Demeris Bar-B-Q

3/17/14 12:51pm - This is classic Houston BBQ which is a metaphor for mediocre.  I have lived in this fair city for 20 plus years and over that time I have had a few plates of Demeris barbecue either at their Shepard location or catered events.  I proclaim it classic Houston BBQ because I have eaten this same bland plate of roasted meats covered in sauce all over Houston for the last 20 years. Demeris is one of the big names in Houston BBQ.  They have been around since 1964 so they are part of the blame for 4 lost Houston decades of serving this sauce covered roast beef. This is a new location but actually a relocation from a strip center that was torn down for the Hwy 290 expansion.

I scored Demeris a 70 out of 100.  This is classic Houston Bum Steer BBQ.

Smoke:  Hickory.  At this location the smoker is walled off like Fort Knox.  There is a smoke stack (been fooled before) but not a stack of wood in sight.  The smoker is not visible from the cafeteria line.  I know that JR Manufacturing lists Demeris as a client. Wood or Gasser? Who knows.  I trust JR so I'll go with wood fired which makes this plate of BBQ even more sad.

Brisket:  Fair.  1/8 in smoke ring beneath a paper thin bark (gasser?).  Mild faint smoke.  Tested tough of tender.  No detectable rub flavor.  Its a slice of roast beef.  Use the sauce.

Ribs:  Fair.  Get the toothpicks.  This spare rib was chewy tough.  Lots a tearing and dirty bone.  Mild faint smoke.  No detectable rub left.  Use the sauce.

Sausage:  Fair.  A course ground beef link with herb seasoning.  It was like combining Central Texas, East Texas and Czech.  It did not work.  It was very dry.  No after taste.  Little smoke.  Use the sauce.

Sauce:  Good.  A thick tomato base mild sweet sauce.  It was buttery.  It was served warm and developed a skin like queso cheese.  Nice.  Everything thing here needs sauce so just have them drown the plate.
Demeris Bar-B-Q- West Loop on Urbanspoon

Spring Creek Barbeque

3/13/14 1:16pm - I did not have a lot of time for lunch, so I decided to hit up on some franchise BBQ places I have been avoiding.  As I was going through the cafeteria style line it felt a lot like Luby's. The jello next to the cash register confirmed my deja vu.  The Barbecue Fiend blog also confirmed my out of Luby's body experience as he wrote about the very same.  Luby's meets Texas BBQ.  With 31 locations across Texas this chain is huge.

I scored Spring Creek BBQ a 76 out of 100.  This is Regional Texas BBQ.

Smoke:  Hickory.  As I walked up to the front door, I got excited when I spotted two large smoke stacks. However, inside were two large black steel cladded Ole Hickorys on full display.  We use gas and we're proud of it!  Oh well as least you know what your getting.

Brisket:  Good.  Standard gasser 1/8in smoke ring beneath a paper thin bark.  Spring Creek definitely understands how important tenderness is for good BBQ.  My slices were near perfect tender.  No knife needed. Smoke was mild to faint.  No noticeable rub.  Use the sauce.

Ribs:  Very Good. Once again near perfect tenderness but slightly on the overcooked side.  Soft cake bite with clean bone.  They throw the rack on a grill for a nice char flavor.  There was a faint rub seasoning. I liked these ribs.  No sauce needed.

Sausage:  Poor.  I just don't like this style of sausage and its not Texas style sausage.  A very fine ground pork link with no traditional spice just salt.  No after taste unless salt counts.  Its greasy bologna.  Use the sauce or skip all together.

Sauce:  Excellent.  They sell this stuff by the jar and I bet sales are good.  A very sweet tomato based sauce with a little bit of smokiness.  This stuff was so good I dipped my fresh baked yeast roll in it. I thought about buying a jar but knew the wife would comment about the 6 other bottles of unopened sauce.

Spring Creek Barbeque on Urbanspoon

Country Bumpkins

3/7/14 11:39am - You know how I complain that Houston is a BBQ desert.  Well Northwest Houston/ Harris county literally is a BBQ desert.  Good luck finding a BBQ lunch without driving 10 miles.  And good luck finding real pit BBQ.  Good news, I just found the oasis.  A Ma and Pop joint serving great barbecue and burgers with a lot of charm and a smile.  Everyone was so friendly I thought it was Sunday morning instead of Friday afternoon.

I scored Country Bumpkins a 78 out of 100.  This is regional Texas BBQ.

Smoke: Oak.  A double secret steel barrel pit for real slow smoke wood fired BBQ.  I say double secret because I was denied a picture.  But I did spy a screened in smoke house in the back.  Maybe after reading my post they'll send me a picture so I can testify and share the real pit glory.

Brisket:  Good.  A great seasoned bark over a 1/8 in smoke ring.  It tested tough of tender but had great smoke flavor.  Sliced with the fat cap so you get a little indulgence of the smokey goodness.  No sauce needed.

Ribs:  Fair.  This rib had all the markings a great spare rib but it was little tough.  The seasoned rub was flavorful and it had great smoke flavor.  However, the bite required tearing and left a dirty bone.  No sauce needed but a toothpick is a must.

Sausage:  Good.  A fine ground pork link with mild traditional seasoning and little aftertaste.  Good smoke and tight casing.  A little greasy.  No sauce needed.

Sauce:  Good.  A simple tangy thick tomato and vinegar sauce.

PS: They have a great line up of burgers like their Bumpkin burger and Ring of Fire. They also serve brisket tacos.  They have hand cut fries and homemade peach cobbler.  The only thing missing is cold beer.

Country Bumpkin's on Urbanspoon

Stockyard Saloon

3/1/14 2:00pm World Championship BBQ Cookoff - This is the 3rd year for Stockyard Saloon.  It is hosted by the Steer Auction Committee.  This is my rookie year on the committee.  The Chairman Sam Ayers has put together a first class booth. Overhead are three elk horn chandeliers, underfoot is a decked and carpeted floor and real auction steer hides adorn the walls and tables.  The cook team might as well be professional caterers not only serving up fabulous Texas BBQ but also steak and quail. Three full time bartenders keep the spirits flowing.  This years live entertainment was none other than country artists Rick Trevino and Dough Supernaw.  Stockyard Saloon is a real first class experience.  My wife is now spoiled and I can no longer take her to any of my friends booths.
I scored Stockyard Saloon a 93 out of 100. This is Grand Champion Texas BBQ

Smoke: Post Oak dry and seasoned.  A monster goose neck trailer mounted black steel barrel mounted smoker with a fire box as big as a refrigerator.  A primal sight for these eyes.

Brisket:  Superior Excellent.  A big bright red 3/8 inch smoke ring beneath a black crust.  That is a rare sight. The slice tested perfect tender, very moist and fat render to silky goodness.  No knife needed.  Bold smoke flavor and a great seasoned rub.  With willful purpose, I was on the serving line the day they submitted their meats for the contest.  I made sure to hand pick out the burnt ends for myself.  No sauce needed at all.

Ribs:  Excellent.  Large meaty spare ribs cooked to fall off the bone perfection.  So tender and moist, most bites were as soft as cake.  A delightful rub really made these ribs stand out.  I am sure its well guarded secret so why ask.  Rosy pink and full smoke flavor.  They did not last long.  They went so fast, I have no picture of them.  No sauce needed.

Sausage:  Good.  Small 6 inch link course ground pork sausage with mild traditional spice and a faint after taste.  Casing was snappy and smokey.  They were a little greasy for me.  Use the sauce.

Sauce:  Very Good.  A thick ketchupy sweet sauce with chunks of onions.  Lots of flavor and was good by the spoonful.  This stuff could make the asphalt taste better.  So not needed and hated to see so many patrons drown their meats.  Get on the side people!