When I visited Dallas, Texas last week for the first time, my wonderful hosts and dear friends asked what I wanted to do during my stay. Of course, I definitely wanted to see where JFK was shot. And, oh yeah, I wanted to try some famous Texas BBQ. Little did I know that my second request was not just asking for a night out at a restaurant, but an invitation to an EVENT !!!!!!! Man, did I ever learn a lesson.
I have had barbecue before. In California, when you want to eat barbecue cuisine, you go to Famous Dave’s or Dickey’s Barbecue Pit — both well known chains that feature different meats and different barbecue sauces to enhance those meats. While visiting relatives in Kansas, another barbecue mecca, I’ve gone to a few barbecue restaurants there that had their own version of what I was used to. So, I figured Texas barbecue was again, the Lone Star State’s take on grilled meats and sauces. Boy, was I wrong.
Bev and Jerry M. took me to Hard 8 Pit Bar-B-Que. My first clue that I was in for a real ordeal was the sign by the front door explaining how to do Texas Barbecue. If you need instructions, you are not in a regular restaurant.
We entered the establishment and found ourselves among a ton of other prospective Texas Barbecue connoisseurs, all winding their way around roped off walkways. It felt like I was at an amusement park.
We finally made our way to the barbecue pit (on a Friday or Saturday night this could take 2 hours or more). The pit was a massive grill that had all kinds of meat being smoked. There was turkey, chicken, brisket, ribs, and sausage. They also had baked potatoes and corn on the cob being warmed in the smokey goodness.
We were delayed at this point; they needed to clear some room in the dining area. So we got to spend a longer than usual amount of time staring and salivating at all the meat choices. During this delay, our bodies and clothes were immersed in what I now refer to as “Texas Perfume” or in other words, that smokey haze of barbecue.
Jerry chose our meal, a combination of all there was to eat so that I could experience EVERYTHING. The barbecue attendant laid our choices on a tray to be weighed and labeled with the price tag for our dinner. You don’t pay by the entree. You pay by the pound for the meat you choose. At the cashier, you can add drinks, additional sides, one kind of barbecue sauce (sweet and tangy) and slices of good old white bread.
How do you eat Texas Barbecue? You take a slice of bread, slather it with barbecue sauce and lay your meat on top. Roll it up and dig in. All I could say after my first bite was, “Delicious.” You eat the ribs standard–off the bone. Best ribs I have ever had. For that matter, EVERYTHING was the best I have ever had.
That was my first experience with Texas Barbecue. Needless to say, barbecue will never be the same again.
Have you had the Texas Barbecue experience?