Re: What Jim Had for Dinner
It's good to hear that the pork ribs have improved; I had written them off. Jim's description of the sauce is right on (I might also add "thin"), but it was similar at the old store, though each grade perhaps a bit hotter.
the thinness is ok...that's texas style.
90% of the criticisms of Pearson's I hear are related to the fact that they do Texas-style 'cue and not the Deep South 'cue most of us are used to. Although I fell in love with Flints' sauce (Deep South type, molasses-based), I'm trying to fairly judge Pearson's by Texas standards.
Talk about thin, the sauce at South Central Market in Elgin, TX, is like water; nearly clear and ULTRA thin. It runs over the meat in a fast wash and pools in your plate, leaving behind only a micro-thin gossamer coating. It's heaven.
Compared to that, Pearson's sauce is ketchup in terms of thickness and sweetness.
re: Jim Leff
I also did a Pearson's follow-up visit this weekend. But I had the opposite brisket experience from you - very juicy! It all depends on when you get there. I got the brisket just as they were cutting it for the first time. I think it gets dry as it sits there.
I like the sharpness of their sauce. But yes, it's not Flynt's. Or Texas.
re: Jim Leff
My benchmark for non-gloppy sauce has been the recollection of a (long-deceased) single bottle of Bryant's that a friend brought back from KC twenty years ago. It wasn't syrupy, or (non-NC) Southerly sweet, or excessively tomato-y, but grainy with pepper and other spices. If a sauce is going to be relatively thin, it at least should be complex.
Interestingly, for a while Zabar's installed a smoker a number of years ago, and was selling a homebrew that tasted somewhat like a sweeter attempt at Bryant's.