Reviews

Scholl Bros. Bar-B-Que

This joint came with high praise, so I drove about two hours to give it a try. Approaching the place, my hopes seemed fulfilled. The sheet metal and wood exterior along with the faded sign reeked potential. Talk about disappointment. The ribs here were nearly devoid of flavor and were just warm with chunks of unrendered fat. The sausage tasted straight from the grocery store, and the brisket didn’t come in to save the day….

Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Que

The Brother-in-Law, a sandwiched smorgasbord of chopped beef, butterflied hot links, and cheese, has a powerful (and well-deserved) reputation in East Texas, but order the old-fashioned hand-pulled-pork sandwich, filled with juicy shreds of perfectly smoked pork shoulder. Nick Pencis, the owner and pitmaster, follows a fifty-year-old smoking method—meats housed for sixteen hours in the pecan-fueled pit—to turn out some of the best barbecue in this neck of the Piney Woods.

Opie’s Barbecue

The prime rib at Opie’s is so tender you almost feel sorry for it. How will it protect itself? It lacks the brisket’s seasoned black bark, the baby back ribs’ sweet, chewy crust, or the all-pork jalapeño sausage’s threatening heat. Also try the tater tot casserole and the homemade, bigger-than-a-child’s-head cookies. Sauce is smoked in a pot alongside the meats, giving it an unusual mesquite-infused bite.

Pappy’s Bar BQ

The mesquite-smoked brisket was well seasoned and tender, and the sliced German sausage was slightly sweet and spicy. But the real winners at this rustic locale, decorated with vintage posters for old cowboy flicks, were the sides. Green beans sprinkled with garlic, onion, and bacon and not-too-chunky potato salad with thinly sliced carrots were a perfect reward for a long day of driving. Opt for a square of cornbread instead of a slice of white…

Tom and Bingo’s Hickory Pit Bar-B-Que

For more than fifty years, this boxy luncheonette has turned out sliced- and chopped-beef sandwiches as good as you’ll ever eat, plus smoked-ham sandwiches and smoked burgers. That’s all, but that’s enough. The brisket, cooked for sixteen to eighteen hours in a well-worn brick pit, is lean and succulent, with a char that crunches slightly. Grill-warmed buns are brushed with a thinner, more red-peppery version of the mild house sauce.

Snow’s BBQ

A small wood-frame restaurant, open only on Saturdays and only from eight in the morning until whenever the meat runs out, usually around noon, Snow’s is remarkable not only for the quality of its ’cue—“outlandishly tender brisket, fall-apart-delicious chicken”—but for the unlikeliness of its story. The genius behind this meat is a petite, energetic woman named Tootsie Tomanetz, who’s been smoking since 1967, when she ran the pits at City Meat Market, in Giddings. She…

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