Hello Texans. I visited your great state for the first time last summer. On
this winter day in Toronto, I'm reminded of that wonderful time in Texas.
It's been unusually cold and snowy this part of the continent.
Last summer, I toured Texas, almost 2 weeks while attending SIGGRAPH, a
trade show for computer graphics, held in San Antonio that year.
Understanding that chili was the state dish and wanting to taste it where
originated (so must be better there and Texans must know all about it,
right), I initiated a discussion "Where is the best chili in Texas?".
Although cross posted to austin, dwf, sat and houston food/eats groups, I
expected only a few responses. Instead, the partcipation was quite
overwhelming. Many of you might remember.
One of the things I learned from the discussion was that there was actually
a "green" variety of chili popular in west Texas and New Mexico. I got to El
Paso but couldn't find it BTW. Many of you also noted I should try Texas
BBQ, something which I had not considered nor knew about before.
Well, here are the BBQ places I tried in various parts of Texas.
a. Sonny Brian's (the one I went to was the original location, west of
downtown, the one that looks like a shack with the school desk and chairs)
b. Bob Miller BBQ (downtown location, across from bus station)
c. some place on the Riverwalk near Planet Hollywood specializing in BBQ,
forgot name of it
d. The Salt Lick in Driftwood
Note these are all popular restaurants in their respective cities. Houston
did not seem to have a high profile BBQ restaurant - correct me if I missed
something. Some of you recommended restaurants in Driftwood and Lockhard but
made no mention of other cities - seems for good reason (read on). I found
the others on my own.
By far, the best was Salt Lick. It was hard to find (I drove right by it the
first time) but definately turned out to be worth the effort to get there. I
had a sliced beef, ribs and sausage combo plate to try out as many of the
items as possible. The tasty meat melts in your mouth. That sauce is so
rich, thick and flavourful!. The generous portions of side dishes like
pickles and onions are simple but a very nice compliment to the main. The
rustic atmosphere, including the stone BBQ where the cooking is done, adds
to the charm.
It's my understanding there are a few more excellent ones like Kreuze's
Market in another nearby town. Too bad I didn't have the opportunity to get
to them that time. There were a few places right in Austin but the people in
these newsgroups said to go to Driftwood and Lockhart. Austin and Hill
Country was the last area I visited. So the last restaruant I tried was The
Salt Lick. Almost didn't go because of diminished enthusiasm about Texas BBQ
by the end of my trip. Why the reluctance?
Sonny Brian - the beef was flavourless. I had ribs and sliced beef. It
resembles meat that has been boiling for hours with all the juices leached
out. Then this sauce that resembles ketchup is poured on. Bob Miller - the
sauce also resembled ketchup and even more runny. The meat (think I had the
chicken, beef slices and ribs combo) was more flavourful though than
Sonny's. I ordered ribs only at the expensive Riverwalk place. They came
nearly cold and only somewhat tender/flavrourful.
So the thing that puzzles me is why is the best Texas BBQ clustered around
Austin and in small towns.
- Richard Lee
>Last summer, I toured Texas, almost 2 weeks
>So the thing that puzzles me is why is the best Texas BBQ clustered around
>Austin and in small towns.
>- Richard Lee
Dickie - You have a number of misconceptions. First, `chili' is not a Texas
dish. It probably got its' big boost from railroad restaurants, as a winter time
dish. It is encountered all across the country. There are as many recipes for
`chili as there are cooks brewing a pot of chili. Finals each year are held in
far West Texas Terlingua. You can read an amusing account of the first in a book
by H. Allen Smith - The Great Terlingua Chili Cook-off (or something like that).
Barbecue is an old ranch dish, originally served at special events. Oldest
barbecuers in the world are said to be the Chinese? You got the usual tourist
introduction to barbecue - Lockhart, Austin, etc. Almost every city in Texas has
a barbecue stand. Bigger cities have many more. AfroAmericans often have a
`touch' when it comes to barbecuing. A large barbecue cook-off is in progress
even as we speak at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, with many elaborate
entries - a three day event. There is excellent barbecue and chili to be had in
Houston, and many competitions for cooks - but to tell you the truth, many of us
are kind of burned out on the whole farce. Barbecue and chili are `braggin'
dishes', ie. everybody has their own personal favorite which has to be `the
greatest on earth'. It's all hype, in the same vein as Toronto claiming the
tallest structure in America for some stupid television tower - who cares? So
if you sampled some chili and barbecue and didn't get sick, that's all there is.
FYI, roachie is a well known net.kook who infests the local Texas groups.
Laugh at him or just ignore him. Everyone else does.
Oh, I'm not offended by him. I remember him from last last summer when he
referred to me as "Dick" and called my questions "tender footed" whatever
that means. In fact, despite his unusual mannerism, he's quite informative.
- Richard Lee
b: It's Bill Miller's, and it sucks big time.
c: That would be County Line BBQ.
Both have locations in Austin as well. When in San Antonio, try Bob's
Smokehouse. All family owned, and they have 3 locations. Not too bad... The
sausage is pretty bad though.
With a sample size of 4, you have drawn a fallacious conclusion, given the
fact that there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of BBQ joints in
BILL Millers BBQ is a chain. Not known for terribly good BBQ, but the food
is cheap, relatively wholesome, and fairly consistent (if mediocre). It's
also about the only BBQ chain in San Antonio, which is a city more known for
its Tex Mex than BBQ. Bill Millers' original location was about a mile
from where I grew up in SA. There was a little hole in the wall joint a
couple of miles south which had much better BBQ and especially ribs.
Sonny Brian's is also a chain. When it was a single location the food was
much better. Now that there are 20-some odd locations, the food has gone
downhill. How you can compare Sonny's sauce to Bill Millers', however, is
beyond me. The best thing about Sonny's is the sauce. The meat, as you
state, is pretty generic.
Salt Lick, on the other hand, is a central Texas original, not a chain. Had
you sampled, say, the Austin area chain of Poke-E-Jo's instead of the Salt
Lick, you could easily have drawn the conclusion that there was NO good BBQ
in the state given your sampling method.
I'd take the Iron Works over Salt Lick, but that's personal preference.
In Houston, Goode Company Barbecue on Kirby near U.S. 59, is popular, though
I can't recall being overwhelmed. Clyde Drexler's folks used to, and may
still, run a barbecue place somewhere east of downtown around the Ship
Fort Worth legends not mentioned: Angelo's and Railhead.
For what it's worth, chili was proclaimed the "Texas state dish" by the 65th
Texas Legislature in 1977. Doesn't mean that much - there are plenty of
other such designations - http://www.texasalmanac.com/flags.htm and many other
Marc Stephenson IBM Server Group - Austin,TX
Junior, your reference to German immigrants is noted. Can you tell me the names
of great barbecue restaurants in Germany -- on second thought just one, any
single even mediocre barbecue restaurant, cafe, or joint in the entire country?
Throw in France -- just a single place? Er... why don't we throw in all of
Europe and the British Isles with the exception of Spain and Middle East?
Marc - The Mocking Bird is the State Bird of Texas, but it will shock you so see
a map of the distribution of mocking birds in North America. On the other hand,
if you want to see something reasonably unique, view the blooming of the Blue
Bonnets for a brief period in the spring when they carpet vast stretches of
landscape in blue.
I've yet to visit a State when `chili' was not served here and there. It is
served in NYC and LA, San Francisco to Miami. Actually _chili_ is just the name
of a spicy vegetable that comes in many shapes and `heats; The dish was once
called chili con carne, now shortened to chili, and was just another method of
making some cuts of meat more palatable, the same as fajites (carne asada) the
closer you approach Mexico. Steaks weren't wasted on peons.
You're a nice guy so I'll let you in on another secret - the greatest steaks in
the world come from Midwestern States where calves are sent to fatten before
going to market in places like Omaha, Kansas City, and Chicago.
-->Subject: Any reason(s) why all best BBQ beef near Austin? -or- Review of
-->Popular Texas BBQ Restaurants in Several Cities by an Out of State
-->Visitor -or- Where is the best chili in Texas (The Sequel).
-->Well, here are the BBQ places I tried in various parts of Texas.
-->a. Sonny Brian's (the one I went to was the original location, west of
-->downtown, the one that looks like a shack with the school desk and chairs)
-->b. Bob Miller BBQ (downtown location, across from bus station)
Thats Bill Miller's, and it is hot regarded very highly around these parts by
afficionado's. -- its more of a fast food lower quality place. Certainly not an
example for judging texas beef bbq!! Its a chain with units also in Austin.
-->c. some place on the Riverwalk near Planet Hollywood specializing in BBQ,
-->forgot name of it
-->d. The Salt Lick in Driftwood
-->Note these are all popular restaurants in their respective cities. Houston
-->did not seem to have a high profile BBQ restaurant - correct me if I missed
Goodes' is fairly famous in Houston,, but Im sure there most be far better local
-->By far, the best was Salt Lick. It was hard to find (I drove right by it the
-->first time) but definately turned out to be worth the effort to get there. I
-->had a sliced beef, ribs and sausage combo plate to try out as many of the
-->items as possible. The tasty meat melts in your mouth. That sauce is so
-->rich, thick and flavourful!. The generous portions of side dishes like
-->pickles and onions are simple but a very nice compliment to the main. The
-->rustic atmosphere, including the stone BBQ where the cooking is done, adds
-->to the charm.
-->It's my understanding there are a few more excellent ones like Kreuze's
-->Market in another nearby town.
Kruez's and Blacks in Lockhart are excellent
Just a few others include SouthSide Market and Elgin Hot Suasage in Elgin, Tx.
-->. I ordered ribs only at the expensive Riverwalk place. They came
-->nearly cold and only somewhat tender/flavrourful.
The San Antonio Riverwalk can be a bit overhyped as a major league tourist
attraction, tho there are some standouts there like Mi Tiera
-->So the thing that puzzles me is why is the best Texas BBQ clustered around
-->Austin and in small towns.
Again, it is more or less THE epicenter.
Hope this helps some.
-->>>So the thing that puzzles me is why is the best Texas BBQ clustered around
-->>>Austin and in small towns.
-->For what it's worth, chili was proclaimed the "Texas state dish" by the 65th
-->Texas Legislature in 1977. Doesn't mean that much - there are plenty of
-->other such designations - http://www.texasalmanac.com/flags.htm and many
> Junior, your reference to German immigrants is noted. Can you tell me the
There is the barbequed sausages in addition to the briskets and so forth.
Isn't frying or baking the traditional preparation method? So something from
the old world was given a new twist and made, in some people's minds,
better. That's the great thing about America (and Canada).
If we follow Mr. Roach's logic, a geographic region is not allowed to be
known for a particular cuisine if said cuisine can be found anywhere else
outside that region. So, Philly should not be known for its cheesesteaks.
Chicago should not be known for deep dish pizzas. Boston should not be
known for clam chowder. And heck, I guess Texas should not be known for its
Tex-Mex. This is clear because Mr. Roach could find these foods served
"here and there...in NYC and LA, San Francisco to Miami."
>Actually not..."chile" is the name of the "spicy vegetable that comes
>in many shapes and heats"...peppers. "Chili" is the name of the
>combination of spicy "broth" and meat.
I should have mentioned Marc that everyone has a personal definition of `chili',
capitalized or not. It is applied by the Spanish to many members of the pepper
family. Any `broth' found in chili comes from the carne (meat) and inexperience
in preparing chili con carne if it remains as `broth' when the dish is served.
One of the peculiarities of this dish served steaming hot with hot chilies added
is that the cook-offs in Texas are generally held in the hottest season of the
year for this quintessential cold weather dish. A bit akin to `cooling off' with
a steaming hot shower.
>Certain regions just have the best of certain things (philly for cheese steak,
>chicago for deep dish pizza, etc etc).
>For Beef BBQ, the epicenter is probably Lockhart followed by Elgin, both very
>close to Austin, which also boasts several fine Beef BBQ joints. (I emphazise
>beef, cuz for pork bbq, memphis and north carolina are more the centers).
Hell hath no fury like a prejudiced Texan faced with the truth. The original
Anglo settlers on Spanish Land Grants prized pork in their central diet meat
since it provided more calories. They were introduced to beef barbecuing by the
native rancheros who drove cattle on their spreads.
>The State also officially designated Lockhart the BBQ capital of Texas.
And Pappy O'Daniels the official biscuit baker of Texas (with Light Crust
Flour)? They probably wanted to designate an Oil capital of Texas but the
fields just kept spreading, so they ended up with Houston as the Oil `Business'
capital of Texas. Also the Refining, Marine Commerce, Medical capitals. The
National Aeronautics & Space Agency capital. ...etc. ...etc.
>There is the barbequed sausages in addition to the briskets and so forth.
>Isn't frying or baking the traditional preparation method? So something from
>the old world was given a new twist and made, in some people's minds,
>better. That's the great thing about America (and Canada).
Still waiting for the name of just one middle European barbecue restaurant.
There are many great things about America and even a few about Canada.
But I have to admit, i can't think of much from the old world given a new twist
except individual liberty and private enterprise.
>Real BBQ is smoked...the typical brisket can take anywhere from 10 -
>12 hours, depending on its weight. The Germans and Czechs have been
>smoking meats as a means of preservation for centuries (as I'm sure
>other cultures did) before they came to the U.S and central Texas.
>Many of those Germans and Czechs became butchers after immigrating, so
>it was a natural for them to continue the tradition of smoking meats
>here...not so much for the sake of preservation as for taste and
>rendering tough cuts of beef (such as brisket) edible.
Sorry pardner, barbecuing is not a method of `preserving meat'. And has no
definite link to smoking though this can be a bi-product of barbecuing in
> Still waiting for the name of just one middle European barbecue
Potrefena husa (The Wounded Goose)
Prague 2-Nove Mesto.
Tel. 224 918 691.
Continental / International
(The Wounded Goose) A Czech pub a la Soho. Stylish and friendly with good,
hearty food. Very crowded; reservations a must. Recommended: sticky
barbecued pork ribs, soups in bread bowls. Open daily 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m.
AmEx, Euro/MC, Visa.
"Gregory Morrow" <grege...@att.net> wrote in message
1 - For restaurants, they can't charge as much for chili as they can for BBQ and
probably has a lower profit margin.
2 - Everyone makes chilli at home, not everyone makes true slow smoked BBQ at
On Tue, 25 Feb 2003 03:46:01 GMT, "Richard Lee" <REMOVE_...@involv.com>
-->Let's not get too carried away with the Chili sub-thread. I think that huge
-->discussion last summer resulting from my first post in these TX food groups
-->is enough for a year! On to the BBQ.
>Potrefena husa (The Wounded Goose)
>Prague 2-Nove Mesto.
>Tel. 224 918 691.
>Continental / International
>(The Wounded Goose) A Czech pub a la Soho. Stylish and friendly with good,
>hearty food. Very crowded; reservations a must. Recommended: sticky
>barbecued pork ribs, soups in bread bowls. Open daily 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m.
>AmEx, Euro/MC, Visa.
Poland is in eastern Europe, no longer a part of the German-French socialist
axis. Folks in central Texas generally claim Czech or German heritage.
>Just did a quick check on Google and they have 114,000 listings in Europe.
>Or course, America hasl 128,000 listings.
Not places where they toast, broil,t or boil sausage, Gleno, just 1 barbecue
restaurant. It's simple, a place where they cook beef, pork, chicken, sausage
over an open fire or hot coals in a pit. They don't even have to have beans or
Sorry JLH, that in Columbus Texas.
>On Tue, 25 Feb 2003 00:31:16 GMT, vonroach <vonr...@earthlink.net>
>>On Mon, 24 Feb 2003 18:39:56 GMT, GoodSoldierSvejk <Sv...@zachod.com> wrote:
>>>Actually not..."chile" is the name of the "spicy vegetable that comes
>>>in many shapes and heats"...peppers. "Chili" is the name of the
>>>combination of spicy "broth" and meat.
>>I should have mentioned Marc that everyone has a personal definition of `chili',
>>capitalized or not.
>It not just the capitalization; it's the *spelling*. They are two
>different words - note that the vegetable ends in an "E", not an "I".
Steverino, sorry to have to correct you, but `chile' is listed in dictionaries
as a variant of chili. Chile is a country on the southwestern coast of South
America. But be real, everybody understands what `chili' (var. chile) is.
>That is OK he goes around confused about his opinions
>being correct. The one about hot food, cold weather is
>off the mark too, as most screaming hot dishes are hot
>climate dishes, the peppers and spices facilitating the
>loss of heat from the skin.
How absurd. Generally wise folks don't eat a lot period when the weather gets
very hot. You must belong to the air conditioning generation.
>They promote sweating and a cooling effect on the skin; mandatory in
>some (most) SE asian countries/cuisines. Same as a hot shower on a
>hot day (his other example).
Steverino, you should write a scientific paper and explain this to the folks
that still treat people overcome by heat with an old-fashioned ice bath. How
have you measured skin temperature while eating peppers and taking hot showers
to draw your conclusions? And measured fluid loss from evaporation from the skin
(aka know as insensitive loss)? All this should be very interesting and useful
to people who deal with these problems day in and day out.
>2 - Everyone makes chilli at home, not everyone makes true slow smoked BBQ at
Like I said, JLH, everyone has their own personal definition of what `barbecue'
is. You suggest it is _only true_ if cooked `slowly' and `smoked' at home. How
slowly? How smoked? Most serious beef barbecuers have a specific range of meat
temperature measured with a meat thermometer and a time based on experience and
the size of the cut being barbecued. Also weather and particularly humidity is a
factor. The `smoking' is accomplished by any one of several different methods.
The sauce and the method of basting are considered important. Then there is also
the method often favored in Louisiana using a Chinese or Cajun box. Others favor
a good supply of cold beer and letting nature take its course. All pretty
confusing to the novice barbecuer, without even getting into secret additives to
sauce and injecting the meat. Type of wood used to start the bed of coals is
also considered very important by purists - not just any old mixture of
mesquite, oak, hickory, etc. All this without getting into the proper
construction of the pit which may supply direct or indirect heat using a spit or
grill. Plus remember it is illegal on a balcony above the ground floor in
Houston unless some high rise restaurant has bribed somebody. Last tip - if
attempted on the beach, less salt is usually needed and that gritty sensation is
If we ever finish with beef, we can move on to chicken or fish, etc. which tend
to be even more challenging.
>>Just did a quick check on Google and they have 114,000 listings in Europe.
>>Or course, America hasl 128,000 listings.
> Not places where they toast, broil,t or boil sausage, Gleno, just 1
> barbecue restaurant. It's simple, a place where they cook beef,
> pork, chicken, sausage over an open fire or hot coals in a pit. They
> don't even have to have beans or potato salad.
Dude, cooking "over an open fire" is grilling, not barbecuing. BBQ
requires indirect heat and lots of smoke. Silly yankee definitions of
"having a BBQ" don't count....
Steve Tate - srt[At]cs.unt.edu | "A computer lets you make more mistakes faster
Dept. of Computer Sciences | than any invention in human history with the
University of North Texas | possible exceptions of handguns and tequila."
Denton, TX 76201 | -- Mitch Ratliffe, April 1992
FYI chile peppers, sweet potatoes, avocadoes, tomatoes, chocolate,
peanuts and vanilla were unknown outside of America before Columbus.
Your spin makes no sense. The only thing in common in these coutries
that you have named is the severe depletion of their forests and
depeltion of hardwoods.
Jeremy Goodwin wrote:
> You really have very little experience outside your own
> roach motel, please resist the temptation to sound as
> though you have any idea how the rest of the world eats
> until you have at least visited part of it. For once I
> will take pity on your youth and ignorance, and help you
> learn something about hot food. Most of the countries in
> which I have eaten spicy hot food are tropical and sub
> tropical, including but not limited to; Thailand, New
> Guinea, Indonesia, Gambia, Senegal, Spain, Morocco,
> India, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Brunei,
> Mexico, Panama, Belize, Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua,
> Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Guyana,
> The purpose being often to facilitate cooling during the
> hottest part of the day, allowing the person to sleep in
> ambient temperatures exceeding blood normal.
An idea that I had about "spicy" foods in hot climates was that the meat
spoiled more quickly in those environments so the spices were used at least
in part to mask the taste of the spoilage. Just an idea - not necessarily
endorsed by culinary anthropologists.
Marc Stephenson IBM Server Group - Austin,TX
I gave you 114,000, with onions.... I'll bet there are a lot more of them
that only grill meat. Cooking over an open fire with or without hot coals
is called grilling, not barbecueing. In Dillenburg Germany they have 47 BBQ
eateries listed. Of course they probably don't serve onions and tator
I wasn't referring to people who are in dire need of medical attention
from being too hot.
Judging from your comments in these threads, you have a habit of
every comment out of proportion, not to mention your long diatribes
nothing in particluar.
Keep up the trolling. I'm plonking this thread because once you get
involved, its just not worth reading.
In the meantime, I suggest you go over to alt.food.barbecue and
to them some of your theories about BBQ.