Wednesday, February 27, 2013

BBQ Lover's Dream: The Texas BBQ Mini Crawl

By Dru Chai

When I started this blog back in May of 2011, I knew BBQ was big. But I didn't know it was THIS big -- as in Texas BBQ big. The Lone Star state may be the largest in the U.S., but it still has that small-town feel. Everyone I met in Texas was so nice, generous, and down-to-earth. As a native Californian who had never been to Texas, I was expecting a ton of people wearing cowboy boots and hats, gnawing on some BBQ, all the while wrangling some horses in their dude ranch.

Of course, while all of that still holds true in Texas, I arrived simply for the 'Q. After reading, watching, and hearing about it, I was finally going to try authentic Texas BBQ. Although Bludso's in Compton, CA has a fine rendition of Texas BBQ, I was ready to try the real thing. Would it be everything as I had hoped for? Or would it be a huge disappointment? It was a little bit of both. I could write and nitpick about every little detail of every BBQ bite like a KCBS certified judge, or I could simply enjoy and soak in the entire experience and pay homage to BBQ. It was most definitely the latter.

Gnawing on a giant beef rib at Black's BBQ (good, despite my odd-looking face)

Although there are hundreds, if not thousands of BBQ restaurants in the state Texas, I knew that whatever place I chose was only the tip of the iceberg. Naturally, as a tourist, I chose the touristy locations. Though BBQ enthusiasts will always have their own opinion on what constitutes good BBQ and which restaurant has it, I was determined to try for myself. With only a couple of days in Texas and a limited driving radius, I selected the following restaurants:

- The Salt Lick in Driftwood
- Kreuz in Lockhart (closed)

By no means is this a full-blown BBQ crawl, but more of a mini one. Very mini. No doubt, you'll find many BBQ blogs that extensively document each and every BBQ restaurant in Texas. This was merely dipping my California toe into the Texas BBQ waters, as I hope to travel back again in the near future for either second visits or for new experiences. So what did I think of each restaurant? Well, I'll be writing more detailed posts in the upcoming weeks (but probably months) about my Texas BBQ experience. For now, check out some of my quick critique thoughts and pictures on Facebook.