Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Texas BBQ

One would have to be a fool to visit Texas and not try the barbeque. I am no fool. [Oh if only that were true…]

Barbeque was among my many food requests for my visit to San Antonio. My request was granted the second day I was there with lunch at Grady’s. Such a neat place! Serving Texas style BBQ (as in vinegar, not tomato-based barbeque sauce, I think) since 1948, the room is paneled in wood with heads of things on the wall, true to type. The room is big and open and feels like a cabin in the woods. Totally perfect for a barbeque joint.

The menu is printed on a wall-sized poster in the entry way. It includes the expected standards – barbequed beef brisket, ribs, chicken, chicken fried steak (I swear I will try that one of these days, if only because of the ridiculous name), fried catfish and sausages. Once you have made up your mind of which large plate of protein you would like, you walk a bit to place your order with the cashier. There is a tin trough full of iced beer on the right. By the way Lonestar, a Texas beer, is pretty good!

The cashier hands you a beeper thingie that vibrates when your order is up. And by vibrate I mean that it can be used as a jackhammer. You wait for the order at a table of your choosing and when the time comes, you pretend not to have been scared senseless by the sudden shaking of your entire body by the beeper thingie. Not entirely unpleasant, really.

So you know how I said that I am no fool? Well, I was joking. I thought I should make some attempt to inject nutrients into my meal and ordered a side salad with my chopped brisket sandwich. Ha. This is not the place to order a salad. I knew this, and yet persevered in my quest for vegetables. Foolish me.

The portions at Grady’s lean to the side of absurdity, but then again, this is Texas. The brisket was wonderful. The sauce was vinegary and not too sweet, which so many tend to be. There were large chunks of cracked black pepper throughout, which I loved. The beef itself had tons of charred pieces lending bitterness and smokiness. Some of the meat was in chunks, but most of it was shredded. The shredded pieces were drier and almost crunchy while the chunks were soft and tender. The bottom part of the bun dissolved a bit under the barbeque sauce making a neat bread-sauce-beef all mixed together combo. Yum. I think I was eating a good 20 minutes after Anthony and Lara had finished their meals. This is in no way unusual.

Lara had the same thing I did whereas Anthony had the special – barbequed half chicken with pinto beans aaaand something else that I forgot. The chicken was really tender and not overwhelmed by the barbeque sauce – it was allowed to taste like chicken, but bettered by the sauce.

Barbeque was one of the things scratched off my “must eat in Texas” list. Next up: margaritas. Large, potent margaritas. Many margaritas.

Oh, and don't order a salad at a barbeque restaurant in Texas. Just a bit of wisdom for the day.



anthony griffiths said...

Potato salad :)

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lara griffiths said...

no salad- i agree. that may have been the first and last one they sold that day.

Rachael said...

OH my GOSH, I have to say, that "roaster" is BRILLIANT. I can only imagine how amazing it smells!

JC said...

Typically Texas barbecue does use a tomato-based sauce. The vinegar-based sauces are more commonly from the Southeast. The Southeast also sometimes has the vinegar-based cole slaw instead of mayonnaise-based, which I much prefer.