Sunday, June 22, 2008

The best barbecue in Texas or not?

In our never-ending hunt for great barbecue, yesterday we decided to try Snow’s BBQ in Lexington. The June issue of Texas Monthly named Snow’s the best ‘cue in Texas. The joint is only open on Saturdays and only until the meat is gone. We tried going a couple of weeks ago when the magazine first came out, but thanks in part to the scenic route that Doug mapped out (I love him, but he can’t navigate) we were too late. This time, however, we were prepared. Not only did I navigate, I also called on Tuesday to pre-order our meat.

According to a recent blog update on Texas Monthly, Snow’s has increased it’s production from 300 to 800 pounds of meat on Saturday; the only way to ensure you get barbecue is to pre-order by Wednesday. The Statesman’s John Kelso wrote that the barbecue is selling out in 45 minutes and that people are coming Dallas, Houston and Laredo to taste the barbecue.

We said that we would pick up the meat at 10:15, so we left the house about 9 a.m. with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. We were looking forward to the best barbecue in Texas but were worried if they could keep up the quality when their production has almost tripled in less than a month.

It took us about an hour to get there by peaceful back roads through Elgin (FM 3000 is a cute little road). When we arrived, the place wasn’t too crowded, but it certainly had its share of confusion, like the aftermath of a natural disaster. The two ladies working the counter were explaining to people that all they had left was sausage. There was a line at the door when the restaurant opened at 8 and by 9 they were sold out. Needless to say, there were a lot of disappointed people who walked away empty-handed. While waiting for our turn, I peaked at their guest book and they had folks from as far away as San Francisco. Hmm.

Our order was already pre-wrapped to go and it took a bit to explain that we wanted to eat a bit there and then take the rest with us. Finally, we got it straight and went outside to eat and watch the pit masters. We were eager with anticipation.

Although the brisket looked dry, Doug thought it was deceptively moist and tender. I thought the pork was juicy. However, it seemed like I got the dry end of the brisket and he got the dry end of the pork so I didn’t like the brisket as much as he did and he didn’t like the pork as much as I did. We both thought the sausage was okay and the pork ribs were over done, bordering on being horrible.

On the drive home (via Taylor – another nice drive) we discussed Snow’s. Overall, we rated it okay but probably won’t be in a hurry to get back. As Doug pointed out, however, that most barbecue places have their off days and this might have been one of those. Also, it may have been that all the meat is scheduled to be ready at 8 and the extra two hours of waiting for us caused our order to dry out. It could also be that they couldn’t keep the quality up with the production increase. At some point, once the Texas Monthly hype wears down, we’ll try Snow’s again. Maybe then it will live up to being the best barbecue in Texas.

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