Texas Smoke, BBQ in Jefferson, NJ - My thoughts
Went here this weekend. Pulling into the parking lot I saw a smoker working right out front with sweet white smoke flowing out. This might be a good way to get people's attention as they drive past but I came here as my destination. It's in a house and walking inside I liked the decor - lots of wood! Orders are placed at a counter and I received a number card to place on my table for the server to bring my order.
When ordering, you aren't able to pick the St. Louis ribs as one of your two meats in the 1/2 lb. dinner platter. It just isn't possible I was told. I offered to pay more, maybe $2 more?, to have the ribs. The solution ended up being 1/4 lb dinner platter (with two sides) of sliced brisket and a side order of ribs. We also got wings and empanadas.
If you are like me, you want me to shut up already and get onto the smoked meats. First impression of the ribs: SMALL. Like smaller than the spare ribs in a Chinese restaurant small. The smallest St. Louis ribs I've ever had. The smoke flavor was nice and well-defined smoke rings but these were like 1/2" thick. It was pretty much just bark and smoke ring. Too much rub for me.
The brisket had no smoke rings or bark and couldn't be Texas style BBQ by any stretch from what I've encountered. I'm not convinced it saw a smoker.
Not enough fat on the brisket so I had to use sauce. They had bottles labeled regular (or original? I don't remember exactly), medium and hot. The regular tasted like something out of a bottle from the grocery store like KC Masterpiece. The medium and spicy sauces tasted the same but with hot pepper seeds. All were thick and strong and I'm sure would have overpowered the smoke taste in the ribs or any other properly smoked meat should you prefer some additional flavor from sauce, which I don't.
The wings were good but the skin wasn't crispy all around like I prefer. Empanadas were quite good and probably the best rendition of anything we tried.
Walking out, I noticed three bottles of BBQ sauce sitting on the counter, I think they were for sale. I asked if these were the sauces they used and she said yes. It looked like it was made by an independent source and the label read Texas. I didn't want to buy any.
I'll stick to Jersey Shore BBQ and Local Smoke but I'm still eager to find more BBQ in New Jersey.