Virdinski’s Rub Shack

3701 Olsen Blvd. Suite B
Amarillo, TX 79109

Phone: (806) 318-3382
Hours: M-Thur 11-9, F-Sat 11-midnight
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rubshack

Opened 2013
Pitmaster Chris Virden
Method Indirect heat smoker with mesquite

TMBBQ Rating: 3

TMBBQ Buzz

Comments from our joint finder app.
Brisket is really good and tender! Has great smoky flavor. This place also has a butcher!
Nathaniel Cox @ Vincek’s Smokehouse, 2014-08-31 18:30:40
The hunt for the best barbecue continues with the second joint today. This is a small victory as I have always wanted to hit more than one restaurant on the Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ establishments in a single day. Billy's Old Fashion Barbecue happens to be number 9. I have a hair less than four years to visit the other 41 before the list is updated. I have my work cut out for me as these places are as far at 500 miles from home. I wasn't hungry when we rolled into Jasper, but I was here to eat barbecue. I knew I wanted brisket and when we found the dilapidated restaurant, I knew we were going to experience some magic. I chose the sliced brisket sandwich. I wasn't expecting this monstrosity as it was quite large. Topped with pickles and onions, this sauce soaked sandwich was perfect. I only wish I had ordered the sauce on the side. The sauce was decent, but I came for the meat. The sliced brisket was very nice. It was juicy and the fat was rendered beautifully. It was a bit toothsome, but it certainly wasn't tough. I had forgotten to ask for untrimmed meat, so I was pleased when I saw that the crusty bark was intact. The meat had a mild flavor. Not too much smoke, and it wasn't overpowered with seasoning. It was a simple, beefy masterpiece. At only 2 1/2 hours from home, I can see myself loading up the family for a nice meaty adventure. This is easily a 4.0/5.0. Well done, Texas Monthly. This BBQ doesn't disappoint.
Theodore Luoma @ Billy’s Old Fashion BBQ, 2014-08-31 01:12:51
It has been a few months since I was able to hunt for some good Texas BBQ. It is a bit of a tradition that my oldest daughter, Alli, and I enjoy. I'm not a hunter, so we aren't likely to go kill deer as we spend time together, but we have our own game we like to track down. We decided to have lunch at the Hitch-N-Post in Livingston, TX. It's 3 1/2 hours from home so we had time to work up an appetite. We both ordered untrimmed fatty brisket which in my estimation, is the best tasting meat. I usually try the sausage as well, but we are planning an early supper at another BBQ place and I don't want to gorge myself. The brisket, though cooked, could probably have used another four hours in the smoker to completely render the fat and make the meat fork tender. I actually had to use a knife to cut the meat. There was a beautiful smoke ring and a decent crust, but I was hoping for a denser crust. Then again, this ain't Lockhart. The beans were good, but they were punched up canned beans. The potato salad probably came from Brookshire Brothers, but I came for the meat. The sides are just a bonus. Apparently, the proprietor has a policy to give free cake to first time customers. He was a really nice BBQ enthusiast as he asked if I had tried Snow's in Lexington. Then he started showing me pictures of BBQ joints on his phone. The ambience was a schlockfest with old tricycles dangling from the ceiling and tiki umbrellas reminiscent of Gilligan's Island. It was enjoyable soaking it in while I soaked up sauce with my bread. The food was good. I would rate it a 3.0/5.0, but with the outstanding service and friendly atmosphere, I rate it a solid 3.5. Hitch-N-Post is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.
Theodore Luoma @ Hitch-N-Post BBQ, 2014-08-30 18:24:06
It has been a few months since I was able to hunt for some good Texas BBQ. It is a bit of a tradition that my oldest daughter, Alli, and I enjoy. I'm not a hunter, so we aren't likely to go kill deer as we spend time together, but we have our own game we like to track down. We decided to have lunch at the Hitch-N-Post in Livingston, TX. It's 3 1/2 hours from home so we had time to work up an appetite. We both ordered untrimmed fatty brisket which in my estimation, is the best tasting meat. I usually try the sausage as well, but we are planning an early supper at another BBQ place and I don't want to gorge myself. The brisket, though cooked, could probably have used another four hours in the smoker to completely render the fat and make the meat fork tender. I actually had to use a knife to cut the meat. There was a beautiful smoke ring and a decent crust, but I was hoping for a denser crust. Then again, this ain't Lockhart. The beans were good, but they were punched up canned beans. The potato salad probably came from Brookshire Brothers, but I came for the meat. The sides are just a bonus. Apparently, the proprietor has a policy to give free cake to first time customers. He was a really nice BBQ enthusiast as he asked if I had tried Snow's in Lexington. Then he started showing me pictures of BBQ joints on his phone. The ambience was a schlockfest with old tricycles dangling from the ceiling and tiki umbrellas reminiscent of Gilligan's Island. It was enjoyable soaking it in while I soaked up sauce with my bread. The food was good. I would rate it a 3.0/5.0, but with the outstanding service and friendly atmosphere, I rate it a solid 3.5. Hitch-N-Post is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.
Theodore Luoma @ Hitch-N-Post BBQ, 2014-08-30 18:24:05
Third in line pound of lean got two ends and a sausage PERFECTION worth the drive ft worth good food good folks
doug_wallace @ Louie Mueller Barbecue, 2014-08-30 15:38:00
Loved that there was no wait unlike that other place on East 6th. Fatty brisket was as advertised. Pepper on crust was perfect. Jalapeño sausage was okay. Loved the cheesy squash - my new favorite side. No beef ribs today sadly. Drank the BBQ sauce too; very good stuff.
Rahul Yaratha @ John Mueller Meat Co., 2014-08-29 16:44:19
Brisket was moist, but tough. Needed more smoke. Spare ribs were ok.
mrb @ Rudy’s Bar-B-Q, 2014-08-27 02:53:29
Stopped at Rudy's at Leon Springs. Not good. Brisket was moist but tough. Ribs were fair.
mrb @ , 2014-08-27 02:47:40
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Review

Virdinskis 01

February 4, 2014

Amarillo can be a tough place for barbecue purists. Chris Virden is trying hard to make good barbecue at the three-month old Virdinski’s, but he can’t always make it the way he’d like to. In addition to his dozen years working for a local steakhouse, Virden is also a serious contender in the barbecue competition circuit. He knows competition style barbecue won’t fly in a restaurant setting. The flavors are just too bold and too sweet to enjoy a full serving. His preferred cooking method isn’t exactly the stripped down Central Texas style either, but he’d like to at least be able to put out a plate of sauceless meat. The locals won’t let him.

Virdinskis 02

Combo plate at Virdinski’s

Shortly after placing my order with the server, my combo plate arrived on a rectangular white plate. The attention to detail was obvious from the custom stamped butcher paper covering the table, the burlap table accent, and the blue mason jars as water glasses. The sides showed that same care with a potato salad that was more brunoise than dice (but with too much sweet pickle), onion rings with a pillowy batter amped up with garlic and a little sugar, and beans heavy with chili powder and cooked on site rather than coming from a can. He even added a small side of apricot jam as an homage to the Panhandle stalwarts of Dyer’s and Sutphen’s. A walk through the kitchen revealed bundles of green beans about to be wrapped in bacon for a dinner side dish to go along with hand cut steaks grilled over mesquite coals. These were the detailed steps that made me wonder why the final flourish on my plate was an overly generous ladle of sauce.

Virdinskis 03

Virdinski’s onion rings

Chris Virden insists that his customers not only demand sauce on their barbecue, they also demand that the saucing be done for them. He tweeted a photo to me of a plate from the day after my visit that had been sent back to the kitchen for a lack of sauce. A side order of sauce had been provided with the order, but they needed more. Virden also insists that anything other than falling off the bone ribs will draw complaints, so he has simply acquiesced. Such is life for a barbecue purist in the Panhandle.

Although the flavor was good in those ribs, it was hard to get past the mushy texture. Brisket suffered the same fate. It was sliced very thick lest it crumble apart. The smoke and seasoning were both spot on, but the pot roast texture left me thinking of just that. A well smoked version of pulled pork was the winner on the plate. It only suffered from that heavy blanket of thick sauce with the familiar worcestershire flavor of Head Country barbecue sauce. After Virden said he made the sauce himself, he quickly admitted that it was really a doctored up version of Head Country. It’s just cheaper than starting with scratch ingredients, he noted. For the pork, a thinner more acidic sauce would have been a great complement, but Virden laughed at the idea of folks in Amarillo embracing anything but a sweet tomato based sauce.

Virdinskis 04

Virdinski’s brisket

 

At the risk of painting Virden as a complete victim of circumstance, I must note that both Tyler’s and Spicy Mike’s in Amarillo routinely serve their barbecue with sauce on the side and have admirable pork ribs with meat still clinging to bone. Maybe all the locals unhappy with that type of barbecue are just now migrating to Virdinski’s.

Virdinskis 05

Banana pudding

No matter the customers’ taste in meat, I hope they at least finish their meals with some banana pudding. It is without a doubt some of the finest that I’ve eaten anywhere. The wafers are even homemade, which is usually a gimmicky way of providing a cookie unequal to a boxed Nilla wafer. However, these cookies were more buttery and crisp, and far more than a gimmick. The pudding beneath was chocked full of bananas, and had none of the nasty flavors of a boxed mix. This was real made-from-scratch pudding, and I nearly ordered another one to-go.

While Virden seems frustrated, he definitely has the passion for cooking, and the skill to put out great food. While I didn’t love this version of his barbecue, he’s working with the right equipment and has some great menu items in place to build from. If he’s willing to stick his neck out a bit, this could be one of few great barbecue joints in this part of Texas.

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