Monday, June 30, 2008

BBQ Smackdown

Texas Monthly recently came out with their list of the top 50 BBQ joints in Texas; three are located in Houston. OK, fine – two plus an honorable mention. “The list” has caused quite the frenzy around town, and everyone, it seems, has brisket on the brain.

On Saturday I met 30 Houston food fanatics at Pearl Bar for a blind taste test from six local joints: Burns (rated 4.75/5 by Texas Monthly), Luling City Market, Pierson’s, Goode Co. (honorable mention in Texas Monthly), Kozy Kitchen, and the Swinging Door. Brisket and ribs and colesalw, oh my!

We all received a ballot to rank each brisket and each rib on smoke, tenderness, flavor, seasoning, and moistness. After taste-tasting all six, we ranked them in order of best to worst. The hardcore BBQ purists ate meat and meat alone. Others (myself included) added sauce and coleslaw.

And the results? Pierson & Co. won the brisket handily, and Luling City Market took the blue ribbon for ribs (narrowly beating Pierson’s). Goode Co. BBQ came in surprisingly low… but many participants were quick to note that Goode Co. is known for sausage and duck—not brisket and ribs. I’m going to go ahead and say avoid Kozy Kitchen at all costs; it ranked dead last in both categories. The brisket was leathery, and ribs were inedible. Burns BBQ ended up in 2nd place overall, and I was only moderately impressed with the Swinging Door.

Add in baked beans, roasted corn, couscous, and beer, and the afternoon was a raging success. I met the faces behind I’m Never Full, She Eats, Anonymous Eater, and I’ve Got the Munchies (who, by the way, was also headed to a wine tasting and a Tex-Mex dinner that day). And I got to stuff my face with some of Houston’s finest. I’m already looking forward to the 2nd annual BBQ Smackdown. Until then, I’m off meat.


Leigh Anne Rayburn said...

Is The Swinging Door the one that's way out in the middle of nowhere? I've heard it's the shiz but never felt like making the trek. Good to know it's only okay.

Anonymous said...

You got some good pictures! I'm still hoping other smackdowns are in the future, like a Vietnamese food smackdown or a Tex-Mex smackdown. *drool*