Saturday, May 7, 2011

Downhome Bar-b-que and Grill

S. Gessner @ W. Airport

This intersection has come alive with food trucks of late. On a recent Saturday, there were four units in operation - Taqueria Zihuatenejo, Roy’s Mobile Barbecue, a po-boy trolley and this unit. The po-boy trolley has been having technical difficulties apparently and has been missing some days when it’s supposed to be open but I’ll be reporting on that soon. There was also a guy selling cocos frios and melons out of his pickup and a transient flower vendor had set up a large tent on another service station driveway making for a very colorful and festive scene. The intersection is like a food court on wheels. (UPDATE: All of these units have disappeared from this intersection. So much for our mobile food court. It was probably a violation of some city ordinance).

Downhome Bar-b-que is one of the more recent arrivals. I’ve been seeing it for a couple of months but never open when I pass that way. Recently when the craving struck me I made a special trip and luckily caught it open.

I was offered a generous gimme piece of the brisket. It was tender and juicy as it should be with maybe a 1/4" smoke ring; mesquite is the wood used but the smokiness was not so intense that a disagreeable tarry taste was noticeable so I went for a sliced beef sandwich. There was about 6 oz of brisket, both fatty and lean, on a big thick bun with onions and pickles on the side. The sandwich was a little dry - it actually could have used a little more sauce just because of all the bread - but it was good and quite filling. Eating my way through it I encountered a few bites with some of the charred pieces of the bark on the brisket, a welcome note. The tomato based sauce is medium thickness, a little tart, a little sweet, and with a little heat which builds. I thought it was nicely balanced.

The large smoker cage on the back of the trailer bears the insignia of Rocky Mountain Smokers but I don’t know if the current operator has any connection to that, which I assume to be a competition team.

I never use a sandwich as a way of evaluating great Texas barbecue so on another visit I inquired about the sausage offered. It is made for the pitmaster locally and is a fine ground, all beef sausage with a little cayenne. I was again offered a generous gimme piece and liked it enough to go for a plate of links and ribs since I already knew the pitmaster turned out some decent brisket. The ribs are trimmed St. Louis style and were extraordinarily tender but there isn't much meat on these types of ribs. The juicy sausage reminded me of one of my favorite unsung sausages of Central Texas from the late Eurestes Grocery in Waelder; with the addition of a little pork and a natural casing, it would have been very much the same but I liked it as is, too.

The sandwich was $7, the combo plate $10; a one meat plate is $9. There are no prices listed for meats by the pound. The brief menu also includes chicken and a choice of potato salad, slaw or baked beans as sides. Both the sides I got I would judge to have been store bought products.

They are open from around 11 or 11:30 am to about 8pm, if there’s still cue to sell, Wednesday thru Saturday.


Anonymous said...

Bob, check out the boudin at SM Guillory's - 8205 Cullen Blvd., about a mile south of 610 South Loop.

I stopped by yesterday and he told me it was his last year before closing the doors. Good Opelousas man.

Bruce said...

Mmmm. For some reason I'm hungry for boudin now.