Magnolia Brewery's new Smokestack BBQ in Dogpatch is open for business. Time for the hounds to descend upon them to see if their BBQ is something to get excited about or not.
I think this is the place I wish Hi Lo had become. Informal, affordable, honest beer and barbecue. No pretension. No 'fine dining' claptrap. This place is about sharing meat and beer with friends.
The chalkboard menu helpfully suggests you grab a beer at the bar and get in line. Counter service starts with ordering meats by the pound, listed on a chalk board. The selection varies daily, and in our case it changed by the minute as they had sold out of the chicken. Meats are carved, weighed, and placed on a paper-lined tray. Next you order sides that come in small or large portions. A small selection of beers is available at the end of the line - the full Magnolia lineup is available at the bar. The whole system lends itself well to takeout orders. All seating is at communal tables which gives the place a friendly, chaotic, fun vibe. No sauces added at the counter; a selection of four sauces in squeeze bottles at the tables.
We ordered pork loin, sausages, some sort of chili, and waygu brisket with chard and slaw sides. The sausage was my favorite. My SO loved the chili. Our brisket was good, but we got an extra fatty cut compared to other servings we saw, so I'll reserve judgment and happily come back for more testing. The pork loin was tender and juicy but a bit bland. The smoke level was subtle, much to my liking, the way Hi Lo was at the beginning. Only the chili was noticeably smoky. The mustard sauce was my favorite. I thought the vinegar sauce was too thin. None of them packed much heat. Of our three beer selections, two were really good, one meh. Again, I look forward to exploring the offerings more.
So let the BBQ judging begin.
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