Hard Eight BBQ (coppell, tx)
I just had a sliced beef sandwich (to go) from the newly opened Hard Eight BBQ in Coppell, so it would be unfair for me to assess their beef on this first visit. The sandwich was slightly discouraging with a mixed array of fat and overly excessive end bits that were dried out. The vinegary cole slaw was boring. Any other opinions about this particular location?
corner of freeport parkway and bethel rd.
I was able to twist hubby's arm to go try the new Hard Eight BBQ (didn't have to twist very hard) this Saturday evening. Had a feeling the line would be large, so we went a wee early--about 5:45 ish.
We ordered a combination of a number of items: Pork ribs, brisket, plain sausage, prime rib (weekends only), and some of the "brush poppers". We also picked up roasted corn on the cob, a coleslaw and some of the beans, which are "on the house". We tried to order some cabrito, but it was still cooking, thus the prime rib was a substitute.
I love the building. It is beautiful and obviously was expensive to build. So, ambience, A++.
The bbq sauce is a bit strange--sweet and vinegary at the same time. I prefer a bit of a kick and this sauce didn't cut it.
The pork ribs were the best we've found in Texas so far. (Honestly, the best pork ribs in the country are in Algonquin, Illinois at a little hole in the wall aptly named "The Texan". Try them if you get out there!)
The brisket was not fatty at all. In fact, I would have liked some fat, it was rather on the dry side--but not unchewably dry, just dry like really dense meat. I know why adkim's sandwich was a "mixed array"--the meat carver scoops all the odd shaped pieces, bits and little fatty parts into a bucket, and then when someone orders "chopped" brisket, that is what they get--I suspect that is where the sandwich meat comes from. It is a genuine attempt to limit waste, but I see how it could lead to adkim's experience.
The brush poppers were great! Finally a bite that is not deep fried, doesn't have fatty cheese, and is different and interesting.
The prime rib was cold. Unexceptional.
The sausage--well, let's just say there is wayyyy better sausage out there, somewhere other than at Hard Eight. Maybe the jalapeno sausage is better.
The coleslaw was actually very good--extremely crisp fresh cabbage, and a vinegar dressing that was not overwhelming.
We really liked the corn--it was roasted plain, so I was able to enjoy corn without the nasty oily spreads they normally dunk it in. Also nice was that they have baked potatoes (okay, they are in foil, so they're really steamed potatoes!), but no french fries (good, as I don't need them!)
The beans are not bbq beans--they are chuckwagon/trail beans--lots of big bits of bacon, but no brown sugar, molasses, goopy stuff. hate to think what might get thrown in that communal vat at some point though--
We topped it off with a piece of unexceptional buttermilk pie.
Overall, way better than Dickies, brisket was way meatier than what I got served at Salt Lick in Austin last time we went (can you say fatty? there wasn't ANY meat!) and we enjoyed it. Hubby says he'll go back, and since we live in Coppell, I'm sure we will be back.
Let me qualify my comments before I review Hard 8. I have been universally disappointed with Dallas BBQ to the point where I learned how to smoke and make my own sauce from scratch to replace the BBQ I think is the best in the world, Kansas City's Arthur Bryants. In the last three years I have cooked for hundreds of people (many native Texans) that comment that my BBQ and baked beans are the best they've ever had. I try to solicit honest criticism and admit that many of my early efforts were very poor. That said....
I went to the Hard Eight to try it out Tuesday the 10th of July at lunchtime. Looking at the meats in the smoker/display I was a little bit shocked at how much fat was left on the brisket. I consider beef brisket and pork ribs the benchmarks for BBQ. I ended up passing on the brisket because there was just no way such cheap and poorly prepared meat could be appetizing. (It looked like the doggy bag scraps that are given away at most KC BBQs.)
I picked some (4-5) ribs (short ends) a couple of their chicken poppers and poorly chose a slice of smoked sirloin. Along with potato salad and a soda the total was $16.50!
So the review:
Potato Salad: seemed homemade but lacked flavor or even an attempt at flavor. Almost seemed like the mustard used was somehow watered down. They need to something with this to make it unique and worth the $1.75 they charge.
Ribs: Over rubbed, cheap meat, fatty and gristly. They were smoked and cooked properly and once you picked the fat off the taste was OK. Nothing more, nothing less. I did notice the table next to me complaining among each other about the fat and compared that the ribs were not as good as... (I didn't hear the name.)
Sirloin: What a waste of money! Rubbery undersmoked, undercooked (but at least lean!) I had to cut it into little bits to make it edible and even then some type of gristle managed it's way into having to be spit out ala Emily Post.
As a matter of fact I can't recall a meal outside of the thrid world where I had to expel as much gristle, fat and undercooked meat in my life.
Lastly the sauce.... and this is where KC does it best! I wouldn't say it was good but at the same time it wasn't bad, it was just neutral and it's only benefit was it helped moisten the rubbery dried out sirloin, cover up (read: dilute) the over rubbed rib pieces that were edible.
The sauce is very much like a diluted and weak "Fatt Matts" (a BBQ in Atlanta). Seems like tomato paste, a little mustard, vinegar and sugar and no spice added enough to be disernable or flavorful. Babies could drink this sauce out of a bottle with a nipple but CPS might write you up for child abuse and having such bad taste.
Lastly, the price/value was outrageous. Very cheap meats and preparation (meaning fat should have been trimmed off)
And NO the fat does not flavor the meat as many people believe! The cell structure is too tight. Fat just makes the meat oily, fatty and greasy and gives you that nauseous feeling when you're done eating it.
Good smoked beef should be like strips of sweet candy like meat without any sauce at all. A well developed smoke ring and tears easily with your teeth.
So IMHO H8 fails at all levels. Next time I want BBQ, I'll soak some wood chunks, get some good pieces of meat, smoke it myself and hope that I am still in the mood for it when it's ready 3 days later.
And just so you don't think I'm not open minded about BBQ, I think Rudy's in San Antonio is pretty good, Marshalls in Farmers Branch is very good, Coopers is pretty good, (not as good as some think though), Fatt Matts (Atlanta) is very good, Bennetts in Denver is pretty good, Arthur Bryants, Gates, Rosedale, LC's and many other neighborhood BBQs in KC are great. KC Masterpiece is horrible, Bill Miller is perhaps the worst I've ever had and Hard Eight is right there at the bottom next to Bill Miller.
My experience with bad BBQ in the DFW area is usually commercial franchises. They give BBQ a bad name. We call them "tourist BBQ". Family owned places are usually the best places. But there are so many taste differences with BBQ too. Sauce vs. dry rub; thick sauce vs. thin sauce. ( I used to hate the thiner sauce until I tasted Odom's Barbeque sauce in Duncanville). Commercial BBQ sauces are a joke to me.
The original Red Bryan's in Arlington was a great place (no longer there). His grandson owns David's BBQ in Arlington which does a good job. The original Sonny Bryan's (not the West End...I believe that was franchised years ago) in Dallas is very good if you like the old fashioned place with school chairs to sit in and picnic tables outside. If I had to pick the best franchise rib, it would have to be Spring Creek with it's dry rub. I won't vouch for anything else there except the fresh baked low-calorie rolls?
Some good news, there's a Rudy's opened up in Frisco and they are doing a pretty good job. Went Friday night, brisket was great. Ribs were undercooked and they shorted me an order of ribs using the drive thru. As usual I put Gates Extra hot sauce on everything. Had some good BBQ a few weeks ago in Italy Texas and some friends and I got some decent brisket from some BBQ a little north of Denton on the way to the Sooner game this weekend. Don't remember the name though.
All I can say is excellent review, Jef. You pretty much said everything that i was going to say.
I went to Hard Eight on Saturday, July 14th at around 11:00 am. As soon as I walked in the door I had a bad feeling. It proved to be correct as I left hungry and $17.04 lighter in the wallet.
People need to be warned about this place. This is not your typical cafeteria line bbq joint. When you walk in, you see the selection of meats spread out in an open smoker. Some things like the pork chops and the grilled chicken have a set price for 1. Everything else is sold by the pound. And maybe it was right in front of me and I didnt see it, but I didnt notice any price lists. I was worried that I was about to get hosed, so I went with less food than I actually wanted. Basically they take your order by the inch. So I got 4-5 inches of the two flavors of sausage and 5 brush poppers. My hand signal for how much ribs I wanted resulted in me receiving exactly 3 ribs. So that baby portion of meat, a side of potato salad, and a diet pepsi ran me just over 17 bucks.
As far as the food itself goes, once again jef is right on the money. I must say the pork ribs were a joke. They had little meat on them and were at least 50% gristle. The sauce was barely more than a ketchup/liquid smoke combo. And I, too, worry about what might have fallen into that huge, open vat of beans.
Needless to say, I do not recommend this place. Nobody should drop 17 on a meal and leave hungry. If you go, expect to pay much more than you expected.
Great building, great porch, great free beans. I say great beans because there isn't a charge on them. (There in a big pot by the fountain drinks.) That is where the great stops.
I've never seen any place so proud of their meat for the quality served. $17 for two ribs, asked for a quarter, probably got a third pound of briskett, serving of sausage, two sides and a drink.
The sausage was cold. The brisket had not smoke ring, and basically tasted like roast. Also, the brisket is cut with the grain; I'm not a big fan of that. The ribs were fatty, which I don't have a problem with, but there wasn't enough meat to go with them. The rub on the ribs appeared to be just salt and pepper which was fine, but the overall smoke flavor was lacking once again.
Maybe the chicken would be better. But for the price and quality, I won't be going back on my nickel.
I'll give a plug for Bartley's in Grapevine. They have all you can eat for about $12 and they take the Star Telegram Press Pass which gives 20% off. If you want a smoke ring on your meat go here or just about anywhere.
One of the better barbeque places in Arlington is David's Barbeque on Park Row. I believe he is 3rd generation from the Red Bryan's/ Sonny Bryan's Barbeque dynasty. Also, in Duncanville off Camp Wisdom and Oriole, try Odom's Barbeque, dry chopped BBQ sandwich with sauce on the side. The sauce is so good that you will be tempted to sip it; it's one of the best sauces that I've ever had.
The original Hard Eight in Stephenville didn't impress me either. Brisket was tough. Some people don't care about the tenderness, but most native Texans do. By the way, if you tell the meat carver you want "extra lean" at most places, they usually go out of their way to accomodate.
My girlfriend and I live in Coppell and have been anxiously awaiting the opening of this restaurant for over 1 year. I was hoping the extremely slow build was a good sign - maybe they would slow cook their meats too. Last night (7/28) we decided to go for dinner. We arrived a little after 8:00 and there was still a good crowd. I like the country music in the parking lot and the huge stack of wood and nice smoke in the area had my drooling. Standing in line we heard the guy cutting the meat say "All out" numerous times. I am not sure of what it was he was all out of but for sure one item was the roasted corn. The heat off the smoker with the meat on it was a little much to bear and by the time we got inside we smelled like smoked meat ourselves. Watching a sweaty man cut meat doesn't stimulate my appetite either.
My girlfriend got the corn on the cob. A half an ear from the grill area, taken out of a vat of butter. It didn't look to appealing. I got a baked/steam potato for us to share. She ordered a half chicken and I asked for 3 slices of brisket and a few slices of smoked turkey. About 2 customers in front of finished the last brisket and a new one from another smoker was delivered. Outside it looked good but as he started cutting my 1 inch slices of brisket with a electric carving knife that you'd see on Thanksgiving I realized I was in trouble. Brisket is supposed to be cut thin and have a smoke ring. This was cut thick, had no smoke ring and I could see absolutely no juice coming out of it. He quickly tried to give me two slices of turkey but I saw how much meat I already had and how dry it looked and quickly stopped him at one slice. Inside we ordered no additional sides but got fixings for our potato and some onions, peppers and pickles for our meat. 2 large beers were ordered (3.50 each) and we also collected some beans from the pot.
The beans were great (although I wasn't a fan of the community pot with multiple dropped ladles in it). The beer was cold. The peppers very hot and the onions and pickles very fresh. That's where it ended. The half chicken had no smoked flavor and was dry. The brisket seemed like it was cooked in a few hours in an oven - no smoke ring, dry and tough. I had trouble making bite size pieces with a steak knife! The smoked turkey was average - again, very little smoked flavor. Since my brisket, turkey and half chicken cost us $23 we figured we'd better eat some of it so we added lots of sauce to moisten the meat. Big mistake. The sauce as many above have mentioned is below average and has no kick. My girlfriend said the corn on the cob was greasy (after being in the vat of oil this had to be true) and tasted like it started out frozen. The potato was average at best.
This entire experience was a true disappointment for me. It was hard not to say "Save your money" to those still walking in.
Great atmosphere and cold beer but not much else.
Sorry to say I prefer the food at dickeys in Coppell over this. At least their brisket is tender and the chicken breasts are truly smoked. Dickey's also allows me to have the hotter BBQ sauce which I like. My all time favorite so far for beef brisket and beef ribs has to be Angelo's in Fort Worth. No sauce or knife needed.
This is very disappointing as I have eatten at the Hard Eight in Stephenville and really enjoyed it. Thanks everyone for the reviews!
On a side note with everyone talking about Arlington, I personally enjoy Bodacious but I grew up in East Texas so the extensive exposure to pine tree pollen may have affected my sense of BBQ. The Arlington Location is owned and run by one of the daughters (perhaps grand daughters) of the original owners from Longview.
Some "food for thought" that the first few months of opening for many restaurants are a bit rough, and things settle down after awhile..I often avoid going to new restaurants until they've been open for awhile, and hopefully this will prove to be the case here.
May I also point out to galuskan that there are 2 types of corn on offer--one immersed in the greasy vat of ...something slimy, and the other grilled with no "topping"--I had the plain grilled variety and while it was definitely overpriced, it was healthy and good. You really have to study the "menu" way up high in the rafters to notice that this is the case, however.
I'm stunned at the disparity in the rib reviews, though. The night we were there they were good. We probably won't go back for months, so hopefully by the time we try this again everything will have settled down.
I have now visited Hard Eight a good half dozen times. I was excited to see them come to the Dallas area as I enjoyed their Stephenville location. If I had one word to describe Hard Eight, it would be "inconsistent" (really, "madeningly inconsistent" but I promised one word). A times I have gotten brisket there that was no better than shoe leather and sometimes I have had brisket that melted in your mouth with great smoky flavor (for me its like that one "Tiger Woods" like shot you make on the muni that keeps you hooked to a sport that you have no business playing). The same thing goes for the ribs. Some days the ribs are spot on, and some days, I feel ripped off (I have just learned to avoid them alltogether).
I think their best item is their spicy sausage.
Their chicken, jalapeno poppers (wrapped in bacon) are pretty good as well. In fact, one day I ordered a couple poppers and one of the poppers fell into the vat of butter (they keep a vat of butter around to dip the corn and pork chops). Anyway, I couldn't resist the idea of a bacon wrapped jalapeno, chicken popper doused in butter, so I had the carver fish it out (he felt like a goon because he dropped it in there and gave it to me for free). I think it was the best popper out of the bunch and I think butter submersion will be a part of future popper orders...ANYWAY...
After eating there, Im starting to develop a theory that their smoke filled serving line may in fact work against them. I think that you are so saturated with smoke, by the time you eat your food, you cant detect much smoke flavor (remember your taste buds work in harmony with your nose). I find that if I get an order "to go", I can detect more smoke flavor (and I get the added benefit of going through the "to go" line around the side).
Here is some advice I have compiled for those who venture out to the Hard Eight
1. Be specific on how you want your brisket cut. I have noticed that some of the carvers dont know how to cut a brisket. In fact, I had one guy give me a cut with the grain. It was a "to go" order and I didnt catch it till I was pretty far away. Needless to say, it was a bit tough to get through.
2. Go for the "fatty side" of the brisket. Just ask. HOWEVER, be especially watchful if you order from the "fatty side". The top of the "fatty side" has grains that run at a 45 degree angle to the bottom. If you don't watch out, the carver will just cut right through and you will get some cuts with the grain. The carvers are extremely nice and seem to be accommodating. If you get the right cut from the "fatty side", you will have a great brisket experience.
3. Hard Eight is a bit on the expensive side, so I have devised a strategy for making my money go a bit further. I usually order a bit of spicy sausage and "fatty end" brisket (you can order your favorite meat combo), chop them up at my table, grab a to-go box (they are lying around the tables), fill the to-go box with the free beans, and then mix in the chopped meat (add in jalapenos and onions for an extra kick). It makes a great meal and after you get your fill, you should have enough for lunch the next day (plus it tastes better the next day anyway). I'm calling it Ikiru's Hard Eight BBQ Bean Hash (IHEBBQBH...for the textoids).
4. You have to go out to the patio to exit the place. Just a tip because I see lots of people wandering around trying to get out.
5. Watch out for the pepper shakers. They put out a lot of pepper in a hurry.
6. If you go there for lunch, get there before 11:30am. The lunch line fills up and you could find yourself standing outside in the heat for a while.
7. There are 2 lines for service. Make sure you check the line that goes around the other side. I find that most people don't know its there and the line is usually shorter.
8. The menu is up on the rafters...up and to the left of where you enter. Most everything is by the pound. The "bigger than your head" sized pork chops are sold individually.
*enjoy the sauce*
I've only eaten at the new location once, and perhaps the rampant inconsistency is what explains my excellent experience contrasted with the general consensus. My visits with Hard Eight have been in Stephenville and Brady as Roadfood travelling through town, and the meats have always been excellent, the sides competent accompaniments, and the beer cold. Were I to get dry meat, cold product, or the other issues folks have described, I would not be back
In fact, I will not recommend Hard Eight in Coppell to anyone until I believe it is consistently excellent. In the meantime, I'll send folks to Railhead, David's, or Angelo's.
What a letdown! After watching them (slowly) build out, I had high hopes. I tried Hard 8 for lunch on Friday August the 3rd. I left hoping they go under quickly so someone better (County Line, Bartley's, Bodacious, Sonny Bryan's) can give it a shot. They seem to excel at things that don't matter, nice building, lot's of flat screen T.V.'s etc. But the brisket was tough dry and fatty (How do you do all of that at once?). The Jalapeno sausage was O.K. but nothing special, same with the pinto beans from the giant pot in the back. The only thing about the food that was exceptional was the price, they lifted $17 from me. If a close friend fixed this meal on his backyard smoker you could write it off that he didn't know what he was doing. In the smaller towns where Hard 8 has it's roots, maybe they don't have the competition that they will face in the metroplex. Hard to imagine them in business in a couple of years.
We've eaten the best barbeque around Texas (none of which has been anywhere near Dallas). Maybe we've just been lucky, but our several trips to Hard Eight have all been great. Yes, the sides are a bit bland and could use improvement, but the meat is awesome and the free beans were great, too. We've had brisket several times - always delicious - not fatty (the guy scraped off all the fat before he sliced the newly unwrapped brisket from the foil). Ribs were great. Also tried the smoked chicken - excellent. And the jalapeno poppers (turkey - not chicken as someone mentioned) were dynamite and addictive. Good meat is pricey - buy wisely. Most people order too much. Our family has been in the BBQ business for 40+ years and my husband knows a great deal about BBQ - this place can't be beat. If you've had a bad experience, you owe it to yourself to give 'em another try. Enjoy!
From a 60 year old native Texan who grew up near Wichita Falls I would not put Hard Eight on the same planet with Underwood's barbeque. To CL Underwood your family had some of the best barbeque I have ever eaten in my life. The Wichita Falls location in Southmoor Center was the most popular restaurant in the area going back to the early 1960's. As a Coppell resident the Hard Eight is very disappointing as to the food quality pricing and overall atmosphere.
Went a couple of weeks ago. We didn't order the brisket any special way so I got a very fatty piece while my SO got an extremely dry one. I'd say we'll know better next time how to order but nothing else was good there either. Ribs were fatty and pretty tough at the same time. Sausage was the best thing but Dickey's down the street is as good for that. And yes, they're very proud of it $$ wise. Couldn't believe the tab.
Banana pudding really rocked though - and I say that sincerely. good stuff.
I really hope they just need time to get everything "seasoned". I will not be returning until I hear better things. Building is cool anyway.
Interesting sidenote on Hard 8... I've heard the city of Coppell gave them some pretty big incentives to open here. I guess it's a big favorite of some deer hunting councilmen. Anyway, they could've have done better by opening a Spring Creek or somesuch.
I have been to Hard Eight three times since they opened, and I must say, much of the criticism here is deserved. But as a Coppell resident, I am still excited to have them in the area, and am holding out hope that they will make the necessary improvements. I agree that they are pricey, but I certainly do not agree with coppellite that we would be better off with a "Spring Creek or somesuch", as I will not even use the coupons they are constantly mailing out to eat there at a discount. At least with Hard Eight, there is a chance that they might just need some time to dial it in a bit. Here are my Hard Eight observations:
The brisket is definitely unlike any I have ever had before, and not in a good way. More like roast, but very dry.
Ribs have been hit or miss.
Chicken and sausage have been very good.
The little bacon wrapped turkey nuggets were a nice diversion, but not something you could make a meal out of.
For me the sides are the weakest link here. Potato salad is excessively mustardy, cole slaw very vinegary, and the free beans are flavorless.
I agree with coppellite, the banana pudding is very good!
Here's hoping the owners read this site and are open to constructive criticism.
My family and I try to eat at hard eight atleast once a month if our budget allows. Our family enjoys that the food they eat, they get to see and pick out how much of eat. A family favorite would be the brushed turkey poppers, ribeyes on the weekends, and the roasted corn. I personally love the potato salad, and latley they have been getting in cheesecake for dessert which my whole family loves.
I will have to disagree when most of you say Hard eight isn't the best bbq place, I believe the food, atmosphere, and customer service make it a great place for dining with the family, friends, or co-workers.
I revisited Hard Eight on December 4, 2007 and was generally pleased. The brisket I had was dry, void of smoky flavor, and a bit overcooked, but not so much that it was inedible like prior visits. The ribs tasted fine, but weren't anything special. They were of poor quality and lacked tenderness. The turkey poppers with jalepeno and bacon were good, but way short of spectacular...just too dry. Replace the turkey with dove or quail and I will the first in line for those poppers.
The food overall on this day was good enough to warrant repeat visits. The price of the food is enough to make me second guess a repeat visit.
This is the monthly meeting spot for the NorthTexasJK forum and it's a great choice. I notice that it's a meeting place for many car and motorcycle groups as well so that has to say SOMETHING for the place. I've never had anything bad there - normally go w/ the poppers, potato salad, beans, pork chop and cherry cobbler. On the days I'm not as hungry, the turkey and sausage are great choices. The ribeyes are hit or miss, but when you get a good one, it's REALLY good - husband's a big red meat guy. I don't like bar-b-q sauce so I can't say whether Hard 8's is good or not. But all in all, our experiences have been great but not exceptional. A little pricey, but of course, when I eat, I EAT!
How could anyone reate Rudy's and Underwood's better than Hard 8? Rudy's tried in the Coppell area and failed miserably. I visited once. I gew up with Underwoods and it was nothing special. Is Hard 8 the best? No. Is it good? Yes although their sauce is a little weak for my tastes.
The chicken is the top thing on their menu for me. Tasty and reasonably priced. Their prices are a bit high though.
After trying BBQ all over the place I've come to understand that everyone makes it different and everyone has different tastes and ideas of what BBQ should be. The people in South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee will argue all day about what is better.
Try Hard 8 if you get the chance. It may not be for you
I had Hard 8 and thought it was okay.. I did think it was rather expensive. The best deal that I have found is to get a sandwich (they usually put a good amount of meat on it) and then you get the free beans. If I was just ordering a meat plate it is very pricey.
As far as eating there I think you are paying for atmosphere, etc. I thought the food was okay, just not great. I would definitely eat there again but wouldn't drive out of my way for it. Looks like a great place for happy hours and the such.
When did Rudy's try in the Coppell area? I've lived here for six years and it certainly hasn't been during that time. We've eaten at the Rudy's in Waco and in Austin and it has been superior on every occasion to Hard Eight. Purists may reflexively deride Rudy's as a chain, but I've always had way above average, consistently good ribs, brisket and sausage there. I wish they would open one in Coppell. I've given Hard Eight at least half a dozen tries, and they never can seem to put it all together, very spotty. I wouldn't mind paying their prices if they could deliver a consistently good product.
I went there once. I'll not be back. I had, by far, the most overcooked ribs that I've ever encountered. They were crunchy they were so overdone. and yes, it's expensive. as an added bonus, I ordered a half pound of both brisket and ribs, and when I went to pay, the guy slicing had put almost .75lbs of each on my tray, forcing me to make the decision of telling them to take some off, or paying for stuff I didn't order. Nice.
the turkey jalapeno poppers were good though.
This place is hit AND miss every time: I gave it the threee visit test and every time something that was good the first time was terrible the second time (I ordered combos of things all the time). By the third time I gave up on the sides, all are terrible all the time, and the sausage was terrible all three times.
Not going back, the whole point of a good dining place is consistent good quality: this place does not get it.
I've lived in Stephenville for my whole college career and I can't believe the posts below.. I've eaten just about everything Hard Eight has to offer in both locations because I'm originally from Dallas and recently moved back. No resturant is perfect, but Hard Eight is by far the BEST BBQ I've ever had. Their chopped beef has an amazing taste to it making a stuffed Potato the best! They take time with their meats and I don't think the meat is cheap at all. Before you can say it wasn't very good eat there at least twice. I think it's worth the money and everyone I take loves it!
Hubby and I went to Hard 8 last night for first time (9/6). The brisket was very dry and tough. No smoke flavor, just tasted like old pot roast. The ribs were fall off the bone, but no smoke, just tasted like baked pork. The chicken was seasoned, but dry also. Cole slaw was a creamy base which was ok. The pinto beans had no taste at all....likened them to eating wallpaper paste with beans. It could have used some bacon strips and a few teaspoons of cumin....maybe some onions too. We did enjoy the baked potato and tea. We were very disappointed as we have not been able to get good BBQ since moving to Texas. I make the best brisket and ribs we've had since moving down here. I would appreciate a chain like Famous Dave's. At least you can taste the smoke and the meat is fork tender and juicy without being fatty.
688 Freeport Pkwy
Coppell, TX 75019
Located in an obscure warehouse/corporate business area, I was initially impressed with the large building size. Half is devoted to 6 or 8 wood pits shared with the meat portion of the serving area (your clothes and hair may leave smelling of smoke), another third (wasted space) for the remainder of the serving area and the remainder of space is the inside dining and covered outside area: picnic style communal tables and backless stools are fixed in place.
You can check out the menu via the link above, but 1) they do have MANY meat choices, 2) they charge by the pound, so as others have said, the price can get away from you, or not - you are in charge of that 3) except for the beans and bread all sides are an additional charge to the meat. Overall, I was underimpressed.
Between my friend and me, we had the jalapeno sausage (HOT), brisket, turkey poppers, 1/2 chicken, cabrito, beef ribs, and EXCELLENT, SUPERB, NO-SALT-OR-PEPPER-REQUIRED grilled-in-the-husk corn-on-the-cob.
The meats were just OK. I didn’t find any to be particularly greasy, but they had no particular flavor either. The sausage and turkey poppers were very dry. The cabrito may have been divine, but I didn't like the taste - a me thing. I had to try it though because I've never eaten goat before. Thinking the sauce would help - it didn't. If you like white table sugar tasting sweet bbq sauce, this may be for you. Thank God I didn't douse the whole plate without tasting first.
Other than the perfectly grilled corn-on-the-cob (not to be confused with the 1/2 ear, boiled cob), we had the free pintos - I liked them. They are simply seasoned only w/onion and garlic, perhaps some bacon. Not your typical BBQ style beans.
4 draft beers, a couple of varieties of wine and margs are available as are soft drinks, sweetened and unsweetened tea. They have TV monitors scattered around at appropriate viewing angles.
That's about it folks. The enormity of the meat selection was the highlight for me and you can get that just reading the menu.
My BF & I (my first visit) went to Hard 8 last Friday 11/14 and found it to be a good experience over all. This particular night they were having a happy hour special on the brush poppers & ribs- 1/2 off. I believe they do this every Friday until 7pm and it is dine in only.
BF has been to Hard 8 a couple of times and fore warned me about the mediocre sides. Our original plan was to try the turkey sandwich and brush poppers and pick up a side and some beans but when we saw that they were running a special on the ribs we changed our plans. I must say that the ribs were the meatiest(sp?) and tenderest that I have ever had, so good that I didn't eat them with any bbq sauce. Speaking of bbq sauce I wasn’t really impressed with Hard 8’s sauce. The brush poppers were good but at most I could eat three b/c they are a little rich.
Tried the coleslaw and it was okay- nothing to write home about. It was a little on the sweet vinegary side so if you like that then you would probably think it was spectacular. I would probably pass on the coleslaw next time and get the roasted corn or maybe try out the fries. Had the beans and they were a little on the bland side until I discovered the jalapeño which makes a world of difference. If you get a jalapeño from the pot of beans and cut it up and eat it with the beans then the beans taste pretty good. The jalapeño is really spicy so if you don’t do spice I would avoid scooping up a jalapeño with the ladle. For something that is free they are not bad but I’m not sure I would pay for them.
We also tried the peach cobbler and found it to be way too sweet for our liking and a rip off at $3- I think it was over $3 but I can’t remember.
Our whole meal for two cost about $18. We got a pound of brush poppers (only ate 5 and took the rest home) and about ½ pound of ribs+ coleslaw & peach cobbler. Found this to be pretty cheap for bbq.
We are planning on going back again when they have the ½ special for ribs. I am hoping that they just as good as the first time but I have heard other people say that they have had a dry batch and they were terrible. BTW MY BF has had the brisket sandwich and thinks it’s terrible. I get the feeling that they can be inconsistent with the quality of their meats.
Personally, I like Sammy’s near the Fed Reserve building downtown. Too bad they are only open during lunch!
If you haven't been - just forego the experience and try Rudys. There is one in Denton as well as the new one in Frisco. I haven't found any better since leaving the hill country.
I can promise you most of the reviews in here on Hard Eight are accurate. It's over priced, and the food is low caliber. The building is nice though... I'd eat at Dickey's any day over Hard Eight.
I finally managed to try this place out the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
I would describe it as definitely being within the Central Texas style as far as technique goes. That's a good thing (for me). I'd say the meat was of a decent quality - I had ribs, brisket, and sausage. It's hard to rate the quality of the cooking but I can see how they'd be inconsistent. The brisket was a nice fat (and moderately fatty) slice (ok two slices). I've absolutely had worse. Some smoke present, not a ton of flavor, needed salt, can't describe the rub at all. Still it's nice to get the central Texas style of brisket without having to drive 4 hours away. Ribs were fairly good quality meat, better than McClard's in Hot Springs, probably even with Kelly's in Plano, but of course not even close to Smitty's. Lacking in pork flavor although quite smokey, and suspiciously tender, the meat fell off the bone too easily. Not that I'm making accusations. The jalapeno sausage was overdone and burnt to a crisp (ie crunchier than a saltine) on one side (a small strip throughout) but otherwise I would have liked it. Not as juicy as my favorites but fairly juicy, not packed too tightly or too loosely, with some snap to the casing, although not as much as I'd like. I also tried their beans and found them enjoyable in their simplicity. Can't comment on the sauce, as of course I used none (and ate with my hands!). The price was fairly outrageous. Definitely paying DFW prices, it would have been hardly over half the cost in Lockhart most likely.
Overall I'd say it's a place I'd go if I absolutely had to show somebody what the Central Texas style of 'que was, and probably explain away their shortcomings. Otherwise it's hard to say I'd stop in, even after flying into DFW, due to the fairly ridiculous prices.
Don't ever, ever, even think about going here...ever. I must say that the only saving grace is it's atmosphere. Call me old fashioned, but at the end of the day, I don't go out to eat for atmosphere, but rather the food. The asbolutely worst bbq I've ever had, not to mention it will bleed your wallet dry. This is coming from a New Orleans born and Texas raised food coniseaur that appreciates cheap simple food to high dollar delicacies. This place serves nothing except fales hopes. I would rather starve.
Luniz: it's hard to be exact about what is wrong when so much is wrong. As had been said, the atmosphere is great and it's a fun place to take out of towners, but for those who know good bbq, it doesn't measure up. The sides are just off, bland and uninteresting. The corn bread "salad" for instance, is just dry corn bread that has been run through a food processor until it is the consistency of sand. That's it. The potato salad has no taste. The beans are overwhelmed by jalapeno, but otherwise unseasoned. The BBQ is mostly dry and overcooked from sitting on the grill. I work near there and have been maybe 6-7 times (work outings, forced to go there by a group) and occasionally the ribs are good. If you get a "new brisket", right out of the foil wrap when they cut it, you might get a juicy piece. The "poppers" re really just over-cooked, dry turkey wrapped in bacon and with a jalapeno. They do offer to dip anything in the big pot of melted butter. That is how they "save" the steaks and the pork chops, for instance, that have been sitting on the grill for an undetermined amount of time. But, they'll dip anything in the butter and regulars get that all the time (from what I can tell). That should tell you something about the meats that are not dipped in the butter. The poppers, the way you order, and the atmosphere all make it exactly what the poster above said: "tourist BBQ". It's expensive too.
with all this negative info, I wonder what there is about it that has the parking overflowing, the "field" across the street being used for parking, and the line I see when I drive by at lunch. I work close to it and am amazed of the number of vehicles there. Could they just be renting parking spaces?? It seems it can't be a "cheap" place for lunch since many posters talk about the prices.
Being a TEXAS native, and eaten bar-b-q from Kansas to NC and every jont in TEXAS. I have to say H8B, has a great concept. The bar-b-q ribs were BAD, for great ribs eat at Salt Lick in Roundrock.
At H8B I had 2 ribs, 3 popers , and 7 pieces of sausage, cost $12, I drank water and had no sides . The beans were the best thing on the menu znd they were free. Who every came up for the recipe for the bar-b-q sauce, should be hung..... worst I have every eaten. Friends don't let fellow Texans eat lousy bar-b-q..... Heck Spring Creek is 5X better and I call them a class B/C bar-b-q joint.
OK-which is better: Hard Eight in Coppell or Rudy's in Frisco? I have been to the Rudy's in Frisco and really liked it-I need to know if Hard Eight is just as good or better?
Rudy's in Frisco has been the best BBQ I have found in the Dallas area-yes, I long for some Central TX BBQ and we have a trip scheduled in May and Sept. hitting all of the great spots down there. Just need to know which is better: Rudy's or Hard Eight-especially with brisket and sausage.
Sure wished I'd read the reviews before stopping @ the Hard 8 in Stephenville. What a joke. Brisket w/o a smoke ring? Sauce w/o a kick? This is one of many BBQ joints I've been to that the "carver" does NOT know how to cut brisket. The only thing decent were the poppers. I agree w/ jef_1_f learn to make it yourself!