Reviews

Bartley’s Bar-B-Q

We walked through the doors of this thoroughly nondescript suburban strip center spot and were greeted by the heavenly incense of smoked meat—which carried us to the counter in a happy daze. Next, came an unsolicited, excruciatingly upbeat testimonial from a fellow patron, waiting and antsy for service: “Best barbecue around!” he blurted out. Finally, we ordered, and the sensory experience we’d been waiting for unfolded: The brisket was ringed in deep maroon, and walloped…

Bob’s Bar-B-Que

Owner and pitmaster Bob Allen is just as guarded as he is hospitable, so don’t expect a pit tour here. But though we could not see the equipment, we were assured that no gas was used in the preparation of the meat. The menu is simple, but it does include a few items of note. The spicy boudin was outstanding, with a casing taut and crisp enough to be eaten and a filling that was…

Gatlin’s BBQ & Catering

Greg Gatlin is in charge of the smoker, but he also bustles around taking orders and tidying up. So does his mom, who is responsible for the fine bread pudding and other sweets. After a wait—which is often lengthy—you’ll receive plates neatly stacked with precisely sliced meat. In case you’ve ever wondered what the deal is with different ribs, you’re in luck: Gatlin’s has two kinds. Side by side, you’ll see that the baby backs…

Virgie’s Bar-B-Que

The brawny pork ribs that emerge from the big metal smoker set a standard for the genre. They are massive, pink, and delicious, their meat lightly clinging to the bone until you grab a bite with your teeth and give a light tug. A heavy, salty-peppery crust, without a trace of sweetness, lends depth of flavor to each piggy bite. There is no way to be genteel when consuming these monsters, so pile up some…

Billy’s Old Fashion BBQ

You could lose a lot of tire tread and a little bit of soul looking for good barbecue in East Texas. But if you should find yourself in Jasper, mosey down Main Street, past the modest houses and packs of free-range dogs, and make the acquaintance of George Ralph Mahathay, better known as Billy, the nicest pitmaster you’re likely to come across hereabouts. His establishment isn’t much to look at—a tiny wood-frame, tin-roofed building equipped…

Joseph’s Riverport Barbecue

A devastating fire in 2012 destroyed all but the thin brick facade of this joint, which faces Polk Street in downtown Jefferson. But once the flames were extinguished, owner and pitmaster Stephen Joseph started rebuilding, and seven months later he was christening the new Bewley smoker. The refurbished interior is now decorated with all manner of farm implements and just enough but not too many mounted animal heads. Place your order at the far end…

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