Branding Iron (732) 544-0555
310 Route 36, West Long Branch (in the Home Depot shopping center east of the Monmouth Mall)
I saw one or two Chowhound recommendations for this place, but still approached with skepticism. They claim to have the "Authentic Taste Of Texas At Jersey Shore". I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The stuff was good and we will go back again.
The place has a nice smokey smell. You get in a cafeteria line and they assemble a plate of 1, 2 or 3 meats with sides. You can also buy meats by the pound. Here is what we had, in order of preference:
* Sausage: They buy it from a butcher and smoke it themselves. Nice smokey taste. Leaner than what I've enjoyed in TX, but good.
* Brisket: Again, a nice smokey taste. Nice and tender. Lean only, no fatty cuts. The owner, a Queens native and very proud of his 'cue, feels that he wouldn't be able to sell fatty brisket to northerners. And he is probably right.
* Pulled pork. They call this Carolina style, which I know nothing about. The sauce didn't have a prounounced character, but it was tasty and the meat was tender.
* Chicken: I didn't like it at all. It was de-boned dark meat. I like dark meat, but this just wasn't tasty and neither was the sauce.
* I didn't try the ribs. My husband said they were "decent" and he would order them again.
* Sides: I liked the collards. Cole slaw was fresh. If you like white bread with your sauce, you'll have to ask for it. I wasn't crazy about the sauce, except the sauce on the pulled pork.
They serve beer. But no Lone Star nor any TX beer. And no Dr Pepper.
(Please do not go there with memories of your trip to Austin. This place is very good for NJ. But it's not John Muellers.)