Lenox Bar-B-Q


10/25/13 11:55am - When you walk through the front door, you walk straight into the kitchen.  The staff must be used to the startled look on peoples faces, as they smiled and told me its OK and pointed where to place my order.  Lenox is a catering business that serves carry out lunches week days only.  There is no dining area or even a picnic table outside.  But that does not seem to deter the hungry customers.  The parking lot was full of blue collar workers.  Men in safety yellow vests lined up to the catering office to place their order.

If take out is not an option, Lenox now caters and serves lunch a few blocks west at Medel's Ice House located at 3509 Harrisburg Blvd.  I drove my lunch over there, and enjoyed the great weather seated at their outside picnic tables wishing I had a beer but was on the clock.

I scored Lenox an 80 out of 100.  Regional Texas BBQ with 65 years of history.

Smoke:  Oak.  Three big ancient black Olyers occupy a smoke dungeon with 65 year old soot stained ceilings and walls.  A very primal experience for this meathead.

Brisket:  Good (sigh).  A respectable 1/4in pink smoke ring beneath a thin black bark.  Slice tested tough of tender which hurts the score.  Smoke was disappointingly mild.  There was a rub that was long gone in flavor.  Overall flavor was ok, use the sauce.

Ribs:  Very Good.  The spare rib was very tender with soft bite and clean bone.  I marked it down a little because it was just slightly overcooked but only a meathead could notice.  The overall flavor was great.  A slight sweetness from maybe the reduction of BBQ sauce slathered over it before it cooked.   No sauce needed.

Sausage:  Good.  Well the benefit of walking into the kitchen to place your order is there are no secrets.  Lenox serves Eckrich sausage.  HA!  I prefer handmade sausage but I don't throw stones at "grocery store" sausage.  I love to sample all different kinds.  There is nothing wrong with Eckrich, I grew up eating the stuff. Lenox however slices it up before it smokes it.  So there was good smoke flavor on this grocery store classic.  Use the sauce.

Sauce:  Good.  A thick thick mildly tangy sweet sauce with black pepper, molasses, butter and lemon flavors.  It clings and coats every bite and added a good flavor boost.  It does the job.

History: Back in the day (1949 - 1967), one of the largest caterers in the state was Leonard O'Neill. He acquired Lenox Barbecue in payment for a gambling debt.  O'Neill was a machinist by trade.  When the orders surpassed the capacity of the brick smokers, O'Neill converted a Rainbow Bread rotisserie oven into a wood fired BBQ pit.  In 1968 Hubert Olyer from Mesquite, Tx patented the same type oven (thief?) and revolutionized Texas BBQ forever.  In 1980 J&R Manufacturing bought the patent rights and began manufacturing Olyers in Mesquite Texas. The Olyer Pit uses only wood as its heat source. Temperature is maintained by automatic dampeners and fans that circulate air. Levi Goode, Pappas and Rudy's owe their success either to Hubert Olyer's theft or O'Neill's innovation.
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