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Is good, classic barbecue possible in a metropolitan restaurant?

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Is good, classic barbecue possible in a metropolitan restaurant?

john clark | Jan 14, 2005 10:15 AM

By classic barbecue I mean the big three: brisket, pulled pork and spareribs, cooked in dry heat with smoke. Within my experience the brisket is available only at a few places in small Central Texas towns, or at somebody's house. I have never had good pulled pork at a restaurant but I know that it is available in the Deep South -- are any of those joints in major metropolitan areas? I have heard dry ribs referred to as Memphis or St Louis style. Can you really get good ribs there?

Last summer I went to a distant suburb of Dallas to give restaurant barbecue one more chance. The owner has lots of trophies in the restaurant, from prestigious national competitions. Small family joint, big smoker out back, and dry-ass creosoted brisket, smoke-free pulled pork, and mushy ribs with the membrane still on.

I don't know much about the restaurant business but something tells me that if anybody tried to sell real barbecue in Dallas they'd go out of business so fast that there would be a thunderclap when the air rushed into their bank account. Is this true in all metropolitan ares?

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