Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Review of Rudy's BBQ (Round Rock, TX)  

Rudy's BBQ Website, Facebook, & Twitter 

While running errands for my wife today I decided to pick up dinner from Rudy’s. I was craving BBQ and I realized I haven’t actually reviewed them yet. 
(Al's comment: Craving for BBQ? Didn't you just go to the Houston BBQ Festival this weekend? I'd call withdrawal pains from being in a meat coma.)

Rudy’s is the quintessential gas station BBQ in Central Texas. They offer a wide variety of products and are known for consistency. They also offer breakfast tacos.  

I decided to pick up a selection, and got moist brisket, pork loin, St Louis Ribs, Pork Ribs, turkey, and prime rib. I take all this home and sample.  

Brisket: The brisket is moist and reasonably tender. There’s a decent bark on it. It has  good amount of smoke flavor, but there’s an aftertaste that I’m not fond of that is almost metallic in nature. I’ll call it 6.0/10.  

Pork Rib: The rib has a good crust but is a touch tough. Like the brisket, it has a good smoke flavor, but again has that metallic aftertaste. Call it 6.0/10.  

Pork Loin: The pork loin is tender, but a touch dry. It has a good flavor however, and a decent crust. It also does not have that weird aftertaste. It’s pretty good actually. Call it 7.0/10.  

Turkey: The turkey is also tender but a touch dry, It has a nice flavor as well. Again, call it 7.0/10.  

Prime Rib: I got an end piece, which will tell me a lot about the flavor and less about the quality. It’s a touch tough even for an end, but has  good flavor. Lots of pepper and a light smoke flavor. Call it 7.0/10.  

St. Louis Rib: Smaller than their pork rib and bigger than a baby back, this is reasonably tender and juicy. It has no crust to speak of, and a mild flavor. Call it 7.0/10.  

I do owe Rudy’s a bit of an apology. They are a bit better than I expected, with 4 items in the 7 range. Honestly, if they weren’t in the business of making sure they had product set hours, they might actually be able to move into the exceptional range.  

Is it worth a visit? Yes. It’s a perfectly fine place to pick up lunch or dinner.  

Is it worth a trip? Not quite. They need just a little work on their items.

(Scott's comment: Did your drink the sauce??)


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Going to Festival #2: 4th Annual Houston BBQ Festival (Houston, TX)
BBQ Festival's Website, Facebook, & Twitter
My friend Loni and I went to the 4th Annual Houston BBQ festival this past Sunday. There were a lot of top notch BBQ joints there. We ended up sampling about 22 of the 26 places there before the meat coma kicked in. Could we have done all 26? Maybe, but I did have to drive back to Austin that evening and we’d already had enough road adventures…
Lots of good music. I also got to meet the most excellent BBQ Bryan! There was also an excellent shirt that I need to get for my wife (I swear I was looking at the shirt, not the girl).
Still trying to figure out a good format for these. Do I talk about each place individually? Break them into categories? Some combination of the two?
I’m, sticking with the combination for the moment. As always, I acknowledge that these places are not at their normal location. This is how they did at the festival, NOT how they might normally do… And as usual I’m not rating jalapeno items. I also didn’t try all items from all places.
I’m breaking this into three categories:
Awesome: Not only would this item be worth a trip, but it was exception even then. Definitely a 9.5 or 10.
Exceptional: This item was definitely worth a trip (and remember, a trip is 60 miles one way just for the BBQ).
Very Good: This item is definitely good, and the place seems worth visiting, but I’m not quite willing to drive 60 miles one way just for it…
Nothing scored below very good. All items are listed in the order tried. (Linkified for reference) 
Louie Mueller's
Awesome Items: 
Tin Roof:  Smoked Sirloin
Brook’s Place: Ox Tail and Onion Bomb
Blake’s: Pork Sausage
Pizzolita’s: Pork Rib
Corkscrew: Turkey
Tejas Chocolate: Carrot Soufle and Chocolate Panna Cotta
Pinkerton’s: Hot Boudin
Blood Brothers: Beef Belly and Short Rib
Pappa Charlies: Prime Rib, Brisket, Pulled Pork
Louie Mueller: Beef Rib

Excellent Items:  
Tin Roof: Pork rib and brisket taco
Lenox: Pork Rib
Pizzitolas: Pulled Pork
SouthSide: Original Sausage
Corkscrew: Brisket
Brisket House: Pork Rib
El Burro and the Bull: Smoked Pork Tamlito
Tejas Chocolate: Brisket
Pinkerton’s: Smoked Alligator, Brisket
Jackson Street BBQ: Venison Sausage
BBQ Godfather: Brisket
Very Good Items :  
Lenox: Brisket
Blakes: Brisket
Pizzitolas: Chopped Beef
Southside: Brisket
Brisket House: Brisket
Gerardos: Brisket Tacos and Pork Tacos
Fainmous: Brisket
Wooden Spoke: Brisket Slider
BBQ Godfather: Turkey
Pappa Charlies: Sausage
Let’s be clear, these are all subjective. With few exceptions, the difference between categories is usually a question of taste preference. I definitely want to try any of these places that I haven’t tried before.
Some items that stood out:
The smoked alligator at Pinkerton’s was definitely unusual and very tasty (as was their Boudin). Blood Brother’s had an awesome beef belly that was delicious!
Tin Roof’s smoked sirloin was as tender as brisket but still had that sirloin flavor (with appropriate smokiness).
The Ox Tail from Brook's was tender and delicious.
And Loni liked the sausage from Blake’s so much that I think she got thirds.…
Thanks again to @HouBBQ for throwing a great festival, and to all the great places who participated. Definitely looking forward to going again next year!