecue
I had my first and second taste of Texas Barbecue this week and I will say it was nothing like I had expected. A polarizing experience, I can’t wait to have one of them again.
The first experience is nothing worth dwelling on other than our Pride of Texas Barbecue instructor told us it would be amazing. I beg to differ.
It was a Texas Barbecue lunch served from the catering department at the Marriott where we were having our meetings. Sorry folks, but the brisket was bragged to have been slow smoked for 18 hours. My guess is that it was braised at best as it resembled more of a yankee pot roast than any kind of Texas Barbecue.
For dinner, we went searching for the real deal Texas barbecue I had heard so much about. We went to a place where the free hotel shuttle charged ten bucks a head to take us and it was worth every penny.
The place was called the Hard Eight. It was absolutely amazing!
The pits were outside and lined the block. The line splits, and you corral into what I guess was two open pits back to back. They have a decent number of things to choose from including ribeye steaks, but I was pretty laser focused on the barbecue. I really did not know the drill, but figured it out pretty quickly. Everything is about $20 a pound and you order as little or as much as you want. I had the guy slice me off three ribs, some fall apart pork, and a few slices of brisket from both the point and a few hunks which resembled burnt ends from the darker side. To make sure I wasn’t missing anything, I had a couple of shrimp-jalapeno poppers as well added to my tray and headed inside to grab an adult beverage and square up my tab.
Inside, there were more add-ons and options to go along with my barbecue. I grabbed a few sides as well, not because I had room, but because I don’t really know if I will be back in Texas. I chose Mac and Cheese, Texas corn, and some kind of a bread dressing. The sides were wonderful in their own right, but I did not come for the sides.
For my first bite of barbecue, I chose the ribs. One bite, and I said, Ok- I get it. I understand now why people are so passionate about good barbecue. The rest of the meal also did not disappoint with amazing colors, flavors, textures and smells which were familiar but nuanced in a delicious way I was not completely accustomed too.
I was pretty stoked to have had my first and second taste of Texas Barbecue and that I had the two experiences to contrast with each other.
I am not sure if I will be back in Texas again any time soon, but my head will be on a swivel for authentic Texas Barbecue.