Minnesota hound here.
I'll get right to the question -- is it inherently a bad thing to dine on BBQ in the evening in Dallas?
I ask because on Friday evening (about 7 p.m.) I made the trek to Big Al's Smokehouse with some lofty expectations.
When I got there, the place was nearly empty. Then I saw the meats kind of waiting patiently in some kind of cabinet thingy behind where you order, as well as the slight remains of a brisket under Saran wrap on the cutting board. (This is where hesitance set in.)
Anyway, I ordered a combination of pork ribs, beef ribs and brisket.
Each of the meats tasted fine, obviously had been smoked well and cared for early in the process. But the final result was lacking. All kind of dryish and average. About half the slices of brisket were dry and dull brown.
Also, I didn't really get a good feel for the staff there. They didn't seem to exude interest in what was going on (maybe because it was dead that night). Enough so that I didn't feel compelled to ask the guy if I could get the brisket "fresh" out of the cabinet thingy instead of from the last 1/3 of the current slab.
Was it a matter of my mistake going in the evening instead of early in the day when the proprietor may be around to oversee things?
I'm pretty sure I would have had a better, although not "authentically Texan" BBQ meal at Red Hot and Blue next to my hotel in Irving (gasp...but true)
As an aside, the day before, I stopped at L.C.'s in Kansas City on my way down, and at Arthur Bryant's the next day on my way back home. Both put Big Al's to absolute shame by a longshot. (Yeah, I know...a bit different genre).
Give it to me straight. Shalt thou not eat BBQ after 2 p.m.? Was I destined for failure at that time of day???? I need to know, as I'll be back in DFW within a month for a much longer stay and maybe back again in the Spring.
p.s. - an unbelieveable taco experience on Harry Hines Blvd. on my way back to Irving salvaged the evening. I'll post that separately, but have to wait for the film to develop.