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Heading to Houston this weekend just want some BBQ!

j
Justin L May 25, 2011 12:49 PM

Howdy folks, this will be my first time to houston (coming from California). Most of the trip is planned but this Saturday I get to decide on what to do and all I want to do is try some down home texas bbq. Specifically brisket, I know some of the best joints are in central texas but if I can try something comparable that would be great.

I asked my gf and she said that we would go to Goode Co. She also specifically told me not to look too much into it and just give it a try. But it seems like that place doesn't get much love on this board and it seems kind of theme-y (not all people in TX are cowboys right?) I only have once chance to eat some bbq so thats why i got to make it count. Also we will be staying in sugarland so it has to be somewhat close. If it was up to me I would rent a car and drive to all the spots in central tx.

So far I have

Pierson & Co
Luling City Market (but is this hit or miss? and what's the ethical reasons?)

Hopefully I will be successful or my gf will be giving me grief for not going to goode co.
Thanks!

  1. l
    LindyCindy Aug 24, 2012 03:41 PM

    Baker's Ribs on South Voss is a winner. Smokey, savory bbq sauce and great homemade sides. Try the marinated tomatoes and dilled potato salad.

    1. j
      jpdanart Jun 14, 2011 11:48 AM

      In this entire thread, I did not see one mention of Thelma's! Ya'll should be ashamed. I agree that Houston strangely has a dearth of good BBQ restaurants, but Thelma's is amazing. It should be noted that it is wet BBQ as opposed to the more traditional dry Texas BBQ. I also would recommend Beaver's (as they say just south of Hooter's) on Sawyer right off of Washington Ave. They smoke all their meat in house and use the best cuts. Their appetizer of Bar Bar consistently rates on my 'what do I want for my last meal' list.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jpdanart
        j
        James Cristinian Jun 14, 2011 01:41 PM

        I went to Thelma's once before the fire, and have not had a chance to go back. To quote Hesh from Sopranos season one, "There is good and not good, and this is not good." I got an order of brisket, sauce on the side, and the meat was dried out with not much flavor. I'll admit I pobably got them on a bad day, and will go back. I don't judge BBQ on one visit. I've also heard good things about the fried catfish. Thelma, by the way, was on perfect behaviour. As for Beaver's, I've read many mixed reviews, but beyond that, words like hip and hipster keep coming up, and that's not me now, maybe twenty years ago. Plus, a BBQ place with a chef, I go to BBQ joints. Again, it's probably perfectly good, but I don't see myself going there, unless you're paying. By the way, I don't think there's a Hooter's on Sawyer it's not on their website, unless one popped up, which is entirely possible. That wolud be another blow to the Washington Ave. corridor, Hooters is terrible.

      2. texasredtop Jun 8, 2011 06:38 PM

        http://texasbbqroadtrip.com/ Interesting info. I know it's not Houston but it's worth a look at. I "borrowed" it from the Texas board :-)

        1 Reply
        1. re: texasredtop
          DoobieWah Jun 8, 2011 09:11 PM

          Thanks for posting that. It was great.

          (Yay Snow's!)

        2. n
          N8ivtxn Jun 3, 2011 12:10 PM

          It sounds ridiculous but there is no good BBQ in Houston... we all know that... if you are coming all the way from out of state do yourself a favor and take a two-hour trip to Lulling (City Market) or a few more miles and goto Lockhart (Smittys/Blacks)... having BBQ in Houston at Goode Co./Pappas/Burns/etc. gives the state a bad name. There is a reason only 2 of the Top 50 BBQ joints according to Texas Monthly are located in Houston (yet Houston has the largest population in the state).

          1 Reply
          1. re: N8ivtxn
            b
            BenHardy Jul 9, 2011 01:44 AM

            Goode co barbecue certainly has its drawbacks. I've never thought that their pork ribs were anything but tough and chewy. The brisket screams to be soaked in sauce. But like most restaurants who have hits and misses, they do have two items I think are top notch: The smoked turkey (makes a killer sandwich, but get it to go) and the potato salad, which to my taste, is the best in Houston. I've taken many a drive to Goode only to get the potato salad.

            -----
            Goode Co Barbque
            5109 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX 77098

          2. r
            ryback Jun 2, 2011 10:38 AM

            Do not bother, BBQ is not in Houston

            1. j
              Justin L Jun 1, 2011 11:03 AM

              thanks everybody for all your advice, I'm glad to hear there are so many people passionate about their BBQ. Unfortunately I had to change the meal from Saturday to Sunday evening. Some of the places that I really wanted to try were closed and my gf's family were recommending either Rudy's or Goode Co. I was borderline annoying with trying to go somewhere else but I didn't want to push my luck with my great hosts.

              We decided to go to Rudy's and the brisket was pretty good. We got only moist so didn't compare it to the lean cuts. This was my first "real" brisket and I thought it was tasty, really moist, fatty and flavorful I only wish I could compare it to other BBQ joints. It felt a little theme-y as well, was hoping for a real authentic hole in the wall in the middle of nowhere. But either way we enjoyed our BBQ experience. Also had a couple ribs and some sides, I wasn't much of a fan of their baked beans.

              On another note we went to Perry's Steakhouse straight from the airport on Friday for lunch. WOW! the pork chop was incredible, cooked perfectly with a nice smoky flavor! It was absolutely huge and for only $11.95. I strongly recommend it. I'm somewhat glad I don't live there because it would be really hard to resist that pork chop on a weekly basis. Also had a crawfish boil at home at that was a lot of fun. Overall had a great eating weekend in Houston thanks again for all your help!

              17 Replies
              1. re: Justin L
                j
                Jaymes Jun 1, 2011 12:04 PM

                You say you weren't "much of a fan of their baked beans." It's been a while since I've been to Rudy's, so I might be mistaken, but if I recall correctly, their beans are typical of the sort of beans that are typical of most Central and West Texas barbecue joints. And you probably didn't like their "baked beans" because they probably don't serve "baked beans."

                You say you're from California, and indicate that this is your first experience with Texas brisket, so you likely weren't warned about the beans.

                When folks from other parts of the country think about barbecue, and the beans that usually accompany it, their minds most-often go to something sweet: sweet ribs, pulled pork, sweet sauce, and sweet baked beans.

                As you discovered, those sweet baked beans are nothing like the beans that traditionally accompany a Texas-style barbecue plate. Those hungry saddle-worn trailhands that were out driving beef cattle across Texas didn't have ovens to bake their beans in, even if they had liked 'em sweet.

                So when you think of Texas barbecue, don't think sweet, thick, gooey baked beans.

                Think soupy pot-beans that you eat with a spoon; non-sweet, Mexican/Southwestern/cowboy/chuckwagon-style pintos flecked with roasted chile peppers and garlic and onions and cilantro and other seasonings, simmered for a couple of hours in a big, black, cast-iron pot suspended over a campfire out on the open range, and now ladled up by Cooky, steaming hot into your bowl, and topped with some pico de gallo and extra jalapenos.

                It's more like that.

                1. re: Justin L
                  texasredtop Jun 1, 2011 02:03 PM

                  In the last 2 years I've had some decent bbq at Rudy's. I haven't found any sides there that I like though. And their sliced beef heats up nicely the next day. Most sliced beef becomes shoe leather reheated but Rudy's does nicely.

                  1. re: texasredtop
                    t
                    tlegray Jun 3, 2011 09:16 PM

                    fwi Rudy's is opening a location in Clear Lake/League City area on 45. And while I don't feel I know enough about bbq to put in my 2 cents we do love Rudy's BBQ sauce and usually have a bottle in our refrigerator.

                    1. re: tlegray
                      texasredtop Jun 4, 2011 05:20 AM

                      It's certainly not fantastic but given the other choices around town, it's decent. I like their spicy sauce. I sometimes bring a pound home for later and it heats up nicely in the microwave. I'd heard about the new Rudy's coming to this part of town and also a World Market I believe. All around the Frey's on I-45 South. They certainly have improved the meats since they first opened around San Antonio. The sides are still not good though, at least I haven't found any that I like.

                      1. re: texasredtop
                        j
                        Jaymes Jun 4, 2011 08:12 AM

                        And, Doobs, Rudy's does have chicken. Have you tried it?

                        When we lived in Austin, we lived pretty close to the Rudy's on N183. Austin hasn't been exactly famous for the barbecue within its city limits, either (until Franklin's), so if we were going to eat barbecue on a regular basis, we had to pick a closer option than Taylor, Lockhart, Luling, etc. While it's true that I often drove to those Meccas, and brought home whole briskets for the freezer, the meat quality does suffer. So we went to our nearby Rudy's fairly regularly. Ditto if we had houseguests from out of state and didn't have time to drive for barbecue, we went to Rudy's.

                        No, it wasn't ambrosial. And I wouldn't have driven crosstown for it. But the brisket was pretty serviceable, and I often took a chicken or two home for dinner the following night.

                        1. re: Jaymes
                          texasredtop Jun 4, 2011 09:54 AM

                          I only remember the boneless skinless chicken breasts there or maybe that was the turkey, I don't remember. I would try a whole chicken with bone-in but not the boneless chicken. Heck, I may have tried it and just forgot. Stubbs makes a wonderful chicken marinade and I have used it many times and chicken always comes out flowing with juices and tender. But I only cook bone-in chicken. I keep several bottles of it on-hand.

                          1. re: texasredtop
                            j
                            Jaymes Jun 4, 2011 10:42 AM

                            It's been a while, so I might be recalling it incorrectly. But I think that they have boneless turkey breasts that they slice. And the chicken is cooked and served bone-in. I think it's sold in quarters, or maybe halves. It seems like the whole chicken cost around $10 or so, so it's not cheap.

                            But in those days when we lived in north Austin, I had a very demanding full-time job (actually owned a travel agency), and a hungry family to feed. So I often just stopped in places and grabbed dinner to take home, rather than cook something myself. I remember those Rudy's chickens as being pretty tasty. A definite step above the grocery store rotisserie chickens.

                            Obviously, as you say, the first and better choice is to make them yourself at home. But, although it seems counter-intuitive to say that cooking something yourself rather than buying it already prepared for you, is a luxury, sometimes that's exactly the case.

                            You know?

                            1. re: Jaymes
                              texasredtop Jun 4, 2011 11:31 AM

                              How well I now :-) Having grown children and teenage grandchildren, time is the luxury we discover as we age. In the earlier years of working and raising children (some of that alone), there just weren't many choices unless you want to eat at 9 o'clock. I rarely had the time or energy to cook during the work week. Neither of my children care, they didn't inherit my passion for cooking and good food. Guess the cajun-blood ran dry before it got to them.

                              In Austin, I remember going to a little bbq joint behind an Albertsen's on the northwest side on 290 I think. My sister lives there and we would go with her. It was good and I could eat their potato salad till the cows came home. Do you remember that place by any chance?

                              Edited to add: Just looked it up on Yahoo! Maps and I think it is Donn's BBQ. Seems to still be around and the Albertsen's is now an HEB from what I can tell.

                              1. re: texasredtop
                                j
                                Jaymes Jun 4, 2011 12:32 PM

                                When we first moved there, we lived far south. Down by the Salt Lick, actually. And then we moved pretty far north, up on the lake. I don't recall Donn's BBQ. We used to go to Smokey Mo's sometimes, in Cedar Park, in the HEB parking lot at the corner of 183 and 1431. It was really good, for your local neighborhood standby place.

                                (And TRT, we have a lot in common, I think. The next time we have a little meet-up, I hope you can make it!)

                                1. re: Jaymes
                                  texasredtop Jun 4, 2011 01:12 PM

                                  I will certainly try. But if I don't come for the food, I hope y'all won't laugh at me. Some of the things y'all eat make me cringe. Weird asian things and authentic mexican food. Ugh! Can't handle most of that - lol. Mind you, I don't have a weak stomach, frog legs are one of my most favorites dishes.

                          2. re: Jaymes
                            Lambowner Jun 5, 2011 09:18 PM

                            What is this Rudy's you speak of? I've never heard of it. It sounds suspiciously like a chain. Especially after I looked it up and found that it is, a chain.

                            1. re: Lambowner
                              DoobieWah Jun 6, 2011 04:55 AM

                              My son and I stopped at the Northwest Freeway location of Rudy's once on a whim.

                              I had never heard of it, so while I didn't know it was a chain, I was obviously aware that it is one of those "hang up a few cute signs, throw a couple of hay bales around and let's pretend we've been here for fifty years" kind of places.

                              I remember being disappointed even with my rather low expectations. Don't get me wrong, it was obviously edible as I would certainly remember more about it if it was awful. But it wasn't memorably great either. (And yes, Jaymes, I had the chicken.)

                              The search continues...

                              1. re: DoobieWah
                                j
                                James Cristinian Jun 6, 2011 12:49 PM

                                Doobs, have you been to Pierson's? They sell chicken but you must order it a day ahead, so something good must be going on. Frequent erstwhile poster Danhole used to rave about it. I asked Mr. Pierson about her last time I was there, six months or so ago, and he said he's seen her husband. I sure hope she's ok.

                                1. re: James Cristinian
                                  DoobieWah Jun 6, 2011 01:04 PM

                                  Oh yeah. I love Mr. Clarence and Miss Vanessa.

                                  His chicken is my go-to unless and until I can find a decent substitute a little closer to me.

                                  My review is on the original "I Love..." thread.

                                2. re: DoobieWah
                                  Lambowner Aug 20, 2012 08:48 AM

                                  Rudy's opened a location on I-10 in Katy at Mason Rd. and we stopped in for lunch Saturday. I had not been to a Rudy's before. I got the chopped beef (inexplicably called a spicy chopped, because it's not spicy). It was good, probably better than Goode's and very substantial. DH got the pork ribs and said one of the 4 were dry. You pick up cold sides from a fridge while in the order line. I took one look at the paragraph long list of ingredients on the top of the tiny potato salad container and it's sickly yellow color and put it back. I ended up with the green chile stew ($2.19) and beans ($1.99) for sides. They are making a fortune on the sides. The green chili stew was made with pulled pork, green chiles potatoes and tomatoes, but in the tiny foam container, it was mostly potatoes and tomatoes and it definitely needed more green chilis. The pintos were quite good. It is a testament to how hungry people are for BBQ in these parts that the giant restaurant was packed. Bonus points for the giant hand washing station outside the restrooms. Ripps Grille has one too. I like that trend.

                                  1. re: Lambowner
                                    b
                                    brucesw Aug 20, 2012 09:18 AM

                                    Thanks for the report. I never have tried Rudy's and I'm less inclined to now.

                                    Did you see Alison's report on 29-95 last week about Ray's on OST? I've noticed that place before and been meaning to try it, gets lots of good comments on Yelp.

                                    OST has been a disaster area for years but it's making a comeback and probably will continue to grow with that rail line coming down MLK from UH.

                                    I liked the point that Alison made in the article about neighborhood que; we may not have the destination type que joints of Central Texas but we have some pretty decent neighborhood joints that are worth patronizing.

                                    1. re: brucesw
                                      b
                                      brucesw Aug 31, 2012 12:27 PM

                                      Perhaps I shouldn't post after only one visit but I think Alison may have undersold Ray's. I think I may like it as much as Pierson's. I was very pleased with the ribs and sausage plate, the ribs more than the sausage - very, very meaty and moist with a 'wet' rub (I ignored the sauce that they gladly served on the side), very peppery, reminiscent of the rub used at the late Williams Smokehouse but with a bit less black pepper, perhaps. My sides weren't all that (didn't try the beans) but I found the boudin to be very good, also. I didn't think to ask if they make their own.

                                      It's probably best to avoid the place during the lunch and dinner crush; I understand it's gotten quite popular since the review. The folks are very nice, just like the Pierson's were.

                                      http://www.raysbbqshack.com/

                    2. arashall May 31, 2011 10:48 AM

                      I'm sure some of the Houston crowd will shoot me down, because this has been debated before (and will be endlessly), but I like Pizzitola's. http://pizzitolas.com It would be a bit of a drive, but I've had great ribs and brisket there. Pizzitola's is close to the Heights, one of Houston's more interesting neighborhoods to explore, if you have time. I'd not recommend Demaris. They were a frequent caterer on a project I worked on recently, but not really to par, in my opinion. Restaurant service may be better.

                      1. s
                        shallots May 27, 2011 07:15 AM

                        For a decade, Demaris just off I-10 in the Town and Country Shopping Center (now next to the toll road) was my once a week BBQ lunch. Does Demaris still exist anywhere? I can still remember the aroma.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: shallots
                          DoobieWah May 27, 2011 07:39 AM

                          http://www.demeris.com/Locations.php

                          1. re: shallots
                            n
                            N8ivtxn Jun 3, 2011 12:12 PM

                            Mentioning Demaris in a discussion about good BBQ is a total joke... seriously?

                          2. Lambowner May 26, 2011 05:52 AM

                            You will be close to The Swinging Door in Richmond, and I see no reason to go anywhere else, personally. I drive a long way for that BBQ.

                            http://www.swingingdoor.com/

                            -----
                            Swinging Door
                            3714 Fm 359 Rd, Richmond, TX 77406

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Lambowner
                              DaTulip May 26, 2011 07:28 AM

                              So true! Can't believe it didn't come to mind.

                              1. re: DaTulip
                                j
                                Jaymes May 26, 2011 08:12 AM

                                The Swinging Door is fun, but we haven't had particularly good luck with their brisket. We usually get the smoked turkey when we go there.

                                1. re: Jaymes
                                  DoobieWah May 26, 2011 09:38 AM

                                  Do they still serve RC Cola?

                            2. DaTulip May 25, 2011 08:33 PM

                              Brisket BBQ in Bellaire (www.brisketbarbq.com) wouldn't seem like destination dining, but it has always been great! Brisket of course is great & sausage is surpurb!!! Admittedly, haven't been in a while, but it was good the 7 years we lived nearby...BBQ isn't always on my mind. Luther's used to be a hot spot, but they've been bought out. Pappas Bros. BBQ has most of the locations & is still one of the better places. Another place I like (small chain) is Hickory Hollow. Seems like there are others on the fringes of my mind. Will post if I think of them. Many Houston/Texas folks enjoy BBQ at home or at a friends, not necessarily out. Sorry!

                              -----
                              Hickory Hollow
                              101 Heights Blvd, Houston, TX 77007

                              29 Replies
                              1. re: DaTulip
                                DaTulip May 25, 2011 08:43 PM

                                Okay, Guy's Meat Market near the med ctr does good BBQ....as does Schulzes in Richmond/Rosenberg. Demeris catering is also good, but not sure they have restos. Spring Creek is a chain, but does good chopped beef samies.

                                Here is a link to a Yelp post on BBQ in the Bay Area
                                http://www.yelp.com/list/best-barbequ...

                                -----
                                Spring Creek Restaurants
                                9005 Broadway St, Pearland, TX 77584

                                1. re: DaTulip
                                  j
                                  Justin L May 26, 2011 12:01 AM

                                  Thanks for the suggestions! Looks like I have options in all sorts of directions! Hopefully I'll be able to try something besides or maybe and Goode Co so my gf and I can both be happy. I'll be sure to report back! thanks again!

                                  1. re: Justin L
                                    b
                                    bornie May 26, 2011 07:00 PM

                                    not to confuse u further,, FWIW,, a terrific write up this morning in the Houston Chronicle from Katarine Shilcutt on The Brisket House on Woodway Dr. "This place will make a believer out of anyone who thought a strip mall off Woodway couldn't turn out some wicked Texas barbecue"..Apparently the pit master at Tom's, a long gone BBQ restaurant in College Station now runs The Brisket House.. This place is now on my short list....

                                    1. re: bornie
                                      DaTulip May 26, 2011 08:27 PM

                                      Oooh! Do they serve it like the old Tom's in B/CS??? On a piece of parchment paper with only a knife, 1/2 an onion, pickles, couple slices of bread, a big hunk of cheese, and a side of BBQ sauce?

                                      1. re: DaTulip
                                        b
                                        bornie May 27, 2011 03:45 AM

                                        You got it!!! ck out the thur chron!

                                      2. re: bornie
                                        Lambowner May 26, 2011 10:07 PM

                                        Katharine writes for the Houston Press:

                                        http://www.houstonpress.com/2011-05-2...

                                        1. re: bornie
                                          DoobieWah May 31, 2011 08:06 AM

                                          Mom and I went to The Brisket House yesterday, (Memorial Day) for lunch. The rest of my tiny family were pursuing their own adventures.

                                          We arrived right at noon, so the expectation was that all of the meat would be fresh from the smoker.

                                          I don't know if that's true or not, but I was very disappointed.

                                          I got the 8 oz Special with brisket and chicken, (you know me and my chicken!).

                                          The brisket, (high side, Jaymes), was a uniform gray with no smoke ring, whatsoever.

                                          The chicken was likewise dry and fairly flavorless.

                                          The cheese, onion and pickle were great though.

                                          The search continues...

                                          1. re: DoobieWah
                                            j
                                            Jaymes May 31, 2011 09:32 AM

                                            Man, that sucks. What with all that "Aggie style" hype, had big hopes.

                                            Doobs, have you ever been to the Red River BBQ & Grill in League City? As I said elsewhere, one just opened in Katy.

                                            1. re: Jaymes
                                              texasredtop May 31, 2011 10:23 AM

                                              I have had really good ribs at Brisket House but I get them with the sauce on the side. Without them being smothered in the sauce, I have found them very tasty in the past. Haven't had them in a couple of years or more though.

                                              1. re: texasredtop
                                                FarleyFlavors Jun 1, 2011 04:22 AM

                                                I thought Brisket House only opened a year back ?

                                                1. re: FarleyFlavors
                                                  texasredtop Jun 1, 2011 05:08 AM

                                                  Pappa's Brisket House has been around Houston for decades. It's a chain. Is there another one that I'm unaware of?

                                                  1. re: texasredtop
                                                    Lambowner Jun 1, 2011 05:58 AM

                                                    I think this is the one under discussion:

                                                    http://www.thebriskethouse.com/

                                                    1. re: texasredtop
                                                      DoobieWah Jun 1, 2011 06:04 AM

                                                      The Brisket House is at Woodway and Augusta.

                                                      K Shilcutt did a story in last week's Houston Press:

                                                      http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/2011/05/the_brisket_house_a_barbecue_t.php

                                                      and apparently a year ago:

                                                      http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/...

                                                      Hmm, whatsamatter K, running out of restaurants?

                                                      ;-)

                                                      1. re: texasredtop
                                                        j
                                                        James Cristinian Jun 1, 2011 06:09 AM

                                                        The original Brisket House is the one downtown by the St. Joseph Hospital. The others are just called Pappas BBQ.

                                                        1. re: James Cristinian
                                                          texasredtop Jun 1, 2011 01:59 PM

                                                          Yeah, that's the one I started eating at in the 70's when I worked downtown. I just thought that was the only one. Sorry.

                                                  2. re: Jaymes
                                                    DoobieWah Jun 1, 2011 06:08 AM

                                                    Jaymes,

                                                    I have not.

                                                    I expect a quick report on the new location from you ...

                                                    ...Soon!

                                            2. re: DaTulip
                                              j
                                              Jaymes May 26, 2011 11:54 AM

                                              DaTulip -

                                              Thanks for that link about BBQ in the Bay Area. My son lives in San Jose and has the misfortune to be forced to compare the barbecue out there to the best and most iconic of the Central Texas meat markets, which he visits every time he comes to Texas. I'll send him a copy of that link.

                                              He says that he's tried all of the 'cue out there, and that there's only one place that comes close. Unfortunately, it's a little inconvenient, to say the least. You can only get it during ski season. And you have to ride the Sierra Tahoe lift.

                                              But there are some fellers up there with a good smoker and a pile of firewood turning out low and slow barbecue the way it's supposed to be.

                                              "We've even had folks tell us it's the best barbecue in Northern California."

                                              http://www.sierraattahoe.com/node/415

                                              1. re: Jaymes
                                                j
                                                Justin L May 26, 2011 01:50 PM

                                                The yelp link has bay area bbq joints in tx?

                                                1. re: Justin L
                                                  DaTulip May 26, 2011 06:36 PM

                                                  Sorry for any confusion! Yes, it is for the Houston "Bay area" as in near Baytown...Texas.

                                                  1. re: DaTulip
                                                    j
                                                    Jaymes May 27, 2011 06:58 AM

                                                    Yeah, wow, obviously confused me. The only "Bay Area" I've ever heard referenced in that manner is the northern California one. I've never heard southeastern Texas referred to that way.

                                                    Is it common?

                                                    1. re: Jaymes
                                                      j
                                                      James Cristinian May 27, 2011 08:30 AM

                                                      There is Bay Area Boulevard down there, but I've never heard the area called that. Usually it's Clear Lake, or NASA/ Clear Lake, Kemah/Seabrook, or specific towns, like League City, San Leon, etc.

                                                      1. re: James Cristinian
                                                        j
                                                        Jaymes May 27, 2011 09:13 AM

                                                        Ah, thanks...

                                                        And interesting. When you think about it, I am sure there are lots of 'bay areas.' But the only one I've ever heard referred to that way routinely is San Francisco Bay.

                                                      2. re: Jaymes
                                                        DaTulip May 27, 2011 10:30 AM

                                                        It never occurred to me that confusion would arise on the Houston board. Again my apologies.

                                                        1. re: DaTulip
                                                          j
                                                          Jaymes May 27, 2011 10:49 AM

                                                          No apologies needed. You were absolutely right. I shouldn't be so obtuse!

                                                          Frankly, would never have occurred to me that you might be talking about barbecue in the SF Bay area, except that the OP had said that's where he's from.

                                                          But I should have thought it through more carefully.

                                                          My bad. Not yours.

                                                          1. re: Jaymes
                                                            j
                                                            James Cristinian May 27, 2011 02:17 PM

                                                            Jaymes, obtuse!!!! That reminds me of the old WKRP show where the Big Guy's mom refers to Les Nessman as obtuse, and Herb as addle minded. They both took it as a compliment. By the way, what is your favorite BBQ in Houston, not considering driving distance?

                                                            http://www.ask.com/bar?q=addle+minded...

                                                            1. re: James Cristinian
                                                              j
                                                              Jaymes May 28, 2011 10:56 AM

                                                              Honestly, I don't have a "favorite" yet. I'm trying mightily to get to a few more. There are maybe, what, a couple dozen places to try ? I've been to probably half. Most of them were okay, some pretty good, but none yet that I like enough to go to any real effort to reach.

                                                              Although again, I should point out, I'm mainly on the lookout for brisket. So while a place like Swinging Door was really fun, and the smoked turkey was great, I'm personally not a fan of their brisket. So my search continues.

                                                              Did try a new one in Katy last night: Red River Grill. Just opened a few weeks ago. Thought it was pretty good. The place had a "chain feel" - more a "Texas BBQ theme restaurant" ambiance than old German meat market that has been smoking meats for a thousand years, or East Texas-style ramshackle 'cue joint with finger-lickin' ribs and baked beans and sweet potato pie.

                                                              So I chatted up the waitress a bit. Asked if it's a chain and she said, not really, although there is one in League City. She asked if I thought two restaurants makes "a chain." Probably not, I said. Yet.

                                                              Will this be my favorite? Too early to tell. But the brisket was pretty dang good. Probably the best I've had since I moved here. And when I ordered it "off the high side," she knew exactly what I meant, and that was a very good sign. And, that's what I got. And it was delicious. However, I'm definitely planning a return trip for more investigation before I go all dewy-eyed this time.

                                                              And, DW, they do have chicken. I sat fairly close to the cash register, and a lot of folks came in and got chickens to go. They're $10.79 for a whole chicken; $6 for a half. I would have gotten one myself, but my family is away for Memorial Day (up in Lexington, actually), so I didn't want to haul home a lot of food that I can't eat up.

                                                              1. re: James Cristinian
                                                                j
                                                                Jaymes Jun 6, 2011 09:10 AM

                                                                Well, okay, JC, I've found a tentative "favorite."

                                                                Red River BBQ & Grill, out here in Katy. Yes, I'm awarding bonus points for location, since I can practically walk there, but I've been three times now, and have had a really good experience all three times. In fact, took the whole family last night and son-in-law said he thought it was outstanding and we should add it to our regular rotation. To which I happily agreed.

                                                                I've gotten the "three meat combo" each time, with brisket, sausage and pork ribs. And every time, just to my taste anyway, I've found it to be the best overall barbecue I've had since I got here.

                                                                It's not a hole-in-the-wall by any means. It's a full-service restaurant with lots of items and Shiner on tap (more bonus points). It does have something of a "chain feel," but it's not really a chain, although this is the second one (first is in League City).

                                                                http://www.redriverbbq.com/index.php

                                                                1. re: Jaymes
                                                                  Lambowner Jun 6, 2011 09:47 AM

                                                                  Knowing your passion for BBQ, you've convince me to try it!

                                                                  1. re: Lambowner
                                                                    j
                                                                    Jaymes Jun 6, 2011 01:54 PM

                                                                    Well, I ain't saying it's slap-yer-grandma good. And I'm still going to be making the trek to Luling/Lockhart every other month or so to bring back a couple of briskets for the freezer. But as far as where I'm going when I get the craving, usually around once a week or so, I'm hitting the Red River Grill, until they do me wrong.

                                                                    Recommending a barbecue place is really tricky, isn't it? It's not like saying, "Oh, go to this or that diner; they've got great pancakes." Nobody gets their panties in a wad about pancakes. But when you start talking about barbecue to folks that love it, things turn really intense really quickly. Passions flare; debaters stake out their territory. It gets personal.

                                                                    So I hope you like Red River Grill, Lambowner. I can't promise you that you will. But I can say that I definitely do.

                                              2. j
                                                Jaymes May 25, 2011 04:18 PM

                                                I haven't been in Houston for more than a couple of years, so others have more info/knowledge about the local BBQ scene than I. But I'll join James Cristinian in warning you away from Goode Co. We went there quite soon after moving here (from Austin where we filled up on Central Texas barbecue pretty regularly), and we all thought it was so bad that we didn't even take the (considerable) leftovers home, and we've got a big family that usually never turns our nose up at leftovers.

                                                As far as where to go, depending upon where in Sugarland you are, it's a straight shot and about a half-hour drive at Interstate speeds down Hwy 59 to Wharton, and Hinze's BBQ. I wouldn't put it right up there with the iconic joints in Luling, Taylor, Lexington and Lockhart, but I drive 59 down to the Mexican border fairly regularly, and I always stop there for lunch. Like I said, it's not in my personal "top tier," but pretty solidly in my second. And it might take you a lot less time to get there than it would to fight Houston traffic, as you would if you head 45 miles or so in the other direction, i.e., into town rather than away from it.

                                                http://www.hinzesbarbque.com/

                                                Also a place we tried recently that we liked is Dozier's BBQ in the little town of Fulshear. Fulshear is also west of Houston, as is Sugar Land, and, again depending upon where you are in Sugar Land, should only take you about twenty minutes or so to get there.

                                                http://doziersbbq.com/index.html

                                                You asked about the "ethical issues" with the Houston location of "Luling City Market."

                                                In Central Texas, there is a town called Luling. In Luling there is a small meat market called "City Market." It's been there for decades. They put out what everyone agrees is some of the absolute best barbecue in Texas and, therefore, the world. They, and their product, and name, and pitmasters, are legendary.

                                                So some Houston businessmen decided to trade on that name. First, they lured away one of the fellows that worked at City Market in Luling (in fact, I think he was a cousin in that family-owned enterprise), got him to divulge recipes, methods, etc., and started doing business in Houston as "Luling City Market," complete with an oil pump logo, which the town of Luling is also famous for. They have no connection with the original. They are trading on the resulting confusion, and making money off of the name, brand, reputation, and excellence produced by someone else.

                                                And of course, as these things so often go, after a while, they dumped the guy that they originally lured away. And all of this is made (in my eyes, anyway) even worse by the fact that the Houston ripoff isn't that good. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say, "I haven't been to City Market in Luling, but I've been to their location in Houston, and didn't think it was that good. It's sure not worth driving to Luling for."

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: Jaymes
                                                  j
                                                  Justin L May 25, 2011 04:37 PM

                                                  Ah I see, got ya I'll be sure to spend my money on good honest businesses. I did get a little confused if perhaps City Market in Luling and "Luling City Market" were the same branch. They didn't sucker me in!

                                                  Thanks everybody for the tips

                                                  PS. I don't want to look like a fool ordering, what's with the lingo? Fatback? wet? High cut or something? Are they asking if you want a lean cut opposed to the fatty cuts?

                                                  1. re: Justin L
                                                    j
                                                    Jaymes May 25, 2011 05:11 PM

                                                    My son lives out in the Bay Area, and does a lot of barbecuing. He tells me that it is almost impossible to get a whole, untrimmed brisket out there, so I hope you won't feel insulted if I'm telling you something you already know.

                                                    But...

                                                    If you look at a whole, untrimmed brisket, you will see that it basically has two parts. The bottom part is usually called the "flat." That's what you buy in most stores to take home and corn, or boil with cabbage, etc. And, according to my son, that's really all that's readily available out there. In fact, the flat is so common that many folks are not even aware the whole, untrimmed brisket actually includes another part.

                                                    The top part of the brisket is called many things: the deckle, the point, the fat cap, etc. It's definitely a much fattier cut than the "flat" which is also referred to as the "lean." These two sections are joined by a layer of fat.

                                                    Briskets are generally considered to be easier to smoke, and to produce a good final product, if they are smoked intact, with the fat in the deckle basting the flat.

                                                    So, different folks prefer different parts of the brisket. My father very much prefers the lean part, or flat. In a perfectly-smoked brisket, the flat will also be tender, juicy and tasty. But that's much harder to do. You're certainly hedging your bet if you order your brisket cut from the deckle, or point. And getting a nice juicy bite of that is Nirvana to some folks.

                                                    Up in Kansas City, they sell something called "burnt ends." It looked to me like that was basically the deckle, cut into bite-sized chunks, so the last time I was there, I asked a KC pitmaster and he told me that's right. So many folks up there prefer their brisket "off the high side" as well.

                                                    We usually order a little of each.

                                                    The bottom part is usually always called the same thing: "lean."

                                                    For that top part, you can say any of the following: "I want it off the high side, the point, the deckle, the fat cap, moist, wet, fatty, loose."

                                                    And, depending upon where you go, generally speaking you order it by the pound. So, in our family, depending on where we are, and how much other stuff we want (sausage, ribs, etc.), we usually try to wind up with at least a half-pound of total meat per person.

                                                    So our order goes something like "two pounds brisket off the high side, one pound of lean, one pound of ribs, and four of those hot links."

                                                    You mentioned "fatback." Don't say that.

                                                    That's something else entirely.

                                                    1. re: Jaymes
                                                      t
                                                      tlegray May 25, 2011 05:19 PM

                                                      Thanks Jaymes, what great information.

                                                      1. re: Jaymes
                                                        j
                                                        Justin L May 25, 2011 11:59 PM

                                                        Wow! no don't worry not insulted at all, I remember seeing a tv show about bbq talking about how brisket is made up of two parts. Thanks for the detailed info! I'm salivating! can't wait for the weekend.

                                                        1. re: Jaymes
                                                          DoobieWah May 26, 2011 04:52 AM

                                                          What a great succinct description Jaymes. The Visitor's Bureau should print that up and send it out with their info packets.

                                                          I knew all of that, (okay, "most" of that), but it would have taken me three times as long to say it.

                                                          1. re: DoobieWah
                                                            j
                                                            Jaymes May 26, 2011 06:36 AM

                                                            Well, thanks, guys!

                                                            Of course, now that I'm reading it over, wish I'd added another sentence or two.

                                                            To wit, that if you don't specify which part of the brisket you want, the default is lean. For one thing, there's a lot more of it. And also, folks that don't prefer the top half can get really indignant if there's a lot of fat in their portion.

                                                    2. t
                                                      tlegray May 25, 2011 04:03 PM

                                                      I don't know what part of CA your from but if your from LA, the Bay Area, or even San Diego, Pierson's may not feel like a zillion miles especially on a Saturday. I haven't made my way over to Pierson's but it comes highly recommended by Houston chows that know, James Cristinian being one of them. If you only get one chance for bbq and are willing to drive to central tx I think you might as well experience Pierson's and then let us know what you think.

                                                      but then I'm a native CA that lived in LA and would drive to San Diego for dinner

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: tlegray
                                                        j
                                                        Justin L May 25, 2011 04:33 PM

                                                        I come from the bay area so 45-60 minute commutes are quite common, looking at google maps it's about a half hour drive from sugar land to Pierson's. Then again I don't know exactly where in sugar land I'll be staying but the drive doesn't bother me. I drive about an hour into San Francisco quite regularly to get my chow on.

                                                      2. j
                                                        James Cristinian May 25, 2011 01:06 PM

                                                        I do not like Goode Co. at all, dry, flavorless meat and ribs. Pierson's is a zillion miles from Sugarland, and might be a little hard to find. I like Gaitlin's in the Heights but they have strange hours and they are in super slow motion, plus there is little room to eat there. I like Galvan's, between Richmond and Sugarland on Alternate 90. Not much atmosphere, but good brisket, have them leave the fat on. I would call ahead at any of these places to be sure they are open. As for cowboys in Texas, there are still a few in rural areas, but you won't see one in Houston, probably not even a wannabe.

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