While lamenting the lack of good Texas barbeque with a few coworkers from the Lone Star State we decided to try to find the best in the area. Using various lists, we came up with 11 places to hit in one day, but one is now catering only and we had gone to another one during their opening weekend recently and decided wasn’t worth a repeat visit. Seven us started out and made it to three places before four peeled off from being too full or having other plans, that left just three of us to hit three more places before we threw the towel in. The remaining three places we’ll do at another run and maybe add more places.
We rated each place on: flavor, texture, moistness, and sauce.
The results are a mixed bag, no place excelled in all four areas so it was down to personal preference. For me flavor, the dry rub and the quality of smokiness flavor imparted by cooking process, and texture, quality of meat and how well the its cooked, take precedent; as long as the meat isn’t super dry I find a range of moistness more acceptable (fair amounts of fat help here) and sauce is a condiment.
In order of where we went…
Jones Barbeque (F=8, T=8, M=7, S=8, Overall 30)
Meat here seemed really high quality and had a nice beefy flavor and was cooked well so wasn’t mealy liked an overcooked pot roast, but was a bit on the dry side since not a lot of fat. While not grading sides the macaroni salad and baked beans were really good.
Barbeque Pit (F=8, T=7, M=9, S=8, Overall 32)
We were the first in so got a chance to talk to owner/pit master, as you can see the smoker was right behind the counter and it’s a proper pit. Brisket had great flavor and moisture but was a tad on the mealy side, when the owner found out our mission he asked for honest feedback and on the mealy aspect said it’s the meat and sometimes don’t get a great cut and not much can do about it. He also gave us a sampling of ribs, they were probably the best thing we ate all day. There was an incredibly thin crust on the top of the rib that was nice and salty and the meat underneath was incredibly moist and tender. The dry rub used is amazing and don’t need to put any sauce on it.
Pinky’s Kitchen (F=6, T=5, M=7, S=8, Overall 26)
Pinky’s is a trailer permanently parked next to a donut shop that is now a taco stand, they have two shipping containers that house their smokers. Meat was very mealy but wasn’t dry, the best thing here is the range of sauces available. It was hard to pick up without falling apart which is usually a good thing but here it was almost mush.
Roro (F=5, T=4, M=4, S=9, Overall 22)
Not a lot of fat here to help with the moistness and the meat had little flavor, there isn’t a layer signifying that it had been exposed to the smoke as if they cut it off. Was on the dry side and more like shredded beef than brisket (update: looks like cut with the grain rather than against which is a big no-no). However the range of sauces were excellent, the spicy was by far the best. Vinegary with decent spiciness, but not as hot as I’d like.
Kickin’ Boot Whisky Kitchen (F=8, T=7, M=7, S=8, Overall 30)
Kickin’ Boot has the best atmosphere and is a great place to go watch the games. Also serves some great brisket, scored high across the board with the moistness being the minor weak point. The spicy sauce was thicker than Roro’s and a tad spicier, but didn’t have the initial kick that vinegar based sauces have. One a side note, was hard not to order the fried chicken and waffle on the menu, also something that I find isn’t the best in Seattle but with more places offering it will have to do a tour to crown a winner.
Bitterroot (F=9, T=8, M=9, S=7, Overall 33)
Had to convince my last two dining companions to make the short walk here from Kickin’ Boot instead of immediately getting some sugar to counteract the fat and protein. Glad I was able to as Bitterroot was my favorite. Three sauces were available but didn’t use the mustard based one…leave that for a certain segment of deranged South Carolinians who think this is the best bbq sauce. The meat was quite fatty which helped with the flavor and moisture and the meat was cooked perfectly. Might be a bit pale but this was really good meat. The seasoning was amazing, very salty and had crispiness that you’d expect on a beef roast. Just wish portion was bigger. The cornbread with honey butter was perfect, crispy crust and moist center, and the glazed root veggies had a nice firm texture. Also the best décor, very feminine with nice wood trim and some herbs growing in jars. Our waitress talked to us about our tour and relayed that she did a similar thing in Vancouver with Indonesian food since not a big representation here.
To be continued….
Mmmmm…molten chocolate cake is a great antidote to massive amounts of meat. Very rich and decadent, it is after all called Dark Decadence. Well worth the 15 minutes it takes to bake.