We Tried To Find Bad Brisket In Texas. Here’s How We Did

by joeheg

Who has the best brisket in Texas?

Do you have a few hours for experts to explain the difference in cooking methods between the most famous places? Some will praise Franklin’s in Austin and others will mention one of the many places in Lockhart, the Barbecue Capital of Texas. We’ve been perfectly happy with the brisket we get at Salt Lick in Driftwood, TX.  Personally, I’m a fan of the Burnt Ends.

I’ve often said this of the barbecue we’ve eaten in Texas:

If you’re gonna compare Texas BBQ, you compare it to all the BBQ ever made…….. that wasn’t made in Texas.

But is that true? We’ve stuck to places that follow the traditions of smoking the meat over fires of cured post oak. Is it possible to find a bad brisket in central Texas? I was willing to try.

Our first meal was at a Mexican restaurant in New Braunfels called La Cosecha Mexican Table. It’s pretty new and we’ve now been visiting the area long enough to say, “That used to be a….”

The restaurant described the menu as “New Mexican,” which means a new twist on TexMex, not the cuisine of New Mexico.

I decided to start with a dish that some might consider strange, the Brisket Enchilada.

Brisket, Oaxaca cheese, ancho cream, Mexican crema, blue corn tortilla, fried egg, cilantro rice, charro black beans

Surrounded by cream, cheese and topped with a fried egg, the brisket might seem like an afterthought, but it was tender, a little bit fatty but not too much, and definitely not dried out.

Ok, so no luck at a sit-down place. Next stop, a gas station.

Not any gas station but our favorite gas station in the world, Buc-ee’s. Since Sharon’s obsessed with the place (Note from Sharon: Am not!), we stopped there in the morning for coffee. After watching some YouTube videos praising the food, I picked up a Brisket and Egg Breakfast Taco.

It’s brisket and egg in a soft tortilla. You don’t see from the picture but it was filled with brisket. It was amazing and I would have eaten it every morning but I wanted to try the rest of the menu after trying this dish.

I failed in my attempt to get bad brisket at a Tex-Mex restaurant and at a gas station but there was one more place I figured I could surely get some dried-out meat – at an amusement park.

We’ve seen the B&B Barbecue spots with smokers and piles of wood during our previous trips to Schlitterbahn. However, we typically bring our own food to the parks (which is totally allowed and something we love about the park that Cedar Fair has not changed since buying it in 2019).

After being introduced to their Frito Pie on a previous trip (thanks, Sam & Norm!), I wanted to try some more food from the park, but I never committed to getting lunch. That is, not until I saw a dish that I figured was either going to be fantastic or terrible—the Texas brisket cheesesteak.

Stay with me here. I know it sounds cringe-worthy and you can’t see the brisket below the peppers, onions and cheese but it was delicious. Schlitterbahn is proud of their brisket, which is smoked for 10 hours on the property before being served at two locations in the park. They offer it in various ways, including being stuffed in a turkey leg.

Final Thoughts

Despite some valiant attempts, I wasn’t able to find a bad brisket dish in Texas. The closest I came was the plain Brisket Taco at Buc-ee’s. It was OK but somewhat bland with only meat in a taco. That improved once I added sauce, but as a close friend says, “If you need to add sauce to your barbecue, you did it wrong.”

While I’m writing this in a tongue-in-cheek manner, I’m sure there is dried-out and terrible brisket in Texas. We just didn’t find it in places where you might usually look.

When it comes to great Texas barbecue, we did head to Lockhart on this trip and had some of the best meat I’ve ever tasted but that’s for another post.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


swag August 26, 2021 - 9:24 am

If you’re trying to find bad brisket, you’re ordering the wrong things.

The saying is “sauce is how you cover up bad meat”. When you get a chopped brisket sandwich, sauced, chopping the meat hides toughness and the sauce masks the dryness. The same with what you ordered – I assume the meat was chopped, or at least chunked, and covered n cream sauce, in eggs, in cheese. That doesn’t mean the meat was bad, it just means you wouldn’t know if it was.

To identify truly bad brisket – and I lived in TX for decades, it’s out there – order it lean, sliced, with the sauce on the side.

Quo Vadis? August 26, 2021 - 2:24 pm

For gas station BBQ, try Rudy’s. They’re pretty good and have a lot of locations.


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