TMBBQ Buzz

Comments from our joint finder app.
So I didn't see any reviews here but cracked out google and 12 reviewers raved about the place 4.5 / 5 stars. Well apparently thy have only had BBQ at a delicatessen as that's what the meat tastes like. The chicken tastes and had consistency like they took a butterball and smoked it or maybe just warmed it up. The brisket had good smoke ring on it and looked to have tasty bark and pulled apart easy but was dry as anything and had a roast beef taste. BBQ sauce okay but did nothing to help the brisket. Maybe that's why they give you a soft and toasted burger bun. I suppose make deli sandwich. Very disappointed. On to the sides. Coleslaw was redeeming. Crunchy with slight sweetness from liquid mayo base and sweet vinegar. The corn on cob was crunchy and butter sweet goodness and this is even after sitting in tub with water. One of best I've had. So if you are a vegetarian or with one or just want to take a break from meat, this is the BBQ place for you. Score:Chicken 0 out 5. Brisket 1 out of 5. Cole slaw 4 out 5. Corn on cob 5 out 5. Friendliness of staff 5 out 5.
Terry r @ Hickory Roots BBQ, 2016-08-26 17:47:05
If your going to Stubbs your coming for music and atmosphere first BBQ a distant second. It reminds me of Salt Like where it seems more is put into the entertainment . I had a sliced beef sandwich and some ribs. It was just OK
Woodwill Smokers @ Stubb’s, 2016-08-26 02:11:34
My experience here was good compared to my disappointment the previous day at Lamberts Downtown BBQ. The price was right but the food was decent. The brisket could have used more smoke and flavor. The ribs were tender and the meat came of the bone but once again lacking smoke. It's like they wanted to keep the smoke dialed back as if not to offend BBQ novices.
Woodwill Smokers @ Mann’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, 2016-08-26 02:04:27
Entirely forgettable. Wondered why they were cutting the bark off the brisket until I tried some. Flavorless, tough, chewy, and inedible in places. Brisket was tender but flavorless, spare ribs had no smoke flavor at all. Sides from the Sysco tub. Wouldn't recommend.
Wes Mantooth @ The Bar-B-Q Man Restaurant, 2016-08-25 02:40:49
Correction. I was told they don't Put anything in regards to a rub on the brisket. They take the brisket and just throw it into the smoker. So the dark smoked slightly burnt taste is actually the fat that has caramelized. Interesting aka ala natural.
Terry r @ Outlaws Bar B Que, 2016-08-25 18:41:58
Some of the best barbeque I have ever had. Had the beef rib, pork rib, sand brisket. Of the three, the brisket was the best, but that's like comparing Jordan, Kobe, and LeBron... all three were absolutely amazing. I'd say this place is easily as good as Pecan Lodge, just not quite as smokey. these guys know what they're doing.
catowne1 @ Cattleack BBQ, 2016-08-25 18:22:27
Stopped in here since customer of men said very good. Much better than the location in mt. Pleasant. So off I went. I can surely say it is much better than the dry tasteless brisket at the other location. I ordered moist brisket plate. Normally they don't have people as for it as it is normally used for chopped brisket plate. Overall it was solid, not fatty no chew, almost melt in mouth. I think they do a molasses rub which gives a super dark bark. It's good in a way as it gives it a slight sweetness. The bad is I think the fire may have been too hot and caused the molasses to have a slight burnt taste. No overwhelming but there. The other issue(preference) is they do not put any pepper in the rub or directly on brisket. So you don't get that extra layer of pop. I think it could really benefit from it. Overall a 3.5 out of 5. If didn't have slight burnt wood taste I would have given it a 4 out of 5. They have two sauces. Regular which was good and thick with tinge of pepper in it and spicy which is really spicy. Gets the back of the throat but at least when they say spicy they mean it. Other places with spicy are typically a medium salsa no burn. Mixing them together was a good move. Yet I didn't need more than a thin strip down middle of each piece to bring out full flavor. As for sides, their cucumber salad was very good. As for the Cole slaw, it must have been made day or two before as it was already tasting like kimchi and that is No Bueno. If you are looking for some decent meat, they do deliver.
Terry r @ Outlaws Bar B Que, 2016-08-25 18:03:20
What a relief to find good BBQ right here, deep in the land of boudin and Popeye's. Nothing fancy, crammed in the corner of an otherwise nondescript gas station, but still...really good ribs and pulled pork, pretty good sausage, passable sauce, and a place to sit and eat. Life is good.
jchan0210 @ Lil Daddy's Bar-B-Q, 2016-08-25 06:39:10
More Buzz →

Review

Curly's BBQ 01

December 17, 2013

John Brotherton and Jay Yates seemed headed in different directions in the barbecue business until they found a way to work together. Both started with their own food trucks. John ran Hall of Flame BBQ in Pflugerville, but it closed earlier this year. Jay was successful enough with Curly’s Perfect Pig that he decided to make a move into a permanent building in downtown Round Rock. After John had shut down Hall of Flame he traveled the state sampling barbecue to fill his smoked meat void, but he still had the itch to cook for people. When the road trip tour ended, he called Jay and they decided to work together. Soon after, Curly’s Carolina, TX Barbeque was born.

The building is only half done. A shell space on the right should be operational by January. For now there’s a small space on the left with a few tables and very little standing room. Out back you’ll find two smokers. A standard offset smoker is reserved for briskets and is fueled with oak. A big vertical smoker uses pecan for the pork shoulders and ribs. It’s all cooked with wood, but there are no coals. We love our smokers here in Texas, but in the Carolinas the pork shoulders and whole hogs are cooked directly over hickory coals. It creates a flavor similar to the Texas Hill Country style of cooking, but doesn’t taste much like slow smoked pork. I questioned Jay and John about this and Jay hoped to have a direct-heat cooker operational soon and even hinted that whole hogs could be on the horizon. Until then, the meat won’t have much Carolina flavor until you squeeze on the vinegar sauce.

Curly's BBQ 03

There were a few more Carolina staples on the chalkboard menu at the counter. I wanted some hushpuppies and fried okra, but the fryers were down. Instead I went for mac & cheese and the wasabi cole slaw with my Carolina, Texas Trinity plate. This trinity includes sliced brisket, spare ribs and pulled pork. I have to admit that I ordered the wasabi cole slaw only to see if it was as bad as it sounds, but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a mix of crunchy cabbage, ramen noodles, sesame seeds and just enough wasabi for a kick, and it was really good. The runny mac & cheese wasn’t as successful.

Curly's BBQ 07

Orders are taken at the counter and brought out to the tables. This can be uncomfortable if you’re used to dealing directly with the carver, but the barbecue on my plate looked promising. Ribs had a great bark and a good smoky flavor. The meat could have been more tender, but it was still a good pile of bones. Given all the dark and crusty bits int he mix, I was hoping for more flavor from the pulled pork. It was plenty moist, but it needed some of the sauce to liven it up. If you reach for the sauce, there are three options. A thin vinegar sauce provides a solid rendition of Carolina flavor. I liked the mustard sauce best which uses a hearty German mustard as the base. It was the perfect marriage of Central Texas and South Carolina. A third sauce was a moderately sweet tomato sauce with a bit of chile powder. It worked well even with the brisket.

Curly's BBQ 06

It was the brisket that I was most impressed with. There’s a bit of sugar in the rub which helps with the well-formed crust, but it wasn’t over-seasoned. The meat was tender and juicy with a line of well rendered fat. This was well respected brisket that I’d be happy to return for. If only they would give the same respect to banana pudding. They smoke bananas to top the pudding which makes it even more puzzling why they’d use fake banana-flavored pudding as the base.

 Curly's BBQ 04

I liked the idea of mixing the styles of barbecue. Texas barbecue has been co-opted by barbecue joints across the world, so there’s no reason we can’t steal a little from North Carolina. The thing is that when you choose to replicate a style, it needs to go deeper than the sauce. They do Texas very well here, but until they start cooking with coals, the Carolina side has a ways to go.

Comments

3 Comments

    Mike says:

    From what I remember (and then confirmed with some brief searching of Carolina BBQ), they don’t really focus on cooking over coals instead of wood. At the very least, neither is more heavily used than the other.

    Interesting review nonetheless. It sounds like the meats you tried were all quite good, with only a small critique on the pulled pork (due to a different expectation of cooking style). But very good ribs and great brisket makes a 3.75 sound low based on what you mentioned here.

    Does this comprise your experience over several visits?

      Daniel Vaughn says:

      Mike – The pulled pork needed the help of the sauce no matter the cooking style. The brisket was great and the ribs were good. With their passion I think these guys will continue to improve. They weren’t quite Top 50 level on this visit (a minimum score of 4 is required for Top 50), but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them reach that level.

      On Carolina style – I spent three days visiting twenty barbecue joints in NC and SC in March. In that time I also talked with BBQ historians John Shelton Reed and Dan Levine. The only place that didn’t cook over coals used just gas and no wood for the cooking. I didn’t see an offset smoker or meat being cooked indirectly in any of them. You can do some further studies in Holy Smoke by John & Dale Reed and in Bob Garner’s Book of Barbecue. Cooking pork (shoulders in the West and whole hog in the East) over hickory coals is something that defines the North Carolina style of barbecue.

        Mike says:

        Thanks for the reply. You may have mentioned it (probably in a preface to the Top 50 issue), but do you have a “standard” review process, like “sides are 25%, brisket is 25%” etc? Or is it more a feel of how the whole experience was? I’ve been to Curly’s several times, as well as a (small) handful of the Top 50, and was surprised that you considered Curly’s outside the Top 50 compared to some of those that made the list. Glad to hear you’re optimistic they’ll get there though!

        That’s good to know about the Carolina style. I’ll look into it more. No one knows it all :)

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