Sep

14

Iron WorksCouple of BBQ spots in Texas, from a recent quickie trip:

Goode Company BBQ in Houston was essentially unchanged from my last visit 20ish years ago. Get in line, grab a Lone Star or two from the ice chest, make your way to the counter, rattle off your meat and sides order as fast as you can, get your plate of food 15 seconds later, grab a slice of pecan pie, check out, walk outside to the picnic tables. I got brisket, and the wife/kids chicken. This is what we always order; the kids don't especially like BBQ, and at best they'll nibble on a drumstick. Brisket was good, not extraordinary. Sides were tasty. My wife rated the pecan pie the best she'd had.

In recent years Goode has morphed into a casual dining empire; on the same block on Kirby is now found Goode Taqueria, which features TexMex, burgers and a few grilled entrees. Like Goode Company BBQ, it was bustling with locals. My family actually liked it better than the BBQ restaurant, especially when the manager graciously replaced the cheeseburger and fries my seven-year-old dropped on the floor. I ordered the pork chop, which was fantastic, big, tender, juicy, fresh off the grill.

Goode also runs a seafood house, but I didn't get to it.

In Austin we visited Iron Works, on the south edge of downtown. It proudly proclaims itself Dubbya's favorite BBQ spot (as attested by wall-mounted notes to the owner from the then-Governor). Tough to imagine a restaurant back home in bluestate USA boasting of an endorsement by Dubbya. The restaurant in housed in the former workshop of Fortunat Weigl, a well-known (and widely collected) ironworker. We got in just before the rush, and ordered the same spread as at Goode Company, with much the same result: good, not extraordinary, brisket, reasonably good chicken, tasty sides.

Austin locals told me The Salt Lick, southwest of the city, was a must-visit, but regrettably I didn't have time.

Cole Walton writes:

Being a native Houstonian and fellow BBQ lover, I feel qualified to comment. First of all, Goode Company is decent, but in recent years has become a little too commercial/touristy for my taste. Your wife is correct — the pecan pie is by far the best item on the menu, followed by the chopped beef sandwich.

On your next trip to Houston, I recommend stopping by Luling City Market on Richmond right off 610 for a big helping of their brisket and potato salad. Make sure to slab a bunch of sauce on your brisket because nothing beats the homemade BBQ sauce Luling serves up out of old Tabasco jars.

Also, for the best ribs in town, try Pizzitola’s BBQ on N. Shepherd. Hands down, this eatery, founded by former Aggie Jerry Pizzitola, serves up the best ribs in town. If you go later in the day, make sure to reserve a banana pudding right when you sit down. Rumor has it they are made fresh every day by Jerry’s mom. Homemade or not, I guarantee it will be some of the best banana pudding you have ever tasted.

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