Taylor Cafe

7/13/13 1:30pm - An authentic Texas BBQ Joint.  Its under a bridge and next to the railroad tracks. Cold beer, cash only and no air conditioning.  Been open since 1948 when Vencil Mares got back from WWII.  He runs the joint to this day and I was thrilled to see this Texas bbq legend.  It made Texas Monthly top 50 in 2008 and honorable mentioned in 2003.

I scored Taylor Cafe an 81 out of 100.  This is Regional Texas BBQ.

Smoke:  Post oak. Smoke in a large brick pit in the Central Texas tradition.

Brisket: Good.  1/4in smoke ring.  Barely a noticeable rub.  Was border line tough of tender.  Flavor was just smoke and beef.  Use the sauce.

Ribs:  Good.  A St Louis rib with a hint of rub.  Tough of tender.  Flavor was salty pork and smoke.  Use the sauce.

Sausage:  Good.  A course ground beef sausage in real hog casing.  The casing was a little loose.  It had strong black pepper traditional spice flavor and a descent after taste.  Not much smoke.  Use the sauce.

Sauce:  Good. A red tomato vinegar based sauce with onion and lemon flavors. 
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City Meat Market

7/13/13 9:00am - Whose says you cant have brisket for breakfast?  First stop on my BBQ crawl through central Texas.  City Meat Market has made Texas Monthly top 50 for 2008 and 2013.  Its all about the meat market heritage and mystique.  Its like stepping back in time.

I scored City Meat Market an 85 out of 100.  This is Reserve Grand Champion Texas BBQ.

Smoke:  Post oak.  One large steel box pit and one brick pit both with glowing orange fire 10 feet away from where you place your order.  There is now doubt this is some serious wood fired BBQ.

Brisket:  Good.  A 1/4in smoke ring underneath a thin bark and mild rub.  Tested tough of tender but overall flavor was good.  No sauce needed.

Ribs:  Excellent.  A flavor explosion in your mouth.  A thick salt and pepper rub over a delicious bark and near perfect tender rosy pink thin spare ribs.  The smoke, bold rub and salty pork came together in a fabulous rib experience.  These ribs alone are worth the stop.  No sauce needed at all.

Sausage:  Very Good.  Typical central Texas style loose packed beef sausage with good garlic flavor and mild aftertaste.  Casing was wrinkled and crispy.  Good smoke.  No sauce needed.

Sauce:  Very Good.  A tangy vinegar tomato based syrupy orange sauce.  You cant go wrong with a sauce like this.  It does its job well and enhanced the meat and my BBQ pleasure.

PS:  This place is special because of its historical link to our states great BBQ heritage.  The name says it all.  Its a meat market. This place still has a butcher shop in service though its seen its better days.  German and Czech butchers migrated to our great state 160 years ago and set up these meat markets.  Without refrigeration they smoked and sold the tough cuts that didn't sell. When you walk through the front door you get the feeling that nothing not much has changed for the past 100 years.
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Snow's BBQ

7/13/13 10:00am - With wife and kids out of town, finally got my chance to head to Lexington, Tx.  Snow's did not disappoint, what a great venue for Texas Barbecue!  They made Texas Monthly top 4 in 2013 and were voted No.1 in Texas Monthly 2008.

I scored Snow's a 93 out of 100.  Grand Champion Texas Barbecue without a doubt.

Smoke:  Post oak.  Several large steel barrel and box smoke monsters.  Looks like a rail yard with steam engines spewing out blue smoke.  Very primal.

Brisket:  Excellent.  An impressive 5/16in deep red smoke ring beneath fat cap and deep brown bark.  Absolute perfect tenderness.  The slice holds up until pressure applied by fork and then it falls apart.  How do they do it?  It got a perfect score.  Solid smoke flavor infused meat and rendered fat.  A subtle salt rub takes the flavor over the top and satisfaction for distance traveled.  No sauce needed at all.

Ribs:  Excellent.  A thin spare rib smoke to near tenderness perfection.  A clean bite, clean bone with crusty bark at the ends.  Rosy red through and through.  Flavor was smokey salt pork with salt and black pepper rub with some good peppery aftertaste.  No sauce needed at all.

Sausage:  Very good. Medium packed beef central Texas style link with mild traditional spice and mild aftertaste.  This link was a little dry and had nice smoke ring.  No sauce needed but it help overcome the dryness.

Sauce:  Very Good.  A tangy vinegar tomato based sauce darken with drippings and maybe a little molasses.  No sugar or sweetness, just tangy.  Had a subtle lemon flavor.  It gave everything that special flavor boost.  If you have to have sauce with your bbq, then you are in luck.  You will dip every bite in this stuff.

PS:  Part of the whole Snow's experience is its small town setting.  First of all, the staff is so friendly and happy to serve you (maybe its the one day a week schedule).  I witnessed Ms. Tootsie take half a dozen pictures with patrons.  There is outdoor seating next to the pits that the staff is more than happy to let patrons take a peek inside the smoke monsters.  I asked Kerry the owner for a container for my sauce and he scrambled to find a Gerber baby jar and filled it straight from the pot.  You couldn't find a happy bunch at a church picnic.  Next is its proximity to a livestock yard two block south.  While I was standing in line I watch trailer after trailer of steers heading to auction and couldn't help but smile knowing that for some Snow's was the end of the line.
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Louie Mueller Barbecue

7/13/13 11:30am - The hour wait was so worth it.  This is legendary Texas Hall of Fame barbecue.  For 64 years they have delivered perfection. It has made top billing in all issues of Texas Monthly.  Top 3 in 1997, Top 5 in 2003, Top 5 in 2008, and Top 4 in 2013.  Heck it has even received the James Beard award for America's Classics for you food snobs out there.

I scored Louie Muellar a 98 out of 100.  This is hall of fame Grand Champion Texas Barbecue.

Smoke:  Post oak.  A long white brick pit with large brick chimney rising through the ceiling like a Church steeple with a smoke stained Budweiser clock.  No wonder its nicknamed the "cathedral of smoke".  Steel warmer pits add to the primal spectacle.

Brisket:  Excellent.  An impressive 5/16in smoke ring beneath a thick rich black bark and salt and pepper blanket rub.  While you wait for your order, they put a burnt end sample on your tray.  It literally is an addictive bbq narcotic.  I got the fatty slices so I could get the full effect.  This was snap apart, pull apart perfect tenderness no knife or teeth needed.  Fat rendered to perfection. Smoke infused meat and fat. A flavor explosion in your mouth.  It melts in your mouth and you lick your fingers.  Thick slices that stand up! not fall apart. Do I even need to say it?  No sauce needed at all.

Ribs:  Excellent.  What ever magic they use on the brisket is transferred to the thin spare ribs.  Perfect cake soft tenderness and clean bone.  Rosy red meat through and through. Smoke pork salty goodness with nice peppery rub.  Overall flavor is incredible.  Not a tough bite on the entire rib.  No sauce needed.

Sausage:  Excellent.  After sampling several central Texas style beef links with average flavors,this was an big surprise.  I took one bite and knew I had just eaten one of the best links ever. Its a tight packed beef link with bold spice flavor, red pepper kick and a smokey red ring.  A great after taste that makes the next bite even better.  No sauce needed.

Sauce:  Good.  Was this some sort of joke?  Its like Louie from the grave says "My meat is so dang good I will put the worst sauce on the table to spite you for ever asking for sauce".  Not even sure if they were sauce.  The first one to me it was onion soup. A water brothy soup with chunks of onions.  Put peas and carrots in it and you would have vegetable soup.  Then there was this asian spicy salsa something or other thing.  It had strong ginger flavors.  The asian thingy sauce was my favorite, it really added a whole other dimension of flavor.  The onion soup was so faint in flavor it really added nothing.

PS: Tom N a fellow Yelper, meathead and stalker sat with me.  He ordered the beef rib and was nice enough to slice me a bite.  Texas Monthly got it right "its been know to induce dizziness and swooning" If food gives pleasure this stuff is orgasmic.  I cannot stop thinking about that beef rib.  It was like a smokey tender beefy BBQ pot roast on a bone.  Was is made be angels; because it was heavenly.
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Two Bros. BBQ Market

6/30/13 11:00am - A dozen patrons joined my family as we all waited for Two Bros to open up on a rainy Sunday morning.  This is the bbq that graces the cover of Daniel Vaughn's new book "The Prophets of Smoked Meat"  This joint also recently made Texas Monthly top 50.

I scored Two Bros an 89 out of 100.  This Reserve Grand Champion Texas BBQ.

Smoke: Oak.  Real Brick pit BBQ proudly on display in smokehouse located in a fabulous backyard patio playground under giant oak trees.  Bring the kids and stay long.

Brisket:  Very Good. A nice thick slice with 1/4in smoke ring beneath some serious black thick bark.  Tenderness was near perfect fall apart no knife needed.  I marked it down a point because the bark was a little tough and chewy kinda like beef jerky(yum).  I wonder how they did that, because I have never experienced a bark like this.  Intense full smoke flavor.  Overall flavor was very good and a great rub for that boost of extra yumminess.  No sauce needed at all.

Ribs:  Very Good.  I tried both the spare ribs and baby backs. The spare ribs had a serious rub and full smoke flavor.  The baby backs have as subtle cherry glaze for a nice sweetness.  Both ribs had the membrane still on the bones which irritates me so much.  Both ribs were slightly on the tough of tender side.  A little tearing and slight dirty bone.  Both ribs has full smoke flavor and great taste.  No sauce needed at all.  These ribs will not disappoint.

Sausage:  Good.  A course ground pork sausage with mild traditional spice an very little aftertaste.  The casing was tough and it was over the top greasy.  Use the sauce.

SauceS:  Very Good.  Sauces is plural because this joint has three!  The owner is some fancy chef and these sauces prove it.  One is sweet, one is tangy and one is dark and mysterious.  Get all three and have fun dipping everything in each one.  The sweet is has a honey Dijon mustardy flavor.  The tangy is an orange mustardy sauce like City Market and Salt Lick.  The dark mysterious sauce has molasses and intense coffee flavor.  Coffee is a common ingredient in bbq sauce but this is the first time its been the dominant flavor.  The sweet was my favorite.  The coffee is overpowering so use it sparingly.
PS:  These sides deserve some attention.  The mac and cheese is the best I've had and a must.  The potato salad a close second.  GRAPE KOOL AID!! Are you kidding me!  It was like I was 7 yrs old again.  I had four cups like I was 7 yrs old again.
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