BBQ along I-45?
Going to be making the drive from Dallas to The Woodlands in early July (ick!)
Would love to find some good Q somewhere along the way. Normally I would be up for the best brisket regardless of ambience or lack thereof, but I will be traveling with my mom, so a decent overall Q experience might have to suffice.
I've found some places on Google, but would prefer voices of experience, so let me hear from you!
We actually drive from Houston to Centerville, Tx to go to Woody's Smokehouse. We go to get jerky, freshly made sausage, and specialty jams & pickles. But we stay and eat there. They have a good selection of BBQ, smoked meats and a place to eat them. It's good stuff. I would recommend it and Mom might really enjoy browsing the extra stuff they sell there. A hint is if you are looking at the jerky and smoked meat they sell, they will let you taste a bite of whatever you are interested in. Oh, the smoked ham is really good too. Just google them for more info.
The absolute best barbecue on that route is at the New Zion Missionary Baptist Church & BBQ at Huntsville. It's a quick and easy jaunt off of I-45. It's good enough that folks drive there from all over this region (including Houston) to eat there.
A negative is that their hours aren't always convenient, so you have to do a little research and plan your arrival time.
That said, I completely agree with Dani about Woody's. If I'm traveling that route and it coincides with New Zion being open, I'll stop at New Zion for lunch, as their brisket is better than Woody's. Not to mention that the New Zion church ladies make terrific pies for dessert. But Woody's is pretty good, too, so it's where I get my brisket and sausage if New Zion isn't open.
And Woody's is a wonderful, fun place. Even if my tummy is full of New Zion brisket, I still have to stop at Woody's to get some of their jarred items - like homestyle applesauce, apple butter, pickles, jams, etc. And when I'm heading north to see my dad, I have to get him some of Woody's bacon. When I'm heading south to see my son-in-law, I have to get him some of Woody's jerky.
It really is a 'do not miss.'
And Dani - I know there is a Woody's on each side of I-45. I always go to the one on the east side. Don't know why - I just got started going there and have continued.
Do you have a preference?
I just did this trip this past weekend and stopped at both (we were going north). We bought a dinner plate at New Zion and 3lbs or brisket to go. The ribs were much better than the brisket, which didn't have much smoke flavor but were oh so tender. The brisket fed five of us for 2+ meals and heated up great in a 350 oven.
Woody's is where we stopped for jalapeno cheese bread and pickled okra, both of which were great but incredibly expensive. I've made the mistake of eating the 'cue there on two occasions and never will do it again, nor recommend anyone else do the same. Gas is cheap though!
First point in the propaganda campaign - it's easy to find. Exit off of I45 onto Montgomery Street. It's a straight shot - about a mile or so east, on the south side of the road. And plenty of parking.
Second point in the propaganda campaign - go get a copy of the current issue of Saveur. It's all about Texas and you should have it anyway. But more germane to this discussion is that New Zion is featured prominently, with several photos.